COLUMBIA, S.C. - Tennessee fought back from a five-run deficit Saturday afternoon at Carolina Stadium, but the Vols weren't able to knock all of the fight out of South Carolina.
After scoring three seventh-inning runs to tie the game, Tennessee watched the Gamecocks answer in the bottom half of the frame with four two-out runs of their own to claim a 10-7 victory.
"I was happy how we battled back in it," UT coach Todd Raleigh said. "But I was disappointed we gave up those runs with two outs. We didn't get it done."
South Carolina (15-4, 2-0 SEC) will go for the sweep at 1 p.m. today against the Vols (10-9, 0-2).
Junior right-hander Parker Bangs threw 2 1/3 innings of two-hit relief to get his first win of the season, although he did give up a two-run homer to UT's Cody Hawn in the ninth.
"It's frustrating, but it is SEC baseball," said Hawn, who had two hits and three RBIs, including a run-scoring single in the seventh. "They're a good-hitting team, and they did what they had to do."
UT's Zach Osborne had three hits, including a fifth-inning RBI single, and Matt Hamaker picked up two hits, which included an RBI single in the seventh. Raleigh noted UT outhit the Gamecocks 11-8, but his pitchers walked nine batters, seven more South Carolina.
"We uncharacteristically walked a lot tonight. We can't do that," Raleigh said.
Tennessee used six pitchers, three of them freshman. Regular starter Steven Gruver did not start because of an injury, and replacement Aaron Tullo lasted just 1/3 of an inning after walking two and hitting one.
But South Carolina's 5-0 lead vanished when the Vols scored single runs in the fifth and sixth and three more in the seventh. Bangs was able to strand the go-ahead run at the time on third.
The Gamecocks answered right away with four two-out runs in the seventh. The big blows came off the bats of Christian Walker, who hit a slicing two-run triple into right field just out of a diving Charley Thurber's reach, and Scott Wingo, who drilled a two-run single.
The Vols have yet to get a lead in the series.
"That's the thing with us," Hawn said. "We've got to get going early. We can't wait until the fourth inning."
Neil White is a freelance contributor.