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Miami Baseball suffers sweep to South Carolina Gamecocks in first series of the season

Miami gave it their all, but the team was simply outmatched by South Carolina's fantastic lineup and pitching staff
Miami gave it their all, but the team was simply outmatched by South Carolina's fantastic lineup and pitching staff

After the start of the college baseball season, it quickly became real for a lot of Miami University RedHawks baseball fans who were tuned in this weekend that this season could be full of ups and downs. 

The University of South Carolina Gamecocks were ranked No. 25 in the nation before the season started, and they proved why they were ranked so high in this series against the RedHawks.

Miami gave it their all, but the team was simply outmatched by a fantastic lineup and pitching staff. The RedHawks fell in the first game of the series 5-1, the second game 11-4, and then were no-hit in the final game of the series, which was only played for seven innings, losing 14-0.

The first game of the series was the closest of the three. The RedHawks took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Junior outfielder Zach MacDonald was hit by a pitch, and another junior outfielder, Anthony Zarlingo, advanced him, before redshirt junior third baseman Ryland Zaborowski grounded into a double play, sacrificing his chance to get on base to drive in the run.

They were able to keep that lead through the bottom of the first but weren’t able to add to it before a nightmare second inning saw the Gamecocks put up five runs and take a commanding lead. 

The pitching wasn’t getting it done, and the fielders couldn’t bail anyone out, which led to the offensive outburst.

The score remained the same for the rest of the game, resulting in a loss for the RedHawks. However, the game had some positive takeaways, such as keeping a powerful Gamecocks lineup from scoring in seven of the eight half-innings they came to the plate.

Additionally, the RedHawks won the hit battle in this game with a total of seven to South Carolina’s six. That result isn’t too bad for the first game of the season against a tough opponent.

However, the next two games were much more indicative of what one might think they would see in a battle between a team ranked in the middle of the pack in a weaker conference and one toward the top of the pack in a very strong conference.

Again, the RedHawks took a 1-0 lead in the second game, but the run was unearned as Zarlingo walked at the start of the second inning and ended up reaching home on a fielding error. Then, the Gamecocks poured it on with four runs in the bottom of the second, one in the bottom of the third and five in the bottom of the fifth. 

Ethan Petry, the sophomore outfielder who didn’t have a big impact in the first game, crushed his first two home runs of the season for the Gamecocks, his fourth game with multiple home runs at South Carolina.

The RedHawks added three runs in the eighth inning, as Zaborowski and junior catcher David Novak got on base, allowing sophomore outfielder Tré Keels to drive Zaborowski home with an RBI double. 

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Redshirt sophomore Evan Appelwick would bring Novak across the plate, and Keels would come around to score on a double-play before South Carolina added a run in the bottom of the eighth to finish the job.

The RedHawks will want to forget the final game of this series. The game only went seven innings, and four pitchers for the Gamecocks combined for the program’s eighth all-time no-hitter in its history. It was also their first in 11 years.

South Carolina scored seven runs off the starting pitcher for the RedHawks, junior Peyton Ojelnik, who didn’t even finish the first inning before getting yanked. Overall, Miami put seven total pitchers on the mound, with only three of them throwing for at least one inning. 

Redshirt sophomore Tyler Galyean was the most efficient pitcher of the game, throwing for two innings and earning three strikeouts while only allowing two hits and a single walk in a game that ended 14-0. 

The Gamecocks proved why they are one of the best teams in the nation against the RedHawks. Even though it was hard for fans to watch at times, it’s important to put into perspective just how good the South Carolina program is. 

The Miami baseball program is trying to build itself back up with the addition of talented young players as well as seasoned older players. To start the new season off on this note is unfortunate, considering it was a chance to prove themselves against a talented team, but it shouldn’t be overlooked that the first game was very close outside of one inning.

The RedHawks will head to Bloomington, Indiana to play the Indiana University Hoosiers for one game on Tuesday at 4 p.m. before playing their second full series of the season in Murfreesboro, Tennessee against the Middle Tennessee State University Tigers.