A ninth inning rally was not enough, as the Princeton baseball team was edged 2-1 by No. 2 South Carolina Friday evening in Columbia, S.C. Despite strong pitching throughout the game, low offensive output until the ninth inning prevented the Tigers from handing the Gamecocks their second loss of the year.
Zak Hermans commanded the mound, pitching three scoreless innings to open the game. In the bottom of the fourth, his shutout was broken up off a South Carolina Kyle Martin home run.
Hermans (1-1) put together another solid effort for the Tigers, holding the nationally ranked Gamecocks to a lone run on five hits through 5.0 innings of work. During that span, he threw six strikeouts in 23 batters faced; however he was unable to get run support, as the offense was unable to get a runner past second base.
In the sixth, Kevin Link took over pitching duties for the Tigers. With one out and runners on first and second, South Carolina's Connor Bright hit an RBI single to give the Gamecocks a 2-0 lead.
Link threw four strikeouts in 16 batters faced over 3.0 innings.
After being held scoreless through the first eight innings, Matt Bowman, who went 2-for-4 on the night, led off the ninth with a single to right field. One out later, Sam Mulroy singled to left field and both Bowman and Mulroy were advanced on a wild pitch during Mike Ford's ensuing at bat. Ford hit an RBI ground out to cut USC's lead to 2-1. Princeton's rally proved to be too late, as the Tigers were unable to find a final push to even the game.
South Carolina tallied 11 strikeouts, with starting pitcher Michael Roth throwing 10 over 8.2 innings.
Princeton (2-3) will have the opportunity to bounce back against the Gamecocks (11-1) tomorrow, Saturday, Mar. 10 at 4 p.m.