COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina moved one and a half games ahead of Florida in the Southeastern Conference race with a 5-3 win over Tennessee on Sunday.
Steven Bondurant (6-3) pitched to the sixth inning to get the win for South Carolina (39-12, 18-8). Bondurant was relieved by Aaron Rawl after giving up a two-run homer to Brandon Hopkins that cut the Gamecock lead to 5-3. Blake Taylor closed his 16th game, pitching three shutout innings.
Dennis Gomez (0-1), the first base starter for Tennessee (25-27, 10-17), made his first start as pitcher and took the loss.
The Gamecocks scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth. Singles by Kevin Milillo, Steve Thomas and Yaron Peters loaded the bases. Brian Buscher drove in two with a base hit.
Matt Sternberg singled to lead off the ninth inning for Tennessee. Taylor retired the next two batters, but Jordan Czarniecki walked and Nick Crowe beat out an infield hit to load the bases. Walter Sevilla grounded out to third baseman Brian Buscher to end the threat.