COLUMBIA - There was no walk-off magic Sunday at Carolina Stadium, no reliance on some higher power to deliver a miraculous victory.
South Carolina didn't need to reach into its bag of theatrics and pull out a game-saving hit. A day after a pair of game-winning home runs had fans shaking their head in disbelief, numb and giddy and overjoyed, there was no late-inning drama in the final game of a weekend series against Tennessee.
Finally, South Carolina simply dominated.
The No. 1 Gamecocks completed their first sweep of the SEC season with an 8-0 victory over the No. 22 Volunteers before a sellout crowd of 8,242. The win kept South Carolina (24-3, 6-3 SEC East) in a tie with Florida atop the SEC East standings.
"We got some runs early, and we just felt like we were in control the whole game," junior catcher Grayson Greiner said. "We finally won a normal game without having to come back in the ninth inning or something like that, so that was nice. I felt like we played a pretty complete game.
"We honestly haven't felt too great about how we've been playing up until today. As a team, we felt like we could play a lot better, but any time you get a sweep in the SEC you did something right."
The bliss from Saturday's thrilling doubleheader sweep carried over to Sunday.
For Tennessee (19-7, 3-6 SEC East), it was impossible to forget its lost opportunity. Baseball is a cruel game, dishing out heartache without prejudice, so South Carolina coach Chad Holbrook knew how the Vols would feel entering Sunday's finale. Morale would be low, energy depleted after being on the wrong end of what headlined ESPN SportsCenter's Top 10 plays Saturday night.
"You lose a game like they lost last night, it's very difficult to come back from that," Holbrook said. "They were one pitch away on numerous occasions from winning the game - one play, one pitch. It's tough to bounce back."
Holbrook said the goal Sunday was to jump on Tennessee early, strangling any desire the Vols had to salvage something from their weekend. The Gamecocks got their early lead with two runs in the first inning, then cruised behind freshman pitcher Wil Crowe's command of the strike zone.
Crowe pitched 7 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing eight hits with three strikeouts and no walks.
"I thought today was his best performance of the year," Greiner said. "He was unbelievable today. He attacked the bottom of the zone, he rarely ever got behind hitters. I thought all of his stuff was on point. He kept those guys off balance. He's got that good of stuff where, if he's ahead in the count, he's pretty hard to hit against."
Greiner, the hero Saturday night with a walk-off grand slam in Game 2, helped make sure Crowe would have a stress-free outing.
The junior was greeted with a standing ovation his first trip to the plate Sunday. He delivered with an RBI single, giving South Carolina enough of an edge to coast the final eight innings. Greiner finished 2-for-5 with the RBI, and a memory he won't soon forget.
"I didn't expect that at all, honestly," Greiner said of the ovation. "It kind of took me by surprise. I've never gotten a standing ovation before, so that was pretty cool. . For the fans to do that for me, it really meant a lot to me. These fans are the best in the country, and we really do appreciate it. I appreciated that a lot."
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