COLUMBIA -- For a time Tuesday, a long time, it looked as if South Carolina having an eye toward the Florida series might cost the Gamecocks a win against Furman.
A 2-2 game in the bottom of the seventh changed quickly, though, when 10 consecutive Gamecocks reached base in what became an 11-6 USC victory in front of 6,291 fans at Carolina Stadium.
Light-hitting shortstop Bobby Haney delivered the big blow with a grand slam, his third home run of the season, to push his team well away from the pesky Paladins (16-34).
Christian Walker (two), Adrian Morales, Robert Beary and Brady Thomas all drove in runs in the big seventh frame.
South Carolina closed out a perfect midweek season, going 14-0 in Tuesday-Wednesday games.
The win for the Gamecocks (42-11) now officially clears the path for Florida's arrival. Tuesday was an appetizer to the Thursday-Friday-Saturday series against the No. 4 Gators with the SEC regular season title on the line.
Both teams enter the series with identical 20-7 SEC records -- three games better than anyone else in the league. Florida (38-12) took out North Florida 9-3 on Tuesday.
Despite the score, the story of the night here Tuesday very well might have been Furman starter Barry Benton, a senior that entered the game with an 0-5 record and a 10.16 ERA. He had won just two games in his career at Furman.
Benton didn't get a victory Tuesday, but he did hold a really hot Gamecocks lineup to two runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings. Benton had allowed 71 baserunners in 31 innings coming in.
The Paladins used the back end of their bullpen -- including one arm that hadn't thrown since April 7 and another who'd spent most of the season playing catcher -- because they're saving their pitching for the weekend as they try to sneak into the Southern Conference tournament.
All three games of the Florida series will be televised. The first two, Thursday and Friday's 7 p.m. starts, will be on SportSouth. The Saturday game, 4 p.m. start, will now be on Fox Sports South.