Monday, December 22, 2014
Gamecock Baseball: Week In Review
COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) -- South Carolina continued the 2013 season with a win over Furman in a midweek contest and a series victory vs. Clemson with two wins in three games over the weekend. South Carolina made a bookend of the weekend with a 6-0 shutout on Friday at Doug Kingsmore Stadium as well as an 8-0 shutout of the Tigers on Sunday at Carolina Stadium. The Gamecocks have now won 20 of the last 28 games played between the two schools from the 2007 season to the present. The Gamecocks are now 8-2 on the year. Carolina hosts Ball State in a pair of midweek games beginning Tuesday with a three-game series this weekend vs. Rider as well.
Sunday’s 8-0 win at Carolina Stadium was played in front of a sellout crowd of 8,242 fans, the second sellout of the season for the Gamecocks. South Carolina owns a 22-6 record in 28 career sellouts at Carolina Stadium since its opening in 2009.
Senior left-handed pitcher Nolan Belcher pitched the first complete game shutout of his career in the 8-0 victory vs. Clemson. Belcher allowed just three hits and no walks while striking out seven batters in the win. Only one base runner reached third base the entire game for the Tigers. It is the first complete game shutout by a Gamecock pitcher since Sam Dyson on May 15, 2010 in a 5-0 win at Arkansas. Belcher’s complete game shutout was also the first by a Gamecock pitcher in the Clemson series since May 4, 1986 when Rodney Richey hurled a four-hit complete game shutout in a 5-0 victory vs. the Tigers at Sarge Frye Field. Richey didn’t walk a batter as well in his victory and struck out three batters. Richey went 7-2 that season with a 3.17 ERA for June Raines’ squad. He would follow that up with a 10-2 season in 1987.
Belcher is now 2-1 on the year with a 2.18 ERA in a team-high 20.2 innings pitched. He has 23 strikeouts to just one walk. Opponents are hitting only .192 against him. This was Belcher’s second career complete game. He pitched a complete game as a freshman on April 11, 2009 in an 8-1 win at Ole Miss.
Equally impressive on the mound was sophomore left-hander Jordan Montgomery, who opened the Clemson series with eight scoreless innings of work in the 6-0 win over the Tigers. Montgomery did not allow a runner to reach third base as he limited the Tigers to three hits and two walks in the victory. Montgomery tied a career-high with eight innings pitched for the third time in his career and struck out a career-high nine batters in the victory. Montgomery was named the Tom Price Award winner at the conclusion of the series, the award given to the Gamecocks’ MVP for the season series against the Tigers. Montgomery is only the third Gamecock pitcher to earn the award that has been given since 2001. Also earning the award was right-handers Aaron Rawl (2003) and Nick Godwin (2008).
Senior first baseman LB Dantzler continues to swing a solid bat for the Gamecocks. Dantzler is hitting .471 (16-for-34) with 10 runs scored, four homers and 15 RBI. Dantzler currently holds a seven-game hitting streak as well. Dantzler had a two-out RBI single in the 6-0 victory at Clemson. He added a solo home run in the 6-3 loss in Greenville and went 1-for-3 with a walk and a run scored in the 8-0 win. Dantzler’s on-base percentage is a team-best .578.
Dantzler is one of four Gamecock position starters who have started all 10 games along with center fielder Tanner English, left fielder Graham Saiko and infielder Max Schrock.
Many Gamecocks were in the mix to help Carolina to a series victory vs. Clemson. Nine different Gamecock position players had at least one RBI over the weekend. Dantzler, Saiko, Schrock, Grayson Greiner, Chase Vergason and Connor Bright all had two RBI over the weekend with English, Joey Pankake and Erik Payne each driving in a run as well.
Sophomore catcher Grayson Greiner was the team’s leading hitter in the series this weekend hitting .364 (4-for-11) with a double, three runs scored and a pair of RBI. He also stole two bases and caught both the Friday and Sunday victories. Greiner is hitting .258 (8-for-31) for the season and is tied with Schrock with a team-leading three stolen bases.
Senior left-hander Tyler Webb struck out the side to combine with Montgomery for the three-hit complete game shutout in Friday’s 6-0 win. Webb has made a team-high five appearances and has three saves in 4.2 innings pitched. He has nine strikeouts to just two walks with opponents hitting .143 against him. Webb’s third save came in the 5-2 win over Furman with one scoreless inning of relief with two strikeouts.
Senior left-hander Adam Westmoreland was effective in relief in Saturday’s 6-3 loss. Westmoreland worked 4.1 innings and allowed just one run, unearned, on three hits with no walks and seven strikeouts. Westmoreland’s seven strikeouts ties for second highest in his career and the most for him in a relief outing. Westmoreland has nine strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work this season.
Eight of nine Gamecock position starters had at least one hit in the 8-0 win vs. Clemson as the team finished with 11 hits for the afternoon. Greiner, Bright and Vergason all had two hits apiece to lead the Gamecocks at the plate. Bright went 2-for-3 with a two-run double with Greiner 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI and Vergason 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored.
Sophomore center fielder Tanner English has reached base safely all 10 games this year. English is hitting .300 (9-for-30) with eight runs scored. He has a .475 on-base percentage.
Tuesday’s 5-2 win over Furman featured the first career start and victory for freshman left-hander Jack Wynkoop. Wynkoop hurled 5.1 scoreless innings, scattered five hits with no walks while striking out a pair of batters.
Sophomore right-hander Evan Beal had 2.2 perfect innings of relief in the 5-2 win over Furman with three strikeouts.
Carolina has done a very good job getting on base in the first 10 games of the season. The team has 52 walks and eight hit by pitches to just 59 strikeouts for the season. Carolina is hitting .271 (86-for-317) as a team with 64 runs scored. Carolina is fielding .976 for the year with just nine errors.
The Gamecock pitching staff has a 2.25 team ERA in 88.0 innings pitched. Carolina has 86 strikeouts to just 23 walks with 64 hits allowed. Opponents are hitting just .200 against the squad.
3/5/13 – Ball State (7 p.m.)
3/6/13 – Ball State (4 p.m.)
3/8/13 – Rider (7 p.m.)
3/9/13 – Rider (4 p.m.)
3/10/13 – Rider (1:30 p.m.)
Wind: 8 MPH
Humidity: 89 %