Freshman Logan Cribb hurled 8.0 scoreless innings in his first career start as The Citadel shutout No. 3 South Carolina for the first time since 1971, 2-0, on Tuesday evening in front of a season-high 5,032 fans at Riley Park.
Cribb (Rock Hill, S.C.) had never pitched more than 2.2 innings, but scattered eight hits and three walks while striking out three batters in 8.0 innings. The win moves Cribb to 1-1 on the season and gives the Bulldogs their second shutout of the season. It is the first shutout for the Bulldogs over the Gamecocks since a 2-0 win on April 28, 1971 in Charleston.
“Before the game started I was a little nervous,” said Cribb of his first career start. “I talked with guys like Matt Talley a little bit and calmed down and just went out there and things just sort of fell into place. My goal was to throw strikes and get through the lineup one time. Things were going well, so I stayed out there for as long as I could.”
The win snaps South Carolina’s nine-game win streak and gives the Bulldogs (13-20) their highest ranked victory since February 18, 2007, when they defeated No. 1 South Carolina, 7-6, at Riley Park.
“Cribb did a great job tonight,” said head coach Fred Jordan. “He threw strikes, had some good defensive plays behind him and didn’t give in. Clarkson did a phenomenal job at the end of the game in a tight situation for us.
The Citadel didn’t need much offense on Tuesday evening, but wasted no time getting their first run of the game as Brad Felder (Bowman, S.C.) led off the contest with a base hit to center of Gamecock starter Steven Neff, who was making his first start since March 19 against Georgia. A sacrifice bunt by Drew DeKerlegand (Pearland, Texas) moved Felder to second and a balk by Neff advanced the Bulldog center fielder to third base. An RBI groundout by Matt Simonelli (Orlando, Fla.) would plate Felder to give the Bulldogs a quick 1-0 advantage.
The Bulldogs would threaten again in the fourth as Ladd reached on a base hit, prompting a pitching change for the Gamecocks (26-6) as they brought in Bryan Harper from the bullpen. Neff (2-1) went 3.1 innings, allowing two hits, two runs and walk. After a wild pitch by Harper sent Ladd to second, Joe Jackson (Mauldin, S.C.) hit a ball to deep center that was caught, but advanced Ladd to third. Justin Mackert (Cleveland, Ohio) then roped an RBI single through the left side to make it 2-0 for The Citadel.
Cribb worked out of trouble in the seventh, after allowing a leadoff hit, by inducing Robert Beary into a double play. He would not be able to go this distance however as Brady Thomas singled for the fourth time in the game off Cribb to lead off the ninth and then a walk to Beary would prompt the Bulldogs to make a pitching change and bring in Jeremy Long (Clover, S.C.) from the bullpen. Long would walk Evan Marzilli to load the bases with no outs.
TJ Clarkson (Coral Springs, Fla.) was then brought into the game to face pinch hitter Michael Roth. After going full on Roth, Clarkson blew a pitch past the Gamecock ace for the first out. Leadoff man Peter Mooney then popped up to shallow right and Scott Wingo grounded out to Mackert at first to end the bases-loaded threat and preserve the shutout. The save was the first of Clarkson’s career.
“My blood was pumping there at the end for sure,” said Clarkson of coming in with the bases load and no outs. “I just went in throwing as many strikes as I could, hoping to get us out the situation and bring home a win.”
Felder went 2-for-4 with a run to lead the Bulldog offense while freshman Hughston Armstrong matched his career high in hits, going 2-for-2 with a sacrifice bunt. Thomas had a career-high four hits to lead the Gamecocks.