Colby Holmes worked 7.1 innings and allowed just one run on four hits with a season-high eight strikeouts and 14th ranked South Carolina scored twice in the first inning on the way to a 3-1 win over College of Charleston on Tuesday evening at Patriots Point. The Gamecocks improve to 19-6 with College of Charleston falling to 13-11 on the year.
Holmes was in control from the opening pitch as he scattered just four hits throughout his outing. His eight strikeouts are the most since he tallied a career-high nine last year in the NCAA Regional vs. Manhattan. Holmes earned the win and is now 2-2 on the year. Both relievers Vince Fiori and Patrick Sullivan struck out both the batters they faced and senior left-hander Adam Westmoreland hurled a perfect ninth inning to pick up his second save of the season.
College of Charleston starting pitcher Nathan Helvey lasted only 2.2 innings and suffered the loss. He is now 2-2 for the season. He allowed two runs on six hits with no walks or strikeouts.
“Colby and our bullpen were terrific tonight,” said South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook. “We squared a up a lot of balls tonight offensively. It was an important win for us.”
Carolina wasted no time getting on the scoreboard with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. With one out and Chase Vergason on first base, the Gamecocks executed the hit and run as Joey Pankake knocked a base hit through the right side putting runners on the corners. The Gamecocks then kept attacking as LB Dantzler jumped on the first pitch from Helvey for a double to right field scoring Vergason, South Carolina would go ahead 2-0 on a Grayson Greiner RBI groundout to the third baseman.
College of Charleston cut Carolina’s lead to one run in the bottom of the third inning. Morgan Phillips drew a leadoff walk. With two outs and Phillips on second base, Tyler Jackson laced a first pitch from Holmes to the gap in right-center for a double and the Cougars’ first run of the game.
The Gamecocks manufactured a run in the top of the sixth inning to go ahead 3-1. College of Charleston reliever Drew Freie entered and struggled with his control early as he hit both Max Schrock and Connor Bright to open the frame. The two hit by pitches were the first two of the season for Freie. After a sac bunt by Erik Payne moved up both runners, Dante Rosenberg drove in Schrock with a sac fly to right field.
South Carolina had eight hits with College of Charleston tallying four for the contest. Pankake went 2-for-4 with a run scored. He has reached base safely in 17 consecutive games. Dantzler added two hits, both doubles and a RBI.
The Gamecocks return to action on Thursday night beginning a three-game SEC series with Texas A&M at Carolina Stadium. First pitch for the opener is 7:30 p.m. with the game televised live on ESPNU as the SEC Game of the Week.
**STORY FROM USC SID**