After a weekend trip to Kentucky resulted in South Carolina's first SEC series loss of the season, the Gamecocks got what they needed against Wofford.
Nolan Belcher and Jimmy Revan held the Terriers hitless over seven innings and the USC (37-11) offense had a big night in a 17-4 victory Tuesday night at Carolina Stadium.
"We did some good things. We swung the bats early, and we kept them off the board," South Carolina coach Ray Tanner said.
But the offensive outburst was slightly overshadowed by Belcher's outing. The sophomore had not made the SEC travel roster since the Vanderbilt trip April 9-11. He missed the past four series battling tightness in his elbow.
The left-hander's last appearance was April 10 in a short relief outing against Vanderbilt. His past two appearances have lasted two-thirds of an inning apiece. His last start was on March 23 at Georgia Southern.
During his time off, Belcher worked on his mechanics in the bullpen with pitching coach Mark Calvi, and he said he feels like he has everything worked out.
Belcher's main problem had been his control. In 24 2/3 innings, he has walked 14, hit two batters and thrown five wild pitches. Still, he lowered his ERA to 2.19 Tuesday, and opponents are batting .195 against him
"I was hoping he would be a little bit sharper than he was," Tanner said. "But he did fine. You have to take into consideration he might be a little bit rusty and may be why he didn't have more command of the zone."
The results were mixed against the Terriers. Belcher (3-0) earned the win with his five innings of work. He didn't allow a hit, walked four and struck out four in his 68-pitch performance.
When asked to rate his outing, Belcher gave himself a 6 on a scale of 1-10.
"Too many walks," Belcher said. "That's not going to win too many games."
Belcher hopes he will be counted on to contribute down the stretch.
"When they (the coaches) tell me to go out there and pitch, I go out and try to get the job done," Belcher said. "It definitely gives me a boost in the confidence department."
The third spot in the weekend rotation is in question after four consecutive shaky outings by Jay Brown. Tanner believes Belcher has worked his way into consideration for that role.
"I haven't ruled (Brown) out, but I think we have to go in a different direction now," Tanner said. "Belcher, I think, made a statement. He hasn't been out there much, but maybe another time out the command will be there as well."
The blowout victory allowed Tanner to give two other seldom-used relievers work.
Revan had not made an appearance since facing Auburn on March 28. Alex Burrell had made one appearance this season, on March 7 against Clemson.
The offense got contributions from nearly everyone in the starting lineup. Eight starters got at least one hit, led by Jackie Bradley's three hits and four RBI. His big blow was a three-run, opposite-field home run in the six-run fourth.
Nick Ebert came off the bench and added a towering grand slam in the seventh inning, his fifth home run of the season.
In all, 11 South Carolina players had a hit, and eight players drove in a run. This comes on the heels of scoring four runs combined in the past two games against Kentucky, both losses.
"It was like a rebound game," Bradley said. "It gives momentum going into today's game."
Wofford (16-32) avoided the shutout with a four-run eighth off Burrell.
South Carolina hosts Charleston Southern today at 7 p.m. Tyler Webb (2-2, 4.39) is expected to start for the Gamecocks.