The longest part of Tyler Webb’s day was the first batter he faced.
USC’s sophomore left-hander threw 11 pitches to Southern Illinois leadoff man Chris Murphy before getting him to fly out to left. From there, Webb and the No. 7 Gamecocks (5-0) made short work of the Salukis, needing one hour and 49 minutes to notch a 4-0 victory Saturday afternoon.
Webb (2-0) lasted a career-high 71/3 innings and matched his career best by striking out seven, including four in a row. His afternoon ended, with standing applause from the crowd of 7,911 at Carolina Stadium, after he issued his first walk.
“From the beginning (Murphy fouled six pitches), I thought it was going to be a long day. But I kind of forgot about it after the first inning or so,” said Webb, who gave up four hits and threw 66 strikes on 94 pitches. He has yet to yield an earned run.
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Webb never allowed a leadoff hitter to reach base.
The Gamecocks’ offense didn’t need to match its 9-0 explosion from the first two innings of Friday night’s series opener. But leading 1-0 with bases loaded and two outs in Saturday’s third inning, Jake Williams hit a double that drove in Adam Matthews and Jackie Bradley Jr.
Adrian Morales added a sacrifice to center that scored Bradley in the fifth.
Matthews was USC’s leadoff hitter Saturday after the right fielder hit from the seven spot Friday night. The right-handed hitter went 2-for-4, and his two stolen bases helped him score a pair of runs.
“He’s one of our faster guys,” said Bradley, who scored twice and drove in Matthews in the first. “By him getting on base, it’s allowing us to score runs.”
Left-hander Cody Forsythe (1-1) gave up seven hits over eight innings for the Missouri Valley Conference’s Salukis (2-4). He struck out six — including three in the first inning — and walked one.
A lefty-righty combination ended Southern Illinois’ hopes.
USC left-hander Bryan Harper came on in the eighth with runners on first and second but got the final two outs. Right-hander John Taylor entered in the ninth with Donny Duschinsky on first but struck out the final three Salukis, ending with Brock Harding looking.
“It makes it nice when you get pitches from both sides,” USC coach Ray Tanner said of his bullpen.
Saturday was the Gamecocks’ quickest nine-inning outing since needing 1:44 to beat Radford 2-0 at Sarge Frye Field on Feb. 19, 2006.
Of course, that was in an era before the newly mandated composite bats.
“I’m still trying to get used to it, to be honest with you,” Tanner said of making management decisions against the new equipment. “ (SIU) crunched the ball pretty good in the early innings.”
But as the bats take away offense from the plate, Tanner finds himself weighing risks and rewards once their are men on base, especially at the game’s outset.
“You have to really think twice about moving runners early,” Tanner said. “Historically, I would never move a runner early. I just wouldn’t do it, I wouldn’t give away an out. And now I’ve got to think about trying to get a run.”
The defending national champions have outscored the Salukis 14-6 in the first two games of the series.
The three-game series wraps up today at 1:15 p.m. — a start time that was moved up 15 minutes to accommodate SIU’s return flight out of Charlotte.
|Murphy, Chris cf||4||0||0||0||0||1||3||0||0|
|Pinnon, Blake dh||4||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2|
|Duschinsky, Donny 3b||4||0||2||0||0||1||2||0||0|
|Montgomery, Austin 1b||4||0||0||0||0||3||2||0||1|
|Dowdy, Kollin rf||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||0||0|
|Harding, Brock 2b||4||0||0||0||0||2||2||1||1|
|Sivertsen, Jordan lf||3||0||2||0||0||0||2||0||0|
|Bajer, Brian c||3||0||1||0||0||1||9||0||1|
|Welch, Jake ss||2||0||0||0||1||1||2||0||1|
|Forsythe, Cody p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Adam Matthews rf||4||2||2||0||0||1||0||0||0|
|Peter Mooney ss||4||0||1||0||0||1||0||3||1|
|Jackie Bradley Jr. cf||2||2||1||1||1||0||3||0||0|
|Christian Walker 1b||3||0||1||0||0||1||9||0||1|
|Adrian Morales 3b||3||0||0||1||0||2||1||2||1|
|Jake Williams lf||4||0||1||2||0||0||3||0||0|
|Brady Thomas dh||4||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||2|
|Robert Beary c||3||0||1||0||0||0||11||0||0|
|Scott Wingo 2b||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||1|
|Tyler Webb p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Bryan Harper p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|John Taylor p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
E - Dowdy(1). DP - SIU 1. LOB - SIU 6; S. Carolina 6. 2B - Sivertsen(4). 3B - Mooney(1). HBP - Bradley Jr.; Walker. SF - Morales(2). SB - Matthews(2).
|Forsythe, Cody L,1-1||8.0||7||4||4||1||6||1||0||2||0||30||34||15||2||99|
|Tyler Webb W,2-0||7.1||4||0||0||1||7||0||0||0||0||26||27||6||9||94|
Win - Webb (2-0). Loss - Forsythe (1-1). Save - None. WP - Forsythe(1). HBP - by Forsythe (Walker); by Forsythe (Bradley Jr.). Pitches/strikes: Forsythe 99/65; Webb 94/66; Harper 14/7; Taylor 11/9.
Umpires - HP: Gary Swanson 1B: Joe Marion 3B: Todd Drake
Start: 3:00 pm
Harper faced 1 batter in the 9th.