CHARLESTON | Missing two key hitters, the South Carolina baseball team couldn’t muster any offense against The Citadel on Tuesday night at Riley Park.
Behind freshman left-hander Logan Cribb, the Bulldogs knocked off the third-ranked Gamecocks 2-0 to split the season series.
USC played without third baseman Adrian Morales (wrist injury) and outfielder Jake Williams (suspension).
USC (26-6), which won the first meeting in Columbia 6-4, dropped its second midweek game of the season and will head into its SEC showdown with No. 1 Vanderbilt this weekend coming off a loss.
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The lack of offense has USC coach Ray Tanner concerned. The shutout comes on the heels of a sweep of Tennessee during which the Gamecocks scored eight runs.
“I’ve been concerned about our offense for a long time,” Tanner said. “This didn’t just start tonight. We haven’t scored a lot of runs the entire year. We’ve been fortunate because of our pitching staff and good defense. We just haven’t been an offensive juggernaut. We have better games than others. But we’ve got to do a better job.”
Williams was suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules. He did not make the trip to Charleston for the game. The Greer native and Wofford transfer is hitting .286 with two homers and 18 RBIs.
“It’s very unfortunate. I’m really disappointed,” Tanner said. “We didn’t need that situation to arise, but that’s the way it is, and he’s suspended.”
Tanner would not guarantee Williams would return, but he did say it would not be in the near future.
Morales, who is hitting .333 with three homers and 21 RBIs, did not play because of a sore left wrist. Utilityman Robert Beary started at third.
“He’s banged up a little bit. You’d like to have him in there, but you also want to protect him a little bit,” Tanner said. “He was anxious to get in, but I decided to hold him out.”
Cribb (1-1), who entered the game with a 4.70 ERA in 16 relief appearances, threw eight shutout innings. He allowed eight hits — four to Brady Thomas — while walking three and striking out three.
“He was mixing up pitches. We got some good swings on him and hit some balls hard,” Thomas said. “But you’ve just got to give that guy a lot of credit. He pitched a great game.”
The Gamecocks put runners in scoring position in the second, sixth and seventh innings, but they couldn’t get a clutch hit off Cribb. They loaded the bases with no outs in the ninth, but T.J. Clarkson struck out Michael Roth, got Peter Mooney to fly out and Scott Wingo to ground out to end the game. Clarkson earned his first save.
“Sometimes that’s just the way the game goes,” Thomas said. “We’ll shake this off. It’s a game we won’t reflect back on. But we can work on some things and try to do some things better, but we’re not going to dwell on it.”
The Bulldogs (13-10) had not shut out USC since 1971.
The Citadel, which played without top outfielder Nick Orvin and closer Drew Mahaffey, took a 1-0 lead off USC left-hander Steven Neff (2-1) in the first inning on a leadoff single by Brad Felder. He moved to second on a sacrifice, took third on a balk and scored on Matt Simonelli’s groundout.
The Bulldogs scored their other run in the fourth. William Ladd reached on an infield single with one out, which ended the night for Neff, who was on a pitch count because he had not thrown since March 19 due to a sore bicep. Reliever Bryan Harper then threw a wild pitch, allowing Ladd to advance to second, and gave up a two-out RBI single to Justin Mackert.
Neff said his arm “felt fine” after throwing 46 pitches.
The Gamecocks return home to Carolina Stadium to face the the Commodores (31-3) at 7 p.m. Friday.
|Peter Mooney ss||4||0||0||0||0||0||1||4||2|
|Scott Wingo 2b||5||0||1||0||0||1||1||3||3|
|Jackie Bradley Jr. cf||4||0||0||0||0||0||2||1||1|
|Christian Walker 1b||3||0||0||0||1||0||9||1||0|
|Adam Matthews rf||4||0||1||0||0||0||4||0||2|
|Brady Thomas c||4||0||4||0||0||0||6||0||0|
|Robert Beary 3b||3||0||0||0||1||1||0||2||1|
|Evan Marzilli lf||2||0||0||0||2||1||1||0||2|
|Erik Payne dh||2||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Greg Brodzinski ph||1||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jake Watson pr||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Michael Roth ph||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0|
|Steven Neff p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Bryan Harper p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jose Mata p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Logan Munson p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|John Taylor p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Brad Felder cf||4||1||2||0||0||1||5||0||0|
|Drew DeKerlegand 3b||2||0||0||0||0||1||1||2||2|
|Matt Simonelli ss||4||0||1||1||0||0||1||2||2|
|William Ladd rf||3||1||1||0||0||1||3||0||0|
|Joe Jackson c||3||0||0||0||1||0||4||0||0|
|Justin Mackert 1b||4||0||1||1||0||2||9||1||0|
|Tyler Griffin dh||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3|
|Legare Jones 2b||2||0||0||0||1||0||3||1||0|
|Hughston Armstrong lf||2||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Logan Cribb p||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||1||0|
|Jeremy Long p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|TJ Clarkson p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
DP - CIT 1. LOB - S. Carolina 11; CIT 7. 2B - Wingo(6); Felder(3). HBP - DeKerlegand. SH - Mooney(5); DeKerlegand(7); Ladd(5); Armstrong(1).
|Steven Neff L,2-1||3.1||2||2||2||1||0||0||1||0||0||10||13||3||7||46|
|Logan Cribb W,1-1||8.0||8||0||0||3||3||0||0||0||0||30||34||13||7||121|
|TJ Clarkson S,1||1.0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||3||3||1||1||14|
Win - Cribb (1-1). Loss - Neff (2-1). Save - Clarkson (1). WP - Harper(4). HBP - by Taylor (DeKerlegand). BK - Neff(1). Pitches/strikes: Neff 46/28; Harper 27/18; Mata 4/3; Munson 7/3; Taylor 39/28; Cribb 121/76; Long 5/1; Clarkson 14/8.
Umpires - HP: Mike Parnell 1B: Mac Smith 3B: Ted Miller
Start: 6:59 pm
Munson faced 1 batter in the 6th.
Cribb faced 2 batters in the 9th.
Long faced 1 batter in the 9th.