The South Carolina baseball team’s second consecutive weekend sweep to start the season can be summed up in one word: pitching.
The No. 3 Gamecocks (6-0) capped the three-game set against Elon with a 6-0 victory Sunday at Carolina Stadium, and their pitching numbers were near spotless. In 27 innings, the USC staff allowed three runs — one earned — on seven hits to go with 32 strikeouts.
Junior right-hander Colby Holmes picked up where the Friday and Saturday starters — Michael Roth and Matt Price — and kept the Phoenix (4-3) in check. Holmes improved to 2-0 with 52/3 shutout innings, allowing three hits and three walks while striking out six. His ERA remains at zero after he also threw five scoreless innings last Sunday against VMI.
“We knew coming in they were pretty good on the mound. That’s no secret. They’ve got three guys who can flat-out pitch,” Elon coach Mike Kennedy said. “And then obviously they’ve got some guys coming out of the bullpen that are going to be very, very good for them. All those guys on the mound are as good as it gets, and they’re going to do that to a lot of people, not just Elon.”
Roth allowed no hits in his seven-inning stint Friday, and Price followed by throwing one-hit baseball over five innings Saturday. Holmes admitted that he wants to keep up with the Joneses.
“We’ve got two great guys ahead of me on Friday and Saturday in Matt and Roth,” Holmes said. “They went out and did their thing. They threw strikes and were effective. I just wanted to go out and do just as good or better. That way we could have the sweep.”
He noted they’re not trying to prove they’re as good as the staffs of USC’s past two national championship teams.
“We just keep going out there with the mentality to do our best and see what happens,” he said.
Holmes got some early run support. Junior third baseman LB Dantzler hit a three-run homer into the Elon bullpen off David Whitehead in the first inning, and freshman outfielder Tanner English ripped a two-run triple in the second inning to give Holmes all the runs he needed.
Dantzler, who leads the offense with two homers and nine RBIs, loves watching USC’s pitchers. They limited VMI to four runs in the opening series and have an ERA of 0.83 in six games.
“It’s unbelievable. I’ve never seen a pitching staff like this. It’s awesome to be a part of,” Dantzler said. “It definitely gives us confidence, because so far this year, if we score one or two runs, we’re going to win.”
It wasn’t all Holmes on Sunday. Relievers Vince Fiori, Ethan Carter and Evan Beal combined to pitch the final 31/3 innings to preserve the shutout.
“Our starting pitching gave us a chance to win the game. Holmes was solid, and the guys who came in behind him did a nice job as well,” USC coach Ray Tanner said. “We did what we needed to do mound.”
Holmes, who feels comfortable with all four of his pitches, continues to show that he can be mentioned in the same breath as Roth and Price — two pitchers who earned All-America honors last season. He has allowed four hits in 102/3 innings while striking out 12. Opponents are batting .121 against him.
“Colby has been one of those guys who has toiled in the shadow of Roth and Price and some other guys,” Tanner said. “He’s been pretty steady for us. He’s better. His fastball has a little more giddy-up now, and he can get his changeup going. He’ll throw you a pretty good breaking ball, slider.”
South Carolina will play its first midweek game of the season Tuesday at 4 p.m. against Presbyterian at Carolina Stadium. Freshman left-hander Jordan Montgomery is the probable starter for the Gamecocks, who will play rival Clemson this weekend.
|Niko Fraser cf||4||0||1||0||0||2||1||0||0|
|Sebastian Gomez 2b||2||0||0||0||2||1||1||0||0|
|Alex Swim rf||4||0||0||0||0||0||3||0||2|
|Garrett Koster ss||3||0||0||0||1||1||0||1||0|
|Ryan Kinsella c||3||0||2||0||0||0||7||1||0|
|Jake Luce lf||3||0||0||0||0||1||2||0||2|
|Joey Tomko 3b||3||0||0||0||0||1||1||3||2|
|Chris Bresnahan 3b||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|Connor Lewis 1b||3||0||0||0||0||1||9||0||0|
|Tyler McVicar dh||2||0||0||0||0||2||0||0||0|
|Casey Jones ph||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|David Whitehead p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Spencer Medick p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|Andrew MacDonald p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Jordan Darnell p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Evan Marzilli cf||4||0||1||1||0||1||2||0||0|
|Tanner English rf||3||1||1||2||1||2||4||0||0|
|Christian Walker 1b||4||1||1||0||0||2||8||0||3|
|LB Dantzler 3b||4||1||1||3||0||1||1||1||1|
|Grayson Greiner c||3||0||0||0||0||0||7||1||0|
|Adam Matthews ph||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0|
|Dante Rosenberg ph/c||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0||0|
|Sean Sullivan dh||3||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0|
|Brison Celek ph/dh||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Joey Pankake ss||4||1||1||0||0||0||2||2||0|
|TJ Costen lf||3||1||1||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|Connor Bright 2b||2||1||0||0||1||0||0||3||0|
|Colby Holmes p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||2||0|
|Vince Fiori p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Ethan Carter p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Evan Beal p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
E - Gomez(4); Tomko(2). LOB - ELON 6; S. Carolina 4. 2B - Fraser(2). 3B - English(1). HR - Dantzler(2). HBP - Kinsella. SH - Luce(1). CS - Gomez(1).
|David Whitehead L,0-1||2.0||4||5||5||2||2||0||0||0||0||10||12||3||1||44|
|Colby Holmes W,2-0||5.2||3||0||0||3||6||0||0||1||0||18||23||4||6||88|
Win - Holmes (2-0). Loss - Whitehead (0-1). Save - None. HBP - by Holmes (Kinsella). Pitches/strikes: Whitehead 44/23; Medick 49/34; MacDonald 18/11; Darnell 8/3; Holmes 88/53; Fiori 5/3; Carter 14/10; Beal 11/7.
Umpires - HP: David Brown 1B: Joe Marion 3B: Mark Ritter
Start: 1:31 pm