The South Carolina baseball team’s deep pitching staff just got a little deeper.
Freshman right-hander Joel Seddon threw five scoreless innings in his first career start for the Gamecocks in an 8-1 victory against UNC Asheville on Wednesday night at Carolina Stadium.
Seddon, a native of St. Clair, Mich., allowed a pair of hits and a pair of walks while striking out three in his efficient 63-pitch outing to pick up his first USC victory.
“I got my opportunity to be out there, and I felt good,” Seddon said. “That’s always nice when you get that run support early on. We got the four-run first inning so I could focus on pounding the zone from there.”
Never miss a local story.
Those four runs in the first inning gave Seddon all the support he would need. Third baseman LB Dantzler, who led the 11-hit attack with three hits, drove in one of the first-inning runs with an RBI single.
“Joel is a terrific pitcher. He’s really good for a freshman out there,” Dantzler said. “He handled himself well. I was not surprised at all.”
Seddon’s only other appearance was a relief stint that lasted one-third of an inning in the season’s second game against VMI. His start against the Bulldogs showed the promise that got him drafted in the 20th round last summer by the Toronto Blue Jays.
First baseman Christian Walker, who added a pair of singles and drove in three runs on the night, liked what he saw of Seddon as well.
“Getting a start is a lot different than coming in and being a righty specialist and facing one batter. He had a lot of innings in front of him and he knew that,” Walker said. “He did a great job, and you couldn’t ask for anything else.”
The No. 3 Gamecocks improved to 10-1 heading into this weekend’s final non-conference series against Princeton, while UNC Asheville fell to 7-7 with its fifth loss in the past six games. More important, the Gamecocks bounced back from Sunday’s emotional loss to Clemson, which ended their 19-game winning streak dating to last season.
USC coach Ray Tanner loved seeing his team jump out to an early lead, as well as the shutdown pitching that followed.
“I was glad to see those four runs because there was a lot of energy and a lot of emotion that went into that (Clemson) weekend,” Tanner said. “As a coach, that’s your biggest concern — not that your guys aren’t going to show up and play but that you might not get an ‘A’ game. I thought we were crisp and did a good job. Our approach was pretty good the entire night.”
Junior left-hander Adam Westmoreland also sparkled in his first appearance of the season with a pair of scoreless innings, as he allowed one hit and struck out three.
“That was as good as I’ve seen him in a long time. That was encouraging for me,” said Tanner, who added that Westmoreland hadn’t pitched yet because he was trying to work some of his freshman pitchers into the mix.
Westmoreland understood that, noting the solid performances of the freshmen to date.
“They’ve been pitching very well so it’s not something that comes as a shock. It’s one of those things where I’m an older guy and I can pitch whenever I’m needed,” he said. “We’re just trying to get them some experience.”
The Gamecocks roughed up UNCA starter Dean Roland (2-2) in the first inning. Evan Marzilli got things started with a 10-pitch walk, and he went to third on Tanner English’s hit-and-run single. Walker and Dantzler followed with consecutive RBI singles. The next two runs of the inning scored on Adam Matthews’ sacrifice fly and Connor Bright’s RBI single with two outs.
Bright, who also picked up a second RBI with a bases-loaded walk in the seventh, got the start at shortstop in place of fellow freshman Joey Pankake, who struggled defensively in the Clemson series. The Gamecocks played errorless baseball after making eight errors in three games against Clemson.
“It felt crisp out there. It definitely feels good to get back to playing solid defense. That’s been the foundation the past two years,” Dantzler said.
The pitching, of course, is already in place as Tanner continues to sort through all of his options. But he knows a time will come when it will help to have those choices.
“We’ve got a lot of games ahead of us. We’ve got a lot of five-game weeks. We’re going to need all of our guys,” Tanner said. “I know some of those guys haven’t got their innings or opportunities yet, but they’re going to get them. I like what I saw tonight.”
|LURIE, Jordan 2b||4||1||1||0||0||0||2||3||1|
|GRAHAM, Ian c||3||0||0||0||1||2||4||2||0|
|CREIGHTON, Billy dh||4||0||1||1||0||2||0||0||0|
|GAJDOSZ, Grant lf||2||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0|
|KIRKLAND, Andrew ph||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|JOYNER, Todd ph||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|BESS, Thomas lf||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|KOONTZ, Patrick rf||4||0||0||0||0||1||2||1||4|
|BRYANT, Hunter 1b||3||0||1||0||1||1||11||0||0|
|BUCH, Cody 3b||4||0||1||0||0||0||1||5||0|
|ADKINS, Cody cf||3||0||0||0||0||0||3||0||1|
|MILLER, Eli ph||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0|
|EBERSOLE, Casey ss||1||0||0||0||2||0||1||1||1|
|WESTON, Kyle ss||1||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||1|
|ROLAND, Dean p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|SPRACKLIN, Adam p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|STEIBLE, Ethan p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|TABAR, Dillon p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|SCHAVONE, Nick p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|HUNT, Justin p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Evan Marzilli cf||4||2||2||0||1||0||1||0||0|
|Tanner English lf||4||2||2||0||1||1||4||0||0|
|Christian Walker 1b||4||1||2||3||0||0||8||1||0|
|Kyle Martin 1b||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|LB Dantzler 3b||5||2||3||2||0||0||1||1||2|
|Erik Payne 3b||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Grayson Greiner dh||3||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||2|
|Adam Matthews rf||2||0||0||1||0||0||3||0||0|
|Connor Bright ss||3||0||1||2||1||2||2||2||0|
|Dante Rosenberg c||3||1||1||0||1||0||7||1||2|
|Chase Vergason 2b||1||0||0||0||1||0||0||2||2|
|Sean Sullivan ph||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Tanner Lovick 2b||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|Joel Seddon p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Adam Westmoreland p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Vince Fiori p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Hunter Privette p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|Logan Munson p||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
DP - AVL 1. LOB - AVL 8; S. Carolina 8. 2B - LURIE, J.(5); Marzilli(1); Dantzler(2). HBP - Walker; Matthews. SH - Vergason(2). SF - Matthews(1). CS - Marzilli(2).
|ROLAND, Dean L,2-2||3.2||6||6||6||3||1||0||0||1||0||15||21||4||6||75|
|Joel Seddon W,1-0||5.0||2||0||0||2||3||0||0||0||0||17||19||8||4||63|
Win - Seddon (1-0). Loss - ROLAND, D. (2-2). Save - None. HBP - by ROLAND, D. (Walker); by STEIBLE, E. (Matthews). Pitches/strikes: ROLAND, D. 75/43; SPRACKLIN, A 30/15; STEIBLE, E. 14/5; TABAR, D. 9/4; SCHAVONE, N. 16/10; HUNT, J. 4/3; Seddon 63/34; Westmoreland 38/27; Fiori 16/7; Privette 3/2; Munson 21/13.
Umpires - HP: Richie Tallent 1B: Dave Brown 3B: Joe Marion
Start: 7:00 pm