The South Carolina baseball team learned how quickly the weather can change in Missouri.
One day after playing their SEC opener in 70-degree weather, the Gamecocks felt the chill of a doubleheader where temperature was 46 degrees and dropping at first pitch.
“It was a tough day to play for both teams,” USC coach Chad Holbrook said.
The pitchers didn’t seem to mind.
Nolan Belcher tossed 81/3 scoreless innings and didn’t allow a runner past first in a pitchers duel with Missouri’s Brett Graves as the fifth-ranked Gamecocks won the opener 2-0.
In the nightcap, three Tigers pitchers combined to shut out the Gamecocks in a 4-0 win that marked Missouri’s first SEC victory.
The teams played a doubleheader Saturday because of the threat of snow today.
In winning his fourth straight outing, Belcher extended his scoreless-innings streak to 26, dating back to Feb. 24 in a 6-4 win against Albany. The fifth-year senior has not walked a batter since the season opener against Liberty, a string of 33 consecutive innings.
The Tigers (6-9, 1-2) collected five hits off the right-hander but could never follow through with a second hit. Case Munson came closest, getting caught stealing for the second out of the fourth inning.
“Their starter threw very well,” Missouri coach Tim Jamieson said. “All weekend, our offense should have scored more runs than we did.”
The Gamecocks (17-3, 2-1) didn’t get much going against Graves either — Chase Vergason’s fifth-inning home run was one of the few mistakes made by Missouri’s sophomore right-hander. USC’s first run came with help from the Tigers’ defense. Center fielder Logan Pearson cut off Joey Pankake’s single but didn’t field it cleanly, allowing Max Schrock to race around from first base.
Pearson made up for the mistake in Game 2 with a momentum-changing throw. With Schrock on third, LB Dantzler launched a fly ball to center off relief pitcher Jake Walsh. Schrock tagged, but Pearson’s throw beat him to the plate, snuffing the Gamecock’s best threat.
Starter Colby Holmes gave up three runs on three hits and three walks in 11/3 innings to take the Game 2 loss.
Dylan Kelly, who had three hits in the game, had an RBI double in the first and scored a run. Kendall Keeton hit a bases loaded single — after Holmes walked the first two Tigers — and a wild pitch led to a pair of runs in the second.
Adam Westmoreland and Patrick Sullivan allowed just one run the rest of the way, but the Gamecocks came up empty on the scoreboard. Alec Rash pitched around a walk and an error in the second and benefitted from Pearson’s throw in the third. Keaton Steele relieved in the fourth and worked around three hits over six innings to earn the win. He struck out seven.
“I thought are at bats were OK,” Holbrook said, “we just couldn’t generate momentum.”
|Schrock 2b||4||1||1||0||Keeton 2b||4||0||0||0|
|Vergason 3b||4||1||1||1||Pearson cf||4||0||0||0|
|Pankake ss||4||0||1||0||Opel rf||4||0||2||0|
|Dantzler 1b||4||0||0||0||Munson lf||4||0||1||0|
|Greiner c||4||0||1||0||Kelly c||3||0||0||0|
|Bright lf||4||0||2||0||Smmrfeld dh||3||0||0||0|
|Martin dh||4||0||1||0||Lester 1b||3||0||0||0|
|Carson cf||4||0||0||0||Segovia 3b||3||0||0||0|
|Costen rf||3||0||0||0||Everett ss||3||0||2||0|
|Schrock 2b||4||0||1||0||Keeton 2b||5||0||1||1|
|Vergason 3b||3||0||1||0||Pearson cf||5||0||0||0|
|Pankake ss||3||0||0||0||Opel rf||4||1||0||0|
|Dantzler 1b||4||0||0||0||Kelly c||5||1||3||1|
|Greiner dh||4||0||0||0||Munson lf||3||0||0||0|
|Bright lf||3||0||1||0||Ivory dh||2||1||2||0|
|Britt ph||1||0||1||0||Lester 1b||2||1||1||0|
|Costen pr||0||0||0||0||Segovia 3b||4||0||0||1|
|Rsnberg c||4||0||0||0||Everett ss||3||0||2||0|
Westmoreland faced 1 batter in the 7th.