As South Carolina prepares to open the season Friday against Bucknell, Chad Holbrook has settled on an experienced arm and a familiar face to serve as the closer.
The second-year head coach announced Sunday after the team’s final set of weekend scrimmages that junior right-hander Joel Seddon will assume the responsibility of finishing games after three years of excellence from Matt Price and one more from Tyler Webb in that key role.
“I don’t know how we do not put Seddon in there,” Holbrook said. “He’s going to start the season as the closer. We feel comfortable about the way he’s throwing. He’s experienced, he’s older, he’s got command of all his pitches, and he’s got some confidence. Right now he’s the one.”
Seddon, a St. Clair, Mich., native who was drafted in the 20th round out of high school by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011, has posted a 3-1 record in 20 appearances, five of them starts, in his first two seasons with the Gamecocks. He has compiled a 3.67 ERA with 33 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings.
Holbrook noted that Seddon’s measurable progress on the mound over the last year, which included a strong summer in the Cape Cod League, factored into his decision.
“It’s one of the neatest things for a coach to see when a kid comes as far as he has come from a confidence standpoint and a command standpoint,” Holbrook said. “He’s got a really good changeup, he’s got a good breaking ball, and he’s got enough on his fastball to throw it by you. He’s throwing all three pitches where he wants right now. It’d be tough to not put him in a critical spot as we start the season.”
Holbrook also pointed to Seddon’s ability to pitch at other spots in the game as well.
“Joel’s versatile, too. He can move around,” he said. “We can go to him early. He’s in shape, he’s an incredible athlete.”