Matt Connolly

Gamecocks P Josh Reagan comes up big against SEC’s leading hitter

South Carolina pitcher Josh Reagan earned the win Saturday afternoon against Tennessee.
South Carolina pitcher Josh Reagan earned the win Saturday afternoon against Tennessee. online@thestate.com

South Carolina pitcher Josh Reagan had been in this situation before.

The game was on the line in the final inning, and one of the nation’s best hitters was up to bat.

The last time Reagan had been in this spot, he surrendered a game-tying home run to Clemson All-American Seth Beer.

But Saturday afternoon at Tennessee, Reagan struck out Jeff Moberg with two on to preserve USC’s 6-4 win over the Vols in 10 innings.

Moberg entered the weekend with an SEC-leading .460 batting average and was tied for third in the league in homers with five, but Reagan struck out the senior swinging on a 2-2 pitch to end the game.

“That’s the one person I didn’t want to come up that inning,” Carolina coach Chad Holbrook said. “Here you are you’ve got a guy with five home runs, the wind’s blowing straight out, a right-handed hitter, a left-handed pitcher, and I didn’t have a good feeling.”

Despite what had happened just two outings ago, Reagan was confident when Moberg came to the plate.

Reagan believed he would retire the second baseman, and he did, to improve to 2-0 on the year.

“I can’t let any doubt creep in because that’s when things start not going your way,” he said. “You start trying to aim the ball, and things go sideways. I’ve just got to keep competing and making pitches regardless of who is in the batter’s box.”

Since his outing March 5 against Clemson, Reagan hasn’t allowed an earned run in 4 2/3 innings of work and has four strikeouts with three hits surrendered. Reagan has lowered his ERA to 0.96.

“I wanted to get back out there the next day so I could get another outing under my belt and put it in the past,” Reagan said. “Maybe if my next outing was shaky, maybe doubt creeps in, but as soon as I let that pitch go and he hit that home run, I wanted to get back out there. You can’t dwell on it, because that’s not going to help you.”

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