South Carolina opened the season at home against VMI. The Gamecocks swept the Keydets by scores of 2-1, 3-2 and 13-1.
Breaking it Down…On Friday afternoon, Michael Roth took to the mound in front of a sold out Carolina Stadium. The Keydets took the early lead 1-0 in the second inning behind two singles. Second baseman Chase Vergason tied the game in the bottom of the third on a passed ball. The game preceded as a pitchers' duel between Roth and VMI's Coby Cowgill. In the bottom of the eighth Evan Marzilli led off with a single. Adam Matthews bunted him over, and LB Dantzler drove in the winning run with two outs in the inning.
Saturday's game was moved up in the day, and Sunday's game was moved to Saturday to try to avoid the rain, so the teams played a double header. The first game featured little scoring. Marzilli scored from third when Christian Walker hit into a double play to give USC a 1-0 lead in the first. In the third the Gamecocks added a run when Tanner English drove in Dante Rosenberg. The story for the Gamecocks was once again the pitching. Matt Price worked 5+ innings of no hit ball. Despite allowing no hits, Price was responsible for the two runs the Keydets scored in the 6th when he walked and hit by pitch 4 consecutive batters to being the inning. Ethan Carter came in and limited the damage. In the bottom of the 6th Rosenberg drove in Joey Pankake to retake the lead. Carter handled VMI from there only allowing 1 hit the rest of the way.
The Gamecocks offense finally got to the Keydets pitching staff during the second game on Saturday. USC erupted for 7 runs in the fourth inning to put the game on ice and ensure the sweep. They batted around, and cranked out 5 hits to go along with a VMI error. The run support was more than sufficient as Colby Holmes worked 5 innings of one hit baseball. Coach Ray Tanner used the later innings to work a succession of pitchers who gave up a solitary run between them.
Stars of the Series…Evan Marzilli…6-12, 3 R, 2 RBI, 3B…Christian Walker…4-11, 2 RBI, R…LB Dantzler…4-11, HR, 2B, 5 RBI, R…Grayson Greiner…4-10, 2B, R…Kyle Martin…4-8, 2B, 2R, RBI…Tyler Webb…W, 2.1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 4 K, 0 BB…Ethan Carter…W, 4.0 IP, 0R, 2 H, 6 K, 0 BB…Colby Holmes…W, 5.0 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 6 K…
What to Take From the Weekend…What to take away from the weekend…In the win/loss column, this was a perfect weekend. An opening sweep sets a good tone for the season. There were some things you expect to see during the early season, namely errors, walks and hit batsmen, but for the most part those issues were scattered. Many of the freshmen and newcomers played well, and the pitching looked solid. Don’t take too much from sweeping VMI, but it was a good start.
This and that…The Gamecocks are 3-0 on the season…They have now won 14 opening day games in a row….USC has won 13 games in a row, dating back to last season….Carolina has also won 17 non-conference games in a row dating back to April 12, 2011….The pitching staff struck out 36 batters while walking only 4….The batters hit .347 (35-101) for the weekend.
Up Next…South Carolina plays no mid-week games this week, and hosts Elon for a weekend series.