Going Yard: Highs, lows of USC sweep over Albany

nwhite@thestate.comFebruary 26, 2013 

South Carolina's Joey Pankake (9) congratulates TJ Costen (8) after he scored a run during the game against Albany Saturday at Carolina Stadium Saturday. South Carolina defeated Albany 8-3.

TIM DOMINICK — Tim Dominick/tdominick@thestate.

South Carolina swept its first series of the season by rolling past Albany, as the Gamecocks won the middle game with their first no-hitter in 38 years. Although they had to battle bad weather for the second straight weekend, they didn’t let it keep them from taking care of business. Let’s take a quick look back at the highs and lows.

THUMBS UP

Colby Holmes, Forrest Koumas and Josh Knab

The three right-handers combined to throw the first no-hitter since Ray Lavigne and Tim Lewis did it on back-to-back days in March 1975. It was only the seventh no-hitter in the program’s history. USC won the game 14-1, with the unearned run scoring on a walk, error and sacrifice fly. It was especially memorable for Knab, who got the final three outs in the ninth in his first career appearance.

THUMBS DOWN

Strikeouts and runners stranded

It’s hard to find fault with much after a sweep where the opponent is outscored 28-8, but the Gamecocks left 29 runners on base in the series and struck out 23 times. Both numbers could be better and will need to be against SEC opponents.

GOOD NEWS

There’s plenty to go around. First baseman LB Dantzler is killing the baseball to the tune of .545 with three homers and 13 RBIs. After a 1-for-14 start to the season, freshman second baseman Max Schrock went 4-for-9 with three extra-base hits in the final two games of this series. And freshman pitcher Curt Britt looked sharp with four very strong innings – two hits and three strikeouts in four innings – in his first appearance of the season in the series opener.

BAD NEWS

Shortstop Joey Pankake suffered a muscle strain to his hip in the first inning of the final game of the series, which sent him to the bench. His status for this week is uncertain, especially important since the always-big Clemson series is on the horizon.

JUST THE FACTS

After batting a lowly .210 in the first series against Liberty, the Gamecocks batted .343 (36-for-105) in the Albany series. They more than doubled their 17 hits against Liberty. That raised their overall batting average to .285 on the season.

Tanner English, who is switch-hitting this season after batting right-handed last season, has eight hits in 19 at-bats, seven of them from the left side.

The three weekend starters – Jordan Montgomery, Holmes and Nolan Belcher – all picked up wins against the Great Danes, allowing just a combined four runs on 13 hits in 17 innings for a 2.12 ERA.

USC stole six bases in the series, three by Schrock. That’s five more than the opening weekend.

UP NEXT

... Tuesday, Furman, 4 p.m., Carolina Stadium

... Friday, Clemson, 6:30 p.m., Doug Kingsmore Stadium, Clemson

... Saturday, Clemson, 2 p.m., Fluor Field, Greenville

... Sunday, Clemson, 3 p.m., Carolina Stadium

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