Gamecocks earn a chilly split

mnestor@columbiatribune.comMarch 16, 2013 

South Carolina starting pitcher Nolan Belcher


— 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.”

Game 1

Schrock 2b 4110Keeton 2b 4000
Vergason 3b 4111Pearson cf 4000
Pankake ss 4010Opel rf 4020
Dantzler 1b 4000Munson lf 4010
Greiner c 4010Kelly c 3000
Bright lf 4020Smmrfeld dh 3000
Martin dh 4010Lester 1b 3000
Carson cf 4000Segovia 3b 3000
Costen rf 3000Everett ss 3020
Totals35271Totals3105 0


E—Pearson (2); Graves (1). LOB—S. Carolina 6; MU 5. HR—Vergason (3). HBP—Kelly. CS—Munson (1).

Belcher W,4-1 81/350006
Webb Sv,7 2/300001

Graves L,0-2 972104

HBP—by Belcher (Kelly). Umpires—HP: AJ Lostaglio 1B: Jeff Head 2B: Rickey Armstrong 3B: Hank. T—2:04.

Game 2

Schrock 2b 4010Keeton 2b 5011
Vergason 3b 3010Pearson cf 5000
Pankake ss 3000Opel rf 4100
Dantzler 1b 4000Kelly c 5131
Greiner dh 4000Munson lf 3000
Bright lf 3010Ivory dh 2120
Britt ph 1010Lester 1b 2110
Costen pr 0000Segovia 3b 4001
Rsnberg c 4000Everett ss 3020
Sullivan rf 2010
Carson cf 3000
Totals31050Totals3349 3


E—Everett (1). DP—MU 2. LOB—S. Carolina 7; MU 12. 2B—Kelly 2 (3); Everett (1). HBP—Munson; Ivory; Everett.

Holmes L,1-2 11/333333
Westmoreland 42/351103
Sullivan 210010

Rash 21/320020
Walsh 2/300000
Steele W,2-0 630017

Westmoreland faced 1 batter in the 7th.

WP—Holmes (3). HBP—by Westmoreland (Munson); by Westmoreland (Ivory); by Sullivan, P. (Everett). Umpires—HP: Jeff Head 1B: Rickey Armstrong 2B: Hank Himmanen 3B: AJ. T—2:24. A—826.

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