Beal, Gamecocks top Coastal, hold Chants to one hit

nwhite@thestate.comMarch 26, 2014 

Five games in a week can test a team’s pitching depth.

South Carolina junior right-hander Evan Beal and three relievers took care of that issue by combining on a one-hit shutout Wednesday night in a 4-0 victory against Coastal Carolina at Carolina Stadium.

Beal, who was coming off a preseason stress reaction in his back, tossed four no-hit innings in his first outing since last year. Used as a starter and reliever in his first two seasons at USC, he showed no ill effects from the injury, walking one batter and striking out three in his 48-pitch stint.

“It’s, certainly, been a long road. I’m just glad to be feeling good and back in one piece,” Beal said. “I’m not in mid-season form yet. First outing, I just wanted to go out and control the (strike) zone a little bit and throw strikes. I wasn’t really worried about velocity, because that’s going to come with getting my arm back in shape.”

After retiring 12 of the 13 batters he faced, he was pleased to contribute instead of watching his teammates.

“I’ve got a little ways to go. I’m shaking off the rust, but I’m certainly happy with where I am right now,” he said.

The second-ranked Gamecocks (21-3) defeated the Chanticleers (10-15) in their first meeting since the 2010 NCAA Super Regional in Myrtle Beach, where USC won a pair of games on the way to its first national championship.

USC coach Chad Holbrook liked what he saw in Beal’s debut

“He was very composed. His changeup was very good. He threw a couple of good curveballs in there,” Holbrook said. “It, certainly, gives us another option on our pitching staff, one with experience and talent and good stuff. It’s a big shot in the arm for us with the performance of Evan.”

Right-hander Curt Britt (1-0), who gave up the only Coastal hit to G.K. Young to lead off the fifth inning, followed with three scoreless innings to get the victory. Left-hander Vince Fiori pitched the eighth inning and right-hander Reed Scott threw the ninth to finish off South Carolina’s 10th shutout of the season.

“I just wanted to keep the score at zero, do my job and get outs,” Britt said.

CCU coach Gary Gilmore saluted the USC pitchers for their performance.

“When you play them, you’re going to have to compete,” Gilmore said. “They’re going to command, they’re going to throw off-speed pitches for strikes and keep you off-balance. Their guys did a great job.”

South Carolina jumped to a 2-0 lead in the second inning off CCU left-hander Dalton Moats (0-3), who gave up a two-run double to Marcus Mooney after walking Brison Celek and allowing a single to DC Arendas.

Celek’s RBI double in the third inning upped the lead to 3-0, and Arendas drove in the final run in the fifth with an infield hit.

Holbrook liked that his team won for the second consecutive night without the services of catcher Grayson Greiner, who has a bone bruise on his thumb, and second baseman Max Schrock, who’s still recovering from an ankle sprain.

“All in all, I’m proud to get two wins this week,” Holbrook said. “The team wasn’t necessarily at full strength, and it’s a credit to our guys for circling the wagons a little bit and finding a way to keep winning.”

The challenge gets tougher with No. 22 Tennessee (19-4) coming to town for a three-game SEC series this weekend. Holbrook was pleased that he didn’t have to use top relievers Cody Mincey and Joel Seddon against the Chanticleers. He remains hopeful that Greiner and Schrock will be able to take the field against the Volunteers.

“Hopefully, we can get healthy Friday and get ready, because we’re going to need to be. We’re going to have to do more offensively and play better to be able to win the series against Tennessee,” Holbrook said.

Box score: USC vs. Coastal

Go Gamecocks is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service