For the second time in three days, South Carolina shut out Clemson and allowed the Tigers just three hits. While Jordan Montgomery and Tyler Webb combined to get it done Friday night, Nolan Belcher went all the way by himself today, giving him his second career complete game and the first one of the 2013 season for USC.
Both teams were scoreless today until the fourth inning, when the Cocks put up their first run as Chase Vergason homered to start off the inning. It was his second homer of the season (he had two in the entire season last year).
Carolina really broke things open in the sixth inning, though. Graham Saiko reached base when the ball was dropped in the field, then Vergason knocked a sacrifice bunt to get Saiko to second. Max Schrock struck out, but LB Dantzler was given an on-purpose free base.
The Cocks made Clemson pay for that walk, though, as Joey Pankake stepped up and laced a two-out single to left, bringing Saiko home. Erik Payne followed that with a two-out base hit of his own, and Dantzler came across the plate to make it 3-0 USC. The Yardcocks weren’t done, though. Grayson Greiner roped a two-out single into left, which brought Pankake in. Greiner then stole second (!) and Connor Bright smacked a two-out double to make it 6-0.
South Carolina added to their lead again in the seventh inning. After starting pitcher Scott Firth was replaced by Jonathan Meyer, Saiko and Vergason both singled, which put runners on the corners with no outs. Meyer was promptly removed in favor of Kyle Schnell, who was called for a balk, which got Saiko home and Vergason to second, making it 7-0 Cocks.
USC had one more run left in them, and it came in the eighth innning. Jackson Campana came in to pitch for CU, and after getting Payne to ground out, he gave up a single to Greiner, who stole second base again (!!!). Bright got hit by a pitch and Tanner English was walked, which filled the bases with Gamecocks.
Campana then gave up another walk, this time to Saiko, which brough Greiner across the dish and upped the score to 8-0 in favor of the guys in garnet. Campana was replaced by Zack Erwin, who managed to stop the bleeding as Carolina left the bases loaded.
Clemson’s best scoring chance came in the third inning, when Jon McGibbon led off with a single and Jay Baum reached on a Dantzler error. Tyler Krieger laid down a sac bunt to advance the runners, and with two outs and a full count, Maleeke Gibson was hit by a pitch to put Tigers on all three bases. Fortunately for USC, Steve Wilkerson flied out to end the inning and get Holmes and his team out of the jam.
Holmes went all nine innings and allowed just three hits. He didn’t walk anybody, though he did hit one batter, and he tallied seven strikeouts. He obviously earned the win and improves to 2-1 on the season. Firth worked six innings and gave up six runs on eight hits, plus a walk. He had three strikeouts. Firth drops to 2-1 on the season.
Vergason, Greiner, and Bright all had two hits, and Greiner and Saiko had two runs. Steven Duggar, Garrett Boulware, and McGibbon were the only Tigers to get a hit.
Montgomery was named the winner of the Tom Price Award while Clemson pitcher Clate Schmidt was selected as the winner of the Bob Bradley Award. The Yardcocks are now 8-2 overall and will return to action Tuesday to begin a two-game series against Ball State. First pitch is set for 7 p.m. at Carolina Stadium.