This weekend saw the return of Carolina football (hooray!), and the Black team topped the Garnet team in the Spring Game. The Yardcocks also earned their first SEC sweep (double hooray!), over Mississippi State, this weekend.
Football: On Saturday, the Black team, led by QB Connor Shaw, scored on their first possession of the game. That set the tone, as they went on to defeat the Garnet team, led by projected second-stringer Dylan Thompson, 38-24. The Black team led 35-10 at halftime, and new QBs took the reigns for the third and fourth quarters.
Tanner McEvoy and Austin Hails took Shaw’s place on the Black team, while Seth Strickland and Andrew Clifford worked with the Garnet team. Per Gamecocks Online, the six quarterbacks combined to go 39-of-54 for 511 yards. They had six touchdowns and two interceptions.
As part of the annual tradition, a variety of award winners were announced at the game. The list is as follows:
Most Improved: OL – Will Sport/Brandon Shell; DL – Chaz Sutton; CB – Jared Shaw; WR – Damiere Byrd; LB – Damario Jeffrey; TE – Drew Owens; DB – Ahmad Christian; RB – Blair Lowery; QB – Seth Strickland/Dylan Thompson K – Adam Yates; P – Michael Williamson
Everyday Attitude & Hustle Award: Bruce Ellington/Victor Hampton
Outstanding Weight Room: Kadetrix Marcus, Ace Sanders, Cody Gibson, Byron Jerideau
Outstanding Walk-Ons: Connor McLaurin, Kenny Robinson, Jessie Dukes, Landon Ard
Harold White GPA: K. J. Brent/Walker Inabinet
Dr. Harris Pastides – Scholar Athlete: Marcus Lattimore
Joe Morrison – Players of the Spring: Offense - Kenny Miles; Defense – Jadeveon Clowney; Special Teams - Ace Sanders
Ernest Brooks – MVP – Clemson Game: Offense – Connor Shaw; Defense – Melvin Ingram; Special Teams – D. J. Swearinger
MVP – Bowl Game: Alshon Jeffery/Stephon Gilmore
After the game, Steve Spurrier, who said this was pretty much the best Spring Game he’s had at USC, talked about how important fan support is to the Gamecocks.
“Having a big crowd for spring games, ESPN3 was here and telecast the game. 34,000 fans, excellent. When we gave the awards, it was the first time I stood in the middle to talk to both sides because it was that big of a crowd. It was wonderful and special. (New basketball coach) Frank Martin got a wonderful ovation.”
Baseball: Also on Saturday and in front of a sellout crowd, South Carolina defeated Mississippi State 5-3 to take the series against the Bulldogs. Freshman starter Jordan Montgomery was solid again, going 6 1/3 innings and giving up only one run on five hits. He walked two and struck out four batters. Tyler Webb gave up two runs on two hits in 1/3 of an inning, Evan Beal issued a walk, then Nolan Belcher came in to toss a perfect 1/3 of an inning.
Matt Price came in to close things out and pitched 2 1/3 innings where he allowed no runs on two hits, walked no batters, and K’d two. Montgomery earned the win and is now 3-0 on the season. Price got his third save of the year. MSU’s starter, Kendall Graveman, took the loss and dropped to 2-2 this year.
Tanner English led the Cocks at the plate, going 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored. The Bulldogs didn’t get on the board until the seventh inning, when they scored all three of their runs. Each team tallied nine hits and left nine runners on base.
On Sunday, junior starter Colby Holmes performed well, hurling 8 1/3 innings where he surrendered four hits on eight runs, issued no walks, and struck out three batters. This was Holmes’ longest outing of the season. Hunter Privette came in to relieve and allowed a walk to the first batter he faced, so Tyler Webb came in to finish things off. He earned his second save of the season, and Holmes got his fifth win, improving his record to 5-0. Bulldogs starter Evan Mitchell took the loss and fell to 1-1 on the season.
Five different Yardcocks tallied at least on RBI, and Joey Pankake had two. Evan Marzilli led Carolina at the dish, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored. Almost every Gamecock reached base at least once. USC outhit MSU 11-8, and left nine men on base compared to Mississippi State’s five.
South Carolina is now 27-10 overall and 8-7 in SEC play. This is the first time they’ve had a winning conference record all season, and yesterday was the first time they’d been at .50o. The next game for the Cocks is Tuesday at Carolina Stadium against College of Charleston. First pitch is set for 7 ET and the game will be shown on Fox Sports South.