Feb. 18, 2013
Columbia, S.C. - South Carolina opened the 2013 season with a series victory vs. Liberty at Carolina Stadium. The Gamecocks defeated Liberty 4-3 on Opening Day, rallied from seven runs down, for an 8-7 win vs. Liberty in game one of a doubleheader on Sunday and lost 3-2 in the nightcap, a seven-inning affair. South Carolina is 2-1 on the year and will next be in action hosting Albany in a three-game series at Carolina Stadium beginning on Friday, Feb. 22.
Last Week: 2-1
This is the first time in school history that South Carolina has opened a season with three consecutive one-run games. Last year, the Gamecocks opened the year with two one-run victories vs. VMI.
South Carolina is now 83-38 on Opening Day. The Gamecocks have won 15 consecutive Opening Day games. The win also marked head coach Chad Holbrook's first career victory as a head coach in collegiate baseball. South Carolina is 9-3 on Opening Day in one-run games dating back to 1970.
Before the opener on Friday, former head coach and current athletics director Ray Tanner was honored for his 16 years as a head coach for the Gamecocks. The pregame ceremony was topped off by the retiring of his No. 1 jersey, the first jersey to be retired in South Carolina baseball history.
Sophomore left-hander Jordan Montgomery was effective in his first start of the season to earn a win on Opening Day. Montgomery pitched six scoreless innings and allowed just five hits and two walks while striking out five batters in the 4-3 win. He extended a scoreless inning streak of 14 straight innings without allowing a run dating back to last season. The win marked his third straight victory in a start for the Gamecocks dating back to last year.
For the second consecutive season, LB Dantzler came up with a big hit on Opening Day. Dantzler was 2-for-2 with a solo home run and sacrifice fly in the 4-3 win over Liberty. Last season, he had the game-winning RBI single in a 2-1 win over VMI. Dantzler hit .333 (3-for-9) in the series with three RBI.
The Gamecock pitching staff gave a very strong effort in the first weekend with a team ERA of 2.88 in 25.0 innings of work. The Gamecocks struck out 26 batters and limited Liberty to a .206 batting average over the weekend.
Senior left-hander Tyler Webb was sterling in two relief stints. Webb picked up a save with 1.2 scoreless innings of work in the 4-3 win on Opening Day. Webb did not allow a hit and struck out two batters to seal the victory. He would also pitch a scoreless 0.1 inning in the 3-2 loss on Sunday.
Junior outfielder Graham Saiko and sophomore outfielder Tanner English found their way across the plate. Both players had three runs scored to lead the team in the Liberty series over the weekend. Saiko hit .300 (3-for-10) with a RBI and three walks as well. He has a .462 on-base percentage after the first weekend. English hit .333 (3-for-9) with two walks and has a .455 on-base percentage.
The seven-run rally for the Gamecocks in the 8-7 victory over Liberty was the largest comeback from a deficit since Carolina rallied from an eight-run deficit in a 15-12 win at Tennessee on May 9, 2009.
Sophomore shortstop Joey Pankake hit .333 (3-for-9) for the weekend with a pair of RBI. He had a pair of sacrifice flies on Sunday, one in each game of the doubleheader. Pankake went 2-for-2 with a run scored in the 3-2 loss.
Senior left-hander Nolan Belcher was effective on the mound despite a loss in the doubleheader nightcap. Belcher worked 5.2 innings and allowed three runs on four hits with one walk and nine strikeouts. The nine strikeouts are the most for Belcher in a game since he struck out a career-high 11 on May, 15 2009 in a win over Georgia as a freshman.
Senior right-hander Colby Holmes had the longest outing for a Gamecock this weekend with 6.1 innings of work. He allowed two runs on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts in a no-decision in the 8-7 win over Liberty.
Senior left-hander Adam Westmoreland picked up the victory in the 8-7 win. He worked 2.1 innings allowing two runs, both unearned, on two hits with no walks and two strikeouts.
Senior infielder Chase Vergason continues to find his way on base. Similar to last year, Vergason is off to a great start with his .571 on-base percentage that leads the team. He tallied a base hit, walked twice and was hit by a pitch in seven plate appearances. He also scored two runs and tallied a RBI.
The Gamecocks had six players see action for the first time in the Garnet & Black in the weekend series vs. Liberty. Curt Britt, Shon Carson, Ahmad Christian, Graham Saiko, Max Schrock and Jack Wynkoop made their debuts for the Gamecocks.