Baseball Renews Rivalry With Clemson This Weekend
Feb. 27, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. - College baseball's premier rivalry is this weekend as South Carolina (7-0) meets Clemson (6-1) for three games in three different sites. The series opens on Friday in Columbia at Carolina Stadium with first pitch at 7 p.m. Game two of the series shifts to Greenville and the Reedy River Rivalry contest at Fluor Field with first pitch at 2:05 p.m. The series concludes on Sunday in Clemson at Doug Kingsmore Stadium at 4 p.m.
Carolina has had success against Clemson in recent years winning 20 of the last 28 contests between the two schools dating back to the 2007 season. South Carolina won two of three games last year with a pair of shutouts.
Both teams come into the contest nationally ranked in all of the weekly polls. South Carolina is ranked No. 3 by Baseball America, No. 4 by Perfect Game, No. 5 by Collegiate Baseball and No. 6 by the NCBWA. Clemson holds rankings of No. 11 by Baseball America, Perfect Game and the NCBWA as well as No. 16 by Collegiate Baseball.
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network/Flagship WNKT FM 107.5 "The Game" in Columbia. Andy Demetra, Derek Scott, Tommy Moody and Ray Tanner have the call.
Internet: Additional coverage on Twitter @GamecockBasebll and Facebook/Gamecocksonline
PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
A LOOK BACK
THE LAST TIME
Game one at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson featured Montgomery, who opened the series with eight scoreless innings of work in a 6-0 win over the Tigers. Montgomery did not allow a runner to reach third base as he limited the Tigers to three hits and two walks in the victory. Montgomery tied a career-high with eight innings pitched for the third time in his career and struck out a career-high nine batters in the victory.
Clemson answered in game two with a 6-3 victory at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C. to set up a Sunday rubber game at Carolina Stadium. Clemson starting pitcher freshman Clate Schmidt was effective to earn the win and improve to 2-0 on the year. He allowed two runs on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts. Reliever Matt Campbell worked the final two innings to tally his third save of the season for the Tigers.
That set the stage for Nolan Belcher and the senior delivered. A capacity crowd of 8,242 fans at Carolina Stadium witnessed Belcher's finest start in a Carolina uniform as the left-hander pitched a three-hit complete game shutout and was backed by an offense that scored five runs with two outs in the sixth inning as Carolina defeated Clemson 8-0 to clinch the weekend series. Belcher's complete game shutout was also the first by a Gamecock pitcher in the Clemson series since May 4, 1986 when Rodney Richey hurled a four-hit complete game shutout in a 5-0 victory vs. the Tigers at Sarge Frye Field.
Scoreless in the fourth inning, the Gamecocks went ahead 1-0 on a solo home run by Chase Vergason. The senior third baseman struck a 2-1 pitch from Scott Firth for his second homer of the year over the right field wall.
With a one-run lead the Gamecocks took advantage of a Clemson error in the sixth inning and struck with four consecutive two-out RBI hits to increase the lead to 6-0. Graham Saiko would reach base to open the frame as a soft liner went off the glove of Clemson second baseman Steve Wilkerson into right field. With two outs and first base open, Clemson intentionally walked LB Dantzler to give the Gamecocks a pair of runners. A wild pitch issued up by Firth moved Saiko over to third base. Joey Pankake would then get things going with a RBI single through the left side scoring Saiko. Erik Payne kept things going with a RBI base hit followed by a RBI single from Grayson Greiner. The Gamecocks then went ahead by six runs on a two-run double down the left field line off the bat of Connor Bright.
Carolina added single runs in the seventh and eighth innings. Saiko and Vergason both singled for runners on the corners in the seventh with Saiko scoring his second run on a balk. After loading the bases with one out in the eighth, Saiko would tally a RBI on a walk as Greiner scored his second run of the game.
Belcher worked a perfect ninth inning with a pair of strikeouts including one of pinch hitter Joe Costigan to end the game.
STREAK AND A RECORD
MORE ON THE PITCHING STAFF
MONTGOMERY GETS IT STARTED
Montgomery is 2-0 in his career against Clemson. As a freshman in the 2012 NCAA Columbia Regional, he worked 6.2 innings and allowed just two runs on five hits on the way to a 4-3 win and advance the Gamecocks to the Super Regional. Last season he hurled eight scoreless innings on the way to an 8-0 win at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. For his efforts, he earned the Tom Price Award as MVP for the Gamecocks for the season series. He is 14-2 in his career with the Garnet & Black on the mound.
CROWE RECEIVES HONORS
The previous week, Crowe was SEC Pitcher of the Week. H had an impressive debut as he hurled 6.1 hitless innings in his first career start. Crowe walked just one and hit one batter while finishing with five strikeouts to earn his first career win in a Gamecock uniform. Bucknell had just one runner reach second base and none reach third base while Crowe was on the mound. Crowe retired 13 consecutive batters in a row before coming out of the game as he reached his pitch count total.
Crowe has 10 strikeouts in a team-high 12.2 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting just .100 against him.
A BRIGHT SPOT
Bright leads the team in doubles (5) and RBI (11) as well. He has a .516 on-base percentage.
JACK OF ALL TRADES
SEDDON SEALS IT
MINCEY MAKES AN APPEARANCE
Mincey has nine strikeouts in 4.1 innings.
Martin's first weekend vs. Bucknell was impressive including a career-high four hits in the 12-0 victory. Martin went 4-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI in the series finale.
MORE ON GREINER & PANKAKE
A LITTLE BIT OF ENGLISH
MAX IT OUT
Schrock tied a school record with four walks in a game in the first game of the doubleheader vs. Bucknell. He would add two stolen bases in the nightcap and homered in Sunday's series finale.
He also leads the team with three stolen bases.
AT THE PLATE AND ON THE FIELD
HOME SWEET HOME
South Carolina is 162-32 in all-time games at Carolina Stadium, a winning percentage of .835. That is the best winning percentage of all 14 SEC schools since opening the facility.