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February 2, 2013
South Carolina continued preseason practice as the Gamecocks returned to the diamond on Saturday. GamecockCentral.com's Ron Aiken was there to offer some scrimmage impressions.
USC will scrimmage again at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday and 3 p.m. on Monday. All scrimmages are open to the public.
Home: CF Tanner English, EH Curt Britt, 2B Max Schrock, SS Joey Pankake, 1B LB Dantzler, C Grayson Greiner, LF Graham Saiko, DH Erik Payne, RF TJ Costen, 2B Chase Vergason, P Colby Holmes
Visitor: RF Ahmad Christian, C Dante Rosenberg, CF Shon Carson, 3B George Iskenderian, 1B Kyle Martin, DH Brison Celek, 2B Connor Bright, SS DC Arendas, RF Sean Sullivan, EH Ryan Ripken, P Jordan Montgomery
* The scrimmage ended in a 2-2 tie.
* Colby Holmes got the nod as the No. 1 starter on Saturday and threw five quality innings, facing the minimum in the first two frames and allowing one run on three hits with a strikeout and a walk. The damage came against him in the top of the fourth, when George Iskenderian stroked a two-out single to score Ahmad Christian.
* Jordan Montgomery was even better for the visitors, matching Holmes frame for frame as he faced the minimum through three and only faced four batters in the fourth. Still baby-faced, Montgomery's uncanny ability to throw fastballs and off-speed pitches with the same hypnotically slow motion continues to vex opposing batters. In four innings of work, he allowed three hits and no runs with a strikeout.
Montgomery's only spot of bother came in the fourth. After allowing a gorgeous bunt single down the first-base line to Tanner English, followed by a sharp single to left from Graham Saiko, English was picked off on a steal attempt when Montgomery threw to Kyle Martin at first, who threw to Connor Bright at second for the easy out.
* Though most people are expecting the Chad Holbrook era to feature a more aggressive approach on the basepaths, it was some Tanner-ball, circa 2010 and 2011, that got the first run of the game across in the fourth.
With both Montgomery and Holmes in command and working quickly, when Christian knocked a leadoff single off Montgomery to short center, Holbrook called upon catcher Dante Rosenberg to sacrifice bunt, which he did perfectly to move Christian to second. After a Shon Carson strikeout, Iskenderian's single to right-center field scored the speedy Christian and stood as the visiting side's only run until a
* Christian continues to impress at the plate, going 2-for-5 on Saturday, both hits being singles. He's a smooth swinger who made contact every time up and who runs well on the basepaths.
His defensive skills, however, remain a work in progress. On two long fly balls he got a poor jump and barely recovered to make the catch, and miscommunication between himself and Carson on a deep fly ball from Saiko to right in the sixth inning led to a three-base error. Saiko would score two batters later on a Costen triple between Carson and Christian.
* Costen had two RBIs to lead all batters, with each coming for a different team thanks to some late-inning lineup switching. His triple in the sixth scored Saiko for the home side to tie the game at 1, and his solo shot over the right-field wall in the 10th inning for the visitors tied the game at 2.
* Iskenderian keeps producing time and again, proving that his solid fall was no fluke. Playing a steady third base for the visitors and batting fourth, the freshman from New Jersey was 2-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base. The Gamecocks boast a crowded infield, especially at the corners, but with players such as Kyle Martin and Brison Celek quiet from the plate of late, he could be making a pitch for some spot in a designated-hitter capacity.
* Britt is a name fans might not be familiar with, but he saw action on Saturday at the plate, where he went 1-for-3 with a single, and on the mound, where he pitched three innings in relief and allowed just one run, Costen's solo shot in the 10th, on four hits with three strikeouts.
*Tyler Webb provided a dramatic close in the bottom of the 10th, and not in a good way. Although he didn't allow a run in one inning of work, he made it hard for himself by allowing a leadoff triple to Erik Payne and walking Carson, who quickly stole second. A strikeout of Chase Vergason followed, but an infield single down the third-base line by English without a throw loaded the bases with just one out.
Fortunately for Webb, Saiko mashed a line drive to Christian, who had moved to second from right field in the seventh, and coaxed a nervously long at-bat from Max Schrock, who already had two singles on the day, to end the game.
*USC on TV: On Friday, the SEC released its baseball TV schedule for 2013, and the Gamecocks will have 11 games televised as part of the SEC package. Six conference home games will be televised with five conference road contests on TV.
The home conference opener vs. Arkansas will be televised on CSS with first pitch set for 7:30 p.m. The Saturday game will be televised as well with a 3:15 p.m. first pitch on FSN. As previously announced, the SEC Game of the Week on ESPNU will debut on March 28 with the Gamecocks hosting Texas A&M at 7:30 p.m. Game 2 of the Tennessee series in Knoxville on April 6 was also picked up by FSN, with a 12:30 p.m. start.
The entire series at Florida will be televised. The SEC Game of the Week on April 13 is set for 7:30 p.m. on ESPNU with Game 2 at 7:30 p.m. on CSS and the series finale at 4 p.m. on April 13 on ESPN2. The final game of the LSU series in Baton Rouge on April 28 will be televised on ESPN, with first pitch at 3 p.m.
Three more home games in May round out USC's conference TV slate. Game 2 of the Vanderbilt series on May 4 is scheduled for noon on FSN with Sunday's series finale on
May 5 at 1 p.m. on CSS. Game 2 of the Georgia series on May 11 is set for 1 p.m. on CSS as well.
Holmes - 5IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 2K
Montgomery - 4IP, 3H, 0R, 3K
Knab - 2IP, 0H, 0R, 1BB
Britt - 3IP, 3H, 1R, 1ER, 1BB, 3K
P. Sullivan - 2IP, 3H, 2R, 1ER
Privette - 2IP, 2H, 0R, 1BB, 2K
Webb - 1IP, 2H, 0R, 1BB, 1K
South Carolina NEWS