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September 23, 2012

Scrimmage observations (w/ PHOTOS, VIDEO)


South Carolina continued fall practice on Sunday as the Gamecocks returned to the diamond. GamecockCentral.com's David Cloninger was there to offer some scrimmage impressions.

USC will scrimmage again next weekend, at approximately 3:30 p.m. on Friday and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The Gamecocks will scrimmage every weekend for the next four weekends, except for the Oct. 19 weekend (fall break). All scrimmages are open to the public. They are scheduled to wind it up with the Garnet and Black World Series on the Oct. 26 weekend.

Home -- CF Tanner English, RF Graham Saiko, 3B LB Dantzler, SS Joey Pankake, C Grayson Greiner, LF Connor Bright, EH Erik Payne, DH Kyle Martin, 1B Sean Sullivan, 2B Chase Vergason, EH Ray Murphy, P Colby Holmes, P Jack Wynkoop, P Curt Britt, P Evan Beal

Visitor -- CF T.J. Costen, EH Patrick Harrington, 2B Max Schrock, 3B George Iskenderian, EH Brison Celek, EH Zack Smith, SS D.C. Arendas, 1B Ryan Ripken, C Dante Rosenberg, RF Anthony Paulsen, CF Seth Constable, P Nolan Belcher, P Adam Westmoreland, P Hunter Privette

* The Home team won 3-1.

* Former Gamecock Jon Coutlangus took in the scrimmage and even pitched some batting practice. He is replacing Brian Buscher as coach at Heathwood Hall Episcopal School. Coutlangus was an outfielder at USC but reached the major leagues as a pitcher.

* Colby Holmes only threw an inning, but struck out two of his three batters and was untouched. He's a senior and USC knows what he can do, which is why fall practice for him is more about keeping in shape and keeping in rhythm. Holmes figures to be in the weekend rotation this year - at what spot is the question.

* Nolan Belcher looked good through two innings but the life left his fastball in the third. A couple of singles, each rapped right on the screws, pushed a run across. Belcher is a senior guy who the Gamecocks can turn to in a variety of pitching roles, drawing on his previous experience and ability to pitch anytime, anywhere. He just needs to keep it all together for a group of innings, not just one good inning here and there.

* As they did in a previous scrimmage, one error led to several errors. This time, it was a sky-high dropped pop-up to third (LB Dantzler) that gave T.J. Costen two bases, which was immediately followed by Grayson Greiner skipping a throw to third trying to get Costen on a steal. The throw went to left, Costen scored, and Chase Vergason then pulled Sean Sullivan off the bag at first with a wide throw. Hitting is contagious, and so are Es, apparently.

* Adam Westmoreland looked solid, but it's really the same story with him. He has to be more consistent. He hasn't been the same since his Tommy John surgery - which is no crime - but he could factor into midweek games or long relief if he proves that he can throw two or three good innings in a stretch. Kind of like Belcher, in that sense.

* Joey Pankake will continue to throw bullpen sessions. He can throw well over 90 mph. It's to keep him in shape for a potential appearance, but he'll be counted on as a shortstop and big hitter first.

* Cal Ripken Jr. was in town for Parents' Weekend and took in the scrimmage.

* Chad Holbrook says:

"Last weekend, we were a fastball changeup-type deal. Our hitters got some good looks. We weren't going to throw any breaking balls because we wanted to be careful with our guys' arms. The one thing I take away from this weekend, on a positive note, is how well Nolan Belcher threw, how well Jack Wynkoop threw, Curt Britt threw very well, Colby Holmes was a pro out there today. Tyler Webb was incredible, Joel Seddon had a great weekend.

"We didn't play very good defense this week. We've got to shore that up this week.

"Friday, we weren't good. Saturday and Sunday, we had a little bit more energy and a little bit more want-to. There's still a lot of things to shore up, for sure.

"We've run the bases well. We attempted a lot more steals this year. I just think it makes our pitchers better, it makes our catchers better. You don't learn how to run by not running."

Holmes - 1IP, 2K
Wynkoop - 2IP, 1H, 1BB, 1K
Britt - 2IP, 2H, 1R, 0ER, 1BB, 1K
Beal - 2IP, 1BB, 2K
Belcher - 3IP, 2H, 1R, 1ER, 1K
Westmoreland - 3IP, 1H, 2BB, 2K
Privette - 1IP, 3H, 2R, 2ER

VIDEO: Chad Holbrook

100 0452 from GamecockCentral.com on Vimeo.

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