Bullpen flexes muscle as Gamecocks beat App State
SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS BASEBALL
No Noah Campbell, no problem for the Gamecocks Tuesday night.
With the preseason All-American held out of the lineup for precautionary reasons nursing a back injury, the Gamecocks pitched their way to a 3-1 win over Appalachian State Tuesday to push their win streak to seven games.
“It was not our best offensive game, but I’m real proud of our pitching and defense tonight,” Mark Kingston said. “If we don’t score as much as we want, we have to win with pitching.”
John Gilreath gave up a run in the first inning but after that threw a scoreless second before turning it over to the Gamecock bullpen that was dominant again Tuesday night.
Four pitchers combined to pitch seven scoreless innings, striking out 10 and walking just one. They threw 98 pitches, 68 for strikes.
Parker Coyne picked up his second win of the season, pitching 1.2 scoreless innings and striking out four.
He left after putting two on with two outs but Cam Tringali came in and pitched out of the jam, coming out again the next two innings and not allowing a run.
“You come in from the bullpen, you have to expect any sort of situation," Tringali said. "Having two on, two out with the top of the order; Parker had already been through the order one time so I kind of knew I had a chance to go in. I just pounded the zone. Walking is what kills everybody; pound the zone and give you a chance.”
Wes Sweatt and Brett Kerry closed the game out with Kerry (2-0) picking up his first save of the year. Of the five pitchers that threw Tuesday, two were true freshmen with Tringali being a redshirt freshman.
“Kerry comes in and attacks the strike zone with really good stuff and great mound presence,” Kingston said. “A lot of young guys pitched for us and pitched well. I think that’s encouraging.”
For Sweatt, after not pitching opening weekend, he's now thrown five scoreless innings with an .063 batting average against.
“We thought he had a chance and he was working on some things with Skylar, so we wanted to make sure once he got in the game he was full ready to go. He clearly is. He’s had some great outings now," Kingston said. "He’s a key guy for us now; he’s a good competitor. That’s a good development for us.”
After App State went up by a run in the first inning on two hits to start the game, it didn't take long for the Gamecocks to tie things up.
Without Campbell in the lineup, Brady Allen assumed the role of leadoff hitter and did well.
Allen reached base in three of his five at-bats: getting on via an error, walk and double. After Jacob Olson homered to tie the game, Allen would come around to score twice, plating the go-ahead run in the third on a Luke Berryhill and an insurance run in the eighth on a TJ Hopkins sacrifice fly.
It was his first time hitting leadoff, and he only found out about four hours before first pitch.
“I found out when the lineup came out. I found out about noon," he said. "I got on base the first time, and I felt like I did pretty good trying to beat it out and rushed him a bit. That’s the goal, just to get on. I got that hit. I think I did pretty well.”
Allen's slashing .280/.471/.600 in eight starts this year and is second on the team in runs scored.
“We kind of believe about replacing one guy instead of having three or four guys in new spots," Kingston said. "We thought Brady could do a nice job with his on-base percentage, getting on base at the top. That would allow everyone to stay in the same spot they’ve been pretty comfortable in so far. I thought we’d put him up there at the top and thought he did a nice job.”
Player of the game: Brady Allen reached base three times in his first game hitting leadoff. He had one double and scored two of the team's three runs, including the insurance run.
Up next: South Carolina begins its annual Reedy River Rivalry Friday at Clemson. First pitch from Doug Kingsmore is schedule for 6 p.m. on the ACC Digital Network.