South Carolina defeated Stetson 7-1 in the first game of a two game series on Tuesday.
The Gamecocks jumped on top of Stetson in the first two innings and coasted to the end in a quick two hour, seven minute game. South Carolina was able to maintain the momentum of its series sweep of Clemson in less than ideal conditions, something that was a concern coming off the high emotion of the rivalry weekend.
"I was nervous today because of the emotional part of it, having something left in the tank, cold day," said head coach Chad Holbrook. "When we were taking BP today guys had energy, and we carried it over to the start of the game."
"A lot of times you see teams come up with a big series sweep or emotional weekend and lay an egg," said catcher Grayson Greiner. "We came out early swinging the bat."
South Carolina got on top quickly. After Marcus Mooney struck out to start the game, the next five batters reached base. Max Schrock doubled, but was thrown out on a fielder's choice hit by Joey Pankake. Kyle Martin walked, Connor Bright singled, and the Greiner singled to center to bring Pankake and Martin home, two of his three RBIs in the game.
The big first two innings took the pressure off freshman lefty Josh Reagan. Reagan was starting his first collegiate game, though he picked up a win in relief against Presbyterian. Reagan got off to a shaky start, but once he settled in he pitched well. He went 5.0 innings, gave up six hits, struck out six, and had no walks.
"It was good to see Josh get a start," Holbrook said. "He gave up a few hits there, made a few bad pitches with two strikes, but all in all threw the ball very well."
Reagan's only run allowed was unearned, and it came following a play on which he committed two errors.
He gave up only one hit in his last two innings, and could have gone deeper into the game. But Reagan had 69 pitches after five innings, and his pitch count was 70. The coaches did not want to tax him in his first start, and they also want him available for the weekend.
"The first or second inning I was trying to feel my pitches," Reagan said. "Toward the end of the game everything was smooth and fresh and my changeup was a lot better."
Matthew Vogel came in for Reagan and gave up one hit in 2.0 innings. Taylor Widener and John Parke each pitched an inning. Neither gave up a hit, though Parke allowed a base on balls. All four pitchers Carolina sent to the mound were freshman.
South Carolina added an unearned run in sixth inning, but that was the only time after the fourth inning that either team really threatened. Both teams seemed almost content to get the game over with and head for a warm shower.
"I didn't think we were bouncing off the walls in the middle or late of the game by any means," Holbrook said.
The same two teams will play again Wednesday at 4. First pitch was originally scheduled for 7, but was moved up due to the cold weather. Sophomore right-hander Curt Britt will start for the Gamecocks. Stetson has not announced a starter.