After a week off for Fall Break, the Gamecocks were back on the diamond Friday for their first scrimmage in almost two weeks.
On a picturesque fall day it was a marquee matchup of ace pitchers. As they have all fall, Clarke Schmidt and Wil Crowe dueled opposite each other on the mound.
Both jumped off to shaky starts; Crowe gave up a run in the first off a two-out John Jones single to drive home LT Tolbert and the Garnet team took advantage of a TJ Hopkins leadoff double, an Alex Destino hit-by-pitch and two wild pitches to plate two in the first frame.
The pitchers would settle in after that, allowing just four hits and striking out two in a combined five innings of work. Crowe looked dominant with his curveball, getting Hunter Taylor and Caleb Whitenton to each strike out looking on that pitch.
Schmidt peppered the zone with fastballs, working in off-speed pitches as well.
The Garnet team would hold the lead the rest of the game behind lights-out pitching from Crowe and relief pitchers Brandon Murray and Reed Scott. Murray pitched three innings and didn’t allow a hit until the next-to-last batter he faced.
Of the nine outs he recorded, six were on groundouts. He threw primarily fastballs. The Garnet team would add an insurance run in the eighth inning after Madison Stokes doubled and later came around on a fielding error by Jonah Bride.
That would give the Garnet team a 3-1 lead, which they kept until the end of the eight-inning scrimmage.
Defensively, Jacob Olson, who started at second base for the Garnet team, made a few good plays in the field.
He started the game with a nice grab on a Danny Blair groundout before gunning it to first for an out. The sophomore followed it up in the fourth inning with a diving stab to rob Jones of a single and start an inning-ending double play.
Carlos Cortes, who’s played primarily second base and left field this fall, started at third for the Garnet while Matt Williams played first. Cortes finished 1-for-4 with a single and had a good stop on a hotshot in the fifth inning before making a throw across the infield to get the runner.
Colie Bowers pitched for the Black team, coming in for Schmidt. He faced 15 batters over 3.2 innings, striking out six and working an effective fastball with some movement. He only gave up two hits but he walked another two batters.
The Gamecocks continue their next-to-last weekend of fall ball Saturday and Sunday with both contests at 11 a.m. All are free and open to the public.
1B, Matt Williams; 2B, Jacob Olson; 3B, Carlos Cortes; SS, Madison Stokes; LF, Alex Destino; CF, TJ Hopkins; RF, Christian Flint; C, Chris Cullen; SP, Wil Crowe; DH, Joey Polak
1B, Ross Grosvenor; 2B, Chase DeMars; 3B, Jonah Bride; SS, LT Tolbert; LF, Jake Wright; CF, Danny Blair; RF, Josh Gregory; C, Hunter Taylor; SP, Clarke Schmidt; DH, Caleb Whitenton; DH, John Jones
Wil Crowe: 3 IP, 2 H, 1 R (ER), 0 BB, 2 K
Brandon Murray: 3 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 1 K
Reed Scott: 2.1 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 2 K
Clarke Schmidt: 4 IP, 5 H, 3 R (3 ER), 0 BB, 4 K, 2 WP, 1 HP
Colie Bowers: 3.2 IP, 2 H, 1 R (ER), 2 BB, 6 K
Top offensive performers
TJ Hopkins: 2-4, 2B, 2 R; Carlos Cortes: 1-4, RBI; Madison Stokes: 2-4, 2 2B, R, K; Chris Cullen: 1-3, 2B, BB; John Jones: 1-3, RBI; LT Tolbert 1-3, 2B