Tuesday afternoon’s game started out a lot like the first game against the College of Charleston. Neither the offense nor the defense was especially sharp, and Carolina fell into an early hole. The Paladins led 2-0 headed to the home half of the third inning, and they had chased Matthew Vogel, the Carolina starting pitcher, from the game.
From the bottom of the third inning on the Gamecocks got their house in order. Logan Koch led the inning off with a single, and Carolina loaded the bases with no outs. Elliott Caldwell then hit a bases clearing triple to give the Gamecocks a lead they wouldn’t relinquish. The Gamecocks added a fourth run in the third inning and pushed across another in the fifth to win 5-2.
Five runs isn’t exactly inspiring, especially against Furman’s midweek starter. But it was enough tonight, and it’s the first week of baseball. Don’t read too much into it too early.
Something very nice to see was Clarke Schmidt’s pitching performance. He came in to the game in the third inning and struck out the first batter he faced. He stayed in the game until the eighth inning and didn’t allow a run. He did allow runners on base every inning, but he managed them.
After Schmidt was finished in the eighth, the third freshman pitcher of the night took over. Brandon Murray earned the save by throwing 1.2 innings and not allowing a run. He gave up two hits but threw only 20 pitches to 7 batters.
The Gamecocks have had plenty of talent on the roster for a few years now, and Chad Holbrook is known for his recruiting prowess. Sending three freshman out to pitch an entire game is the fruit of that strong recruiting. As the season goes on expect to see familiar gains from freshmen on the offensive side too.