Gamecocks Baseball Field Report: Southern Illinois Edition

South Carolina hosted the Salukis of Southern Illinois over the weekend and swept the series by scores of 10-6, 4-0 and 9-4.

Breaking it Down…South Carolina sent Omaha hero Michael Roth to the mound on  Friday afternoon.  The Gamecock offense gave him immediate support.  USC scored 7 runs in the first inning and 2 in the second to start the series off right.  Roth pitched into the seventh allowing only 2 runs.  The game became much more interesting in the eighth inning.  Colby Holmes, who had relieved Roth, gave up several hits including a leadoff home run.  John Taylor and Logan Munson each recorded an out to end the inning, but Southern Illinois scored 3 to cut the lead to 10-5.  In the ninth, the Saluki bats got going again, and Munson was relieved by Jose Mata.  A single and a walk later, the bases were loaded and the tying run was coming to the plate.  Coach Tanner brought Matt Price into the game.  Price induced a pop up and then got a three pitch strike out to save the game.

Tyler Webb took the mound for the Gamecocks on Saturday, and he was dazzling.  Webb pitched into the eighth inning, allowing only 4 hits and a walk while striking out 7 and holding the Salukis scoreless.  Bryan Harper and John Taylor finished the game to hold the shut out intact.  Taylor struck out the three batters he faced on 11 pitches.

The Gamecock offense didn’t have as good a day as it had on Friday, but it didn’t need to.  Jackie Bradley, Jr drove in Adam Matthews in the first inning; Wofford transfer Jake Williams drove in Matthews and Bradley in the third, and Adrian Morales drove in Bradley in the fifth for all the scoring the Gamecocks would get or need.

Sunday was a beautiful day for baseball, and it looked like it was going to be an easy day for USC.  The Gamecocks put up three in the first and three in the third and appeared to have the game in hand.  Starting pitcher Adam Westmoreland lasted into the fifth until he gave up two runs and left the game with a runner on base.  Steven Neff relieved Westmoreland, but he was quickly puled after walking the first batter he faced and plunking the second on a 3-0 count.  John Taylor came in, and induced a fly ball and a ground out to end the inning.  Leading 6-4, the Gamecocks added one run in the bottom of the fifth.  In the sixth Taylor struck out the side on 10 pitches.  The Gamecocks made their lead more comfortable with two runs in the bottom of the sixth.  There would be no more scoring as Taylor, Forrest Koumas and Patrick Sullivan shut down Southern Illinois to complete the sweep.

What to take from the weekend…This was a nice weekend sweep.  I think that’s the same thing we said last week, but it’s not getting old, and if we can say it again next week, we will.  Southern Illinois isn’t a great team, but I don’t think they are a terrible team either.  South Carolina is simply more talented and deeper.  For the most part the Gamecocks played their game, and the results were predictable.  There are still some concerns from the bullpen, but there is also plenty to be excited about.  Price is doing what Price does; John Taylor is playing very well, and Forrest Koumas looks to make significant contributions out of the bullpen as a freshman.  The starting pitchers had another great weekend, and if that continues the Gamecocks can have another great year.

Stars of the Series…Tyler Webb…W, 7.1 IP, 4 h, 0 runs, 7 K, 1 BB…John Taylor…3 app, 4 IP, 8 K, 1 h, 0 runs…Matt Price…Save, 0 hits, K, 4 pitches…Michael Roth…W, 6.2 IP, 9 K, 2 BB…Peter Mooney…6-11, 3 2Bs, 3B, 2 RBI…Christian Walker…6-11, 3 2Bs, 2 RBI…Adrian Morales…4-10, 2 2B, HR, 6 RBI…

This and that…The Gamecocks move to 6-0 on the year…They have won 12 in a row dating back to last season…The winning streak is the longest in the country…Dating back to last season Christian Walker now has an 11 game hitting streak…Walker and Adam Matthews are the only Gamecocks to have a hit in every game this season…

Up next…The Gamecocks play Furman on Tuesday night before their weekend series with Clemson.  Friday’s game is in Columbia, Saturday’s in Greenville, and Sunday’s in Clemson.

Check back with for previews of the upcoming games.