Notes from the Yardcocks' sweep of VMI

Going forward, I expect these pieces to take a shape that reflects some sense of organization. But, for now, you're just getting some relatively stream-of-consciousness observations.

There was a lot of baseball jam-packed into a 24 hour period this weekend, with the Saturday game being moved up to noon and Sunday's game being moved to Saturday. The Gamecocks outscored the Keydets* 18-4 on the weekend, which looks good in the big picture, but Saturday's blowout 13-1 romp skews the numbers a bit and might cause you to overlook the fact that the margin of victory in the first two games was just one run apiece.

On Friday, Michael Roth did Michael Roth things (6 IP, 6 K, 0 BB, 4 H, 1 R). On Saturday, Matt Price looked even better than Roth until the 6th inning (in fact, he left the game without giving up a hit), when he abruptly lost command of his pitches, resulting in a bizzarre inning that featured zero outs recorded for Price, two runs allowed, three walks and one hit batsman. Price would have been charged with a third run but for a frozen rope of a throw from Tanner English in left field that hit Dante Rosenberg right on the money (without bouncing) and allowed Rosenberg to tag out the Keydet runner moving from second to home on a single.

Ethan Carter was brilliant in 4 innings of relief (6 K, 0 BB, 2 H, 0 R) and picked up the win in a 3-2 victory after Rosenberg drove in the gamewinning run on an RBI double in the bottom of the sixth. Having Carter available to go multiple innings could be huge for Ray Tanner, especially early on as Price continues to be stretched out. Price only threw 89 pitches on Saturday, but he threw his last good pitch when his pitch count was still somewhere in the low 70s.

Colby Holmes had a strong outing on Sunday (though a strong outing would was not required in the 13-1 win), striking out six, allowing one hit, and walking none over the course of five shutout innings. A three-run homer from L.B. Dantzler in the 4th inning put the cap on a seven run rally that put the game out of reach early and allowed Tanner to get a look at a lot of different players vying for roles going forward.

I expected Tanner to give plug and play a bit with the second base spot, but I certainly did not anticipate seeing a different starter trotted out for each game. Chase Vergason started Friday and did not have a very good weekend. TJ Costen started the first Saturday game and had a solid weekend that included a homerun and a walk in five plate appearances. Connor Bright looks like he could have a lot of swing-and-miss in his game at the plate, but showcased his versatility in the field by acquitting himself well at both second base and shortstop.

L.B. Dantzler made progress toward establishing that his impressive display of batting prowess in the preseason was not a fluke. Dantzler's .727 slugging percentage leads all Gamecocks with 9 or more plate appearances, as the junior third baseman hit a double, a homerun, and drove in five runners on the weekend.

Check back later this week when either The Feathered Warrior or I will be previewing this weekend's series against Elon. (Don't sleep on Elon.)

*Yes, they're the Keydets. No, Keydets is not a real word. Also, their mascot is a kangaroo. So yeah.

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