A lot went right for South Carolina's revenue athletic programs this weekend. On Saturday, the men's basketball team put together its first SEC win streak in three years. On Sunday, the women's hoops team soundly defeated a quality opponent on the road. On Saturday and Sunday, the baseball team took no prisoners on the diamond, dismantling Bucknell thrice in roughly 28 hours.
The most lopsided of the three victories was the first half of Saturday's doubleheader. Junior southpaw Jordan Montgomery looked as good as advertised (5 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 1 BB, 4 K). Offensively, the Cocks scored 17 runs on just 10 hits, thanks to 13 walks by the Bucknell pitching staff. Four Gamecocks had multiple hits, with sophomore designated hitter DC Arendas leading the way (3 H, 3 RBI, HR) out of the seven spot. Carolina led 17-0 entering the 8th inning, but a poor relief outing by Matthew Vogel (1.2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, 2 BB) squandered the shutout.
Game 2 starter sophomore Jack Wynkoop wasn't as flawless as Montgomery, but still posted a strong line (5 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 6 K). Curt Britt, Vince Fiori, and Reed Scott (in his first appearance) allowed no runs, two hits and seven strikeouts in four innings of relief. Offensively, Tanner English was stellar out of the nine hole, going 3-5 with 5 RBI, a triple, and a HBP. The Cocks plated six runs in the final two frames.
While it wasn't the widest margin of victory, game 3 was the team's most dominant performance. Freshman Will Crowe, highly touted recruit from Tennessee, validated Chad Holbrook's decision to give him the Sunday start by taking a no hitter into the 7th inning (it was broken up two batters after Crowe came out.) Crowe's final line was 6.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 5 K. Joel Seddon, who was recently tabbed as South Carolina's closer, made his first appearance, throwing a perfect inning with two strikeouts. Kyle Martin was the offensive hero on Sunday (and, really, for the entire weekend). His game 3 line: 4-4, RBI, 2 R. Martin went 7-9 on the weekend, and he posted a .769 OBP and a .889 slugging percentage. Familiar faces Grayson Greiner, Joey Pankake, and Max Schrock all had Sunday homeruns.
It was about as good an opening weekend as a team with championship aspirations could hope for. Granted, Bucknell is hardly a powerhouse baseball program (College Baseball Daily predicts they'll finish in the bottom half of the Patriot league) but in a sport that puts a premium on winning series, three consecutive 10 run wins is nothing to sneeze at. Starting pitching, relief pitching, offense, and defense (just one error on the weekend) all clicked for the Gamecocks this weekend, and based on the small sample we have, it's easy to see why South Carolina is the coaches' pick to win the SEC.
On Tuesday, South Carolina hosts Presbyterian, who swept an abbreviated series against Savannah State last weekend. Next weekend's home series is against Eastern Kentucky, who dropped two of its three opening series games to Alabama State.