If you are a fan of South Carolina pitchers allowing runs, but stopped watching in the third inning of their second game against Bucknell, you haven't missed anything. Such is my roundabout way of telling you the Gamecock pitching staff has tossed 51 consecutive scoreless innings since Jack Wynkoop gave up a run scoring double to Bucknell's Jon Mayer* in the third inning of Carolina's second game of the season. In fact, Carolina's only allowed runs in 3 of its 63 innings this season. Wynkoop is the only of the three starters to allow a run.
Eastern Kentucky University was on the business end of these most recent shutouts. Starting pitchers Jordan Montgomery, Jack Wynkoop, and Will Crowe dominated, combining to go 20.2 innings and allowing just 12 hits in 72 ABs (.166 BAA). They also combined for 19 strikeouts against only 4 walks. On Saturday, Wynkoop dazzled, striking out a career-high 10 batters.
South Carolina's bullpen also performed admirably, especially in games 1 and 2 in which they combined for 5 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, and 3 K. Relief was less than perfect on Sunday, requiring Chad Holbrook to make five pitching in less than four innings. Freshman Josh Reagan allowed hits to two of the four batters he faced, but junior transfer Cody Mincey pitched out of the jam in the sixth, striking out both batters faced. Mincey appeared in all three games and sported a combined line of 2 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, and 3 K. In 4.1 innings this season, Mincey's allowed just one hit.
The scoreless streak nearly ended at the 11th hour when South Carolina found itself in a bases loaded, no outs jam in the 9th inning of game three when sophomore Vincent Fiori allowed the first three batters he faced to reach base. After notching a strikeout, closer Joel Seddon entered and managed consecutive outs (K, FC) to preserve the shutout. Of course, it shouldn't come as a surprise that a bases loaded, no outs crisis was averted, since South Carolina's historically been pretty good in those situations. Seddon, by the way, was as good as Mincey out of the bullpen, with a combined line of 2.2 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 5 Ks. We might have ourselves a closer, folks.
Offensively, Carolina wasn't quite as explosive as it was in the Bucknell series, but managed at least 7 hits in each game. Sophomore Connor Bright was 5-12 with 3 RBI on the weekend, and sophomore Max Schrock, junior Kyle Martin, and junior Greyson Greiner each homered in the series. Greiner's sixth-inning two run blast was the difference on Saturday.
The team gets four days off before taking on Clemson (6-1), fresh off a sweep of Maine. South Carolina has not lost the season series to Clemson since 2009, although in fairness, did lose the regular season series in 2010. But then this happened.