COLUMBIA — The South Carolina baseball team heads into its second three-game series of the season with a battery of dangerous pitchers.
South Carolina’s sophomore left-hander Jordan Montgomery is expected to get the start from the hill in Friday’s first of a three-game series vs. Albany (0-2). Montgomery was effective in his first start of the season on Opening Day, pitching six scoreless innings and allowing just five hits and two walks with five strikeouts in the 4-3 win.
He extended a scoreless inning streak of 14 straight innings without allowing a run dating back to last season. The win marked Montgomery’s third straight victory in a start for the Gamecocks dating back to last year.
South Carolina’s pitching staff gave a strong collective effort in the first weekend of the season with a team ERA of 2.88 in 25.0 innings of work. The Gamecocks struck out 26 batters and limited Liberty to a .206 batting average over the weekend.
Senior left-hander Tyler Webb was sterling in two relief stints. Webb picked up a save with 1.2 scoreless innings of work in the 4-3 Opening Day win. He did not allow a hit and struck out two batters to seal the victory.
Webb currently ranks eighth all-time in school history in appearances with 80 games pitched in a Gamecock uniform. The school record of 102 was set last year by Matt Price.
Senior left-hander Nolan Belcher was effective on the mound last weekend despite a loss in the doubleheader nightcap. Belcher worked 5.2 innings and allowed three runs on four hits with one walk and nine strikeouts. The nine strikeouts are the most for Belcher in a game since he struck out a career-high 11 on May, 15, 2009 in a win over Georgia as a freshman.
Senior left-hander Adam Westmoreland picked up the victory in the 8-7 win. He worked 2.1 innings allowing two runs, both unearned, on two hits with no walks and two strikeouts.
Colby Holmes, a senior righty, had the longest outing for a Gamecock last weekend with 6.1 innings of work. He allowed two runs on three hits with two walks and four strikeouts in the 8-7 win over Liberty.
This is South Carolina’s first meeting against Albany on the baseball diamond. The Great Danes dropped a pair of games last weekend to Canisius in the Ron Fraser Classic in Cary, N.C. Head coach Jon Mueller is in his 14th season at the helm of the program.
Albany went 22-32-1 last year with a 16-8 record in the America East Conference for the second best conference record in the league behind 2012 CWS participant Stony Brook.
The Great Danes returns eight position starters from last year’s squad. Among those returnees is junior left fielder D.J. Hoagbook, who led Albany in hitting last year with a .318 average (48-for-151). Senior right-hander Austin Chase went 4-2 with a 4.24 ERA in 74.1 innings. Senior right-hander Kasciem Graham is also back after logging 63.2 innings last season.
First pitch for the opener on Friday is set for 3 p.m. with Saturday and Sunday’s contests scheduled for 1:30 p.m.
Sports Editor, Tiffany Grady-Hudgins can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com or by cell at (864) 251-4330.