South Carolina Baseball: Gamecocks cap opening series 3-game sweep with no-hitter

South Carolina baseball started the 2024 season the same way they started 2023. The Gamecocks opened with an impressive sweep to begin the year 3-0, capped off with a combined no-hitter.
South Carolina baseball reliever Chris Veach
South Carolina baseball reliever Chris Veach / Cyndi Chambers / USA TODAY NETWORK

South Carolina baseball fans were eager to get back out to Founders Park after a long offseason. The 2024 Gamecocks begin the season with high expectations, especially on the offensive side of the game.

The opening series of the season saw the Miami (OH) Redhawks migrate south for a 3-game set in Columbia. Mark Kingston's team, made up of a combination of big-time returners and high-upside new faces from the transfer portal and the high school ranks.

When game 1 began against Miami (OH), it was Eli Jones who earned the opening day start. The junior gave up just three hits over six innings of dominant ball, surrendering just one run while walking 0 Redhawks.

The offense wasn't great on Friday, but the 2nd inning was very friendly to the home team as they scored all 5 of their runs in the bottom of inning #2. A Cole Messina double was the only extra-base hit for either team on the day, but a solid bullpen effort (led by 2 innings of shutout work from Chris Veach) kept the Redhawks down even without additional run support.

The first game of the year was a 5-1 victory.

Game 2 saw Dylan Eskew on the hill, and like Jones, he also only gave up one run (unearned). He surrendered just 5 base runners (1 hit, 4 walks) over 5 innings and struck out 6. He wasn't quite as sharp overall as Jones, but Eskew was very good.

The offense had a bit more life on Saturday, smacking three extra-base hits (including 2 home runs from Ethan Petry). Carolina led 10-1 before freshmen Jevarra Martin and Joey Wittig struggled a bit in their South Carolina baseball debuts. Even so, the Gamecocks took game 2 by a score of 11-4.

During a cold game 3 on Sunday afternoon, Carolina left no doubt whether they would be able to pull off the weekend sweep. 7 runs in the 1st inning came primarily from walks and base hits, and the YardCocks never looked back. For the game, USC walked 16 times, had 8 hits, and scored 14 runs.

Roman Kimball made his return from Tommy John surgery and delivered 5 strikeouts over 2 innings to start game 3. Ty Good followed him, pitching 2 impressive innings, himself. Tyler Pitzer, Parker Marlatt, and Tyler Dean finished the 7-inning combined no-hitter as the Gamecocks won 14-0 thanks to the 10-run rule. It was the first no-hitter of any kind in garnet and black since 2013.

During the 3-game domination, the Gamecocks started the same 9 players (8 position players and the DH) in each game, though the batting order shifted a bit. Blake Jackson (LF), Parker Noland (2B), Ethan Petry (RF), Cole Messina (C), Talmadge LeCroy (3B), Tyler Causey (DH), Dylan Brewer (CF), Gavin Casas (1B), and Will Tippett (SS) started all three games.

Jackson (CF), Petry (1B), and Brewer (RF) all saw action at other positions, as well. Kennedy Jones (LF), Lee Ellis (2B/SS), Evan Stone (CF), Austin Brinling (PR), Carson Hornung (DH), Dalton Reeves (C), Ryan Bakes (LF/C), Tyler Zedalis (1B), and David Cromer (RF) all played off the bench.

On the mound after Jones, Eskew, and Kimball, plenty of pitchers saw action in relief. Eddie Copper, Chris Veach, Austin Williamson, Garrett Gainey, Connor McCreery, Drake Quinn, Jevarra Martin, Joey Wittig, Ty Good, Tyler Pitzer, Parker Marlatt, and Tyler Dean got some time on the bump.

For the weekend, some of South Carolina baseball's top performers were their starting pitchers (Eli Jones, Dylan Eskew, and Roman Kimball combined to go 2-0 with 12 innings pitched, 4 hits, 2 runs, 1 earned run), Ethan Petry (2 home runs), Blake Jackson (reached base 7 times, 5 RBI), Talmadge LeCroy (reached base 8 times, scored in all 3 games), Parker Noland (reached base 7 times), and Will Tippett (reached base 7 times.

The Gamecocks will be back in action on Tuesday against Winthrop at Founders Park.




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