Crowe pitches 6.1 no-hit innings in first career start
While the rest of Columbia was thawing out after an uncharacteristically icy week, the South Carolina baseball team was coming out of the gates hot with a three-game sweep of Bucknell to open the season.
The Gamecocks capped off the series Sunday with a convincing 12-0 win behind a dominant first career outing from freshman Wil Crowe. The righty turned in six-and-a-third no-hit innings and amassed five strikeouts and just one walk in the victory.
Despite not allowing a hit during his time on the mound, Crowe said he didn’t lobby to stay out and finish his no-hit bid, and he was content to give the performance he did in his first outing.
“It just felt good to get out there and throw the first time,” Crowe said. “I just wanted to do my best and help the team win.”
A highly-touted recruit coming out of high school, coach Chad Holbrook knew Crowe had the ability to contribute early and often for South Carolina. But the coach wasn’t sure if it would be as a starter or out of the bullpen.
Holbrook shouldn’t expect to take any flack for his decision to start Crowe after the performance he turned in Sunday, and the coach said he was pleasantly surprised by the freshman’s first go-around.
“He has a presence about him that exudes confidence,” Holbrook said. “He had it when we saw him pitch in high school, and he’s had it ever since he stepped on campus. The kid believes in himself.”
In his limited time with the team, Crowe has earned a reputation for his grittiness. After Sunday’s game both Holbrook and teammate Max Schrock called the freshman a “bulldog” because of the fight he brings to each outing.
On the offensive side Sunday, the Gamecocks were powered by a career day from junior Kyle Martin. The first baseman registered a career-high four hits on the day, going 4-4 at the plate.
Three Gamecocks contributed with home runs in the series finale, with sophomore Max Schrock and juniors Joey Pankake and Grayson Greiner all going yard in the game.
With so much early offensive production in the first three games of the season, Martin attributes the success to a team-wide chemistry.
“I feel like our team altogether is more in sync,” Martin said. “And our hitters are the same way. I feel like one through nine can hit any pitch, any time.”
The Gamecocks collected their first two wins of the year in a doubleheader Saturday after Friday’s scheduled opener was postponed due to the unfavorable weather, and the team claimed both games just as emphatically as Sunday’s contest.
In game-one, junior Jordan Montgomery earned the win after going five innings and allowing three hits. As the ace of the South Carolina staff, the lefty will look to improve on a sophomore season in which he went 6-1.
Sophomore DC Arendas provided the most firepower at the plate in the Gamecocks’ 17-4 season-opening win, going 3-4 in the game and hitting his first career home run.
Sophomore Jack Wynkoop got the start in the second game of the double. He also went five innings and allowed two runs while striking out a career-high six batters to earn a win in the 12-2 triumph
All three games in the opening weekend were effectively over before they started, with South Carolina winning by a combined score of 41-6, and while Holbrook knows the competition will only get stiffer, he admitted that his team even took him by surprise.
“I shouldn’t say I had a feeling we were going to score 41 runs. With these bats and the way college baseball’s changed, I didn’t expect that,” Holbrook said. “But I did think that we had a chance to have some pretty good offensive players in the lineup … I do feel good about our offensive team.”