The Daily Gamecock

Baseball shuts out Coastal Carolina

Beal makes first start of season

Sophomore Evan Beal took the mound for the first time this season in Wednesday night’s 4-0 win over Coastal Carolina. For Beal, it was the final step in a long road to recovery after sitting out parts of preseason practice and the regular season due to a lingering back problem.

“I feel like it’s been an eternity,” Beal said. “Win, lose or draw, I was just kind of happy to be out there. … You don’t really feel like you’re on the team when you’re not getting in there.”

The right-hander was pulled after four innings of work, allowing no hits. He walked one batter in the second inning. Head coach Chad Holbrook said that Beal’s 48 pitches were a little more than he was planning on letting him pitch.

With a non-conference opponent coming to town for the second straight day, Holbrook was able to rest second baseman Max Schrock and catcher Grayson Greiner, who are currently nursing injuries.

“There’s a number of reasons tonight was a big win for us,” Holbrook said. “Obviously, the most important thing was getting the win, but we didn’t use (junior pitcher Cody) Mincey, we didn’t use (junior pitcher Joel) Seddon, and you know we didn’t have Greiner or Schrock available. So, to continue to get those guys rest, and I think it’s important for us to rest Mincey and Seddon as well.”

The offense didn’t miss a beat, as they were able to pull down four runs on eight hits without their All-American catcher, Greiner, and team leader in home runs, Schrock.

The Gamecocks got on the board in the second inning, tagging Chanticleers starter Dalton Moats for two runs off a Marcus Mooney double. That turned out to be all South Carolina needed, as the pitching staff shut down the opposing offense, as has been the case all year.

Sophomore Curt Britt pitched three innings in relief of Beal, allowing only one hit and striking out four in the process. Sophomore Vince Fiori pitched a perfect eighth, giving way to freshman Reed Scott in the ninth, who made his fifth appearance of the season in the win.

South Carolina added to its total in the third inning after a Brison Celek grounder vaulted off third base and into left field, allowing junior Connor Bright to score from second. A cue shot off the end of sophomore DC Arendas’ bat pushed across what would turn out to be the final run for the Gamecocks, scoring Bright from third.

After Wednesday’s game, the Gamecocks’ team earned run average now sits at 1.80, which just edges out LSU’s 1.85 mark for best team ERA in the SEC.

Junior Joey Pankake extended his hitting streak to 12 games in the bottom of the first inning. He is one shy of Bright’s mark of 13, which was snapped earlier this season.

Holbrook mentioned after the game that Greiner “might” play Friday against Tennessee if the circumstances required him to, but he noted that he did not want to risk further injury. Greiner’s status for Friday is still up in the air.

“Hopefully, we can get healthy Friday and be ready, because we’re going to need to be,” Holbrook said. “We’re going to have to do more offensively. We’re going to have to play better to be able to win the series this weekend against Tennessee.”