South Carolina senior pitcher Colby Holmes has been a fixture in the Gamecocks’ weekend rotation since his sophomore season, but did not throw a single pitch this past weekend against Arkansas. The Conway native has had issues with his control and found himself starting in a mid-week game for the first time since 2011 on Tuesday night against College of Charleston.
By The Numbers
1,526 – official attendance4-31 -- CofC record against South Carolina since ‘918 – number of strikeouts for USC pitcher Colby Holmes8 – number of runners USC left on base4 – numbers of doubles by USC0 – errors committed by teams combined
Holmes made an awfully compelling case to return to the weekend rotation.
Holmes threw 71/3 strong innings and LB Dantzler and Joey Pankake each had two hits to lead 17th-ranked South Carolina (19-6) past the College of Charleston, 3-1, before a sellout crowd of 1,526 at Patriots Point.
Not an overpowering pitcher, Holmes relies on pinpoint accuracy to be effective. Holmes (2-2) had command of all four pitches Tuesday night against the Cougars (13-11).
“I think this start definitely boosted my confidence,” said Holmes. “I started off slowly this season, and being successful tonight helped me gain a lot of confidence back. Knowing that I had all my pitches working and knowing I could throw them all for strikes was a great feeling.”
After getting swept by Arkansas this weekend, USC coach Chad Holbrook was pleased to see Holmes finally throw well.
“Colby was terrific tonight,” Holbrook said. “It’s really big for us, for Colby’s confidence and for us going forward. We’re halfway through the season, and to have Colby Holmes throwing like he’s capable makes us a much better team. Colby threw the ball downhill, threw it at the knees. He was consistent with his command. If he’s missing down, he’s successful. If he’s missing up, then we get him out of the game. He was the Colby Holmes we’ve come to know and love around here, and hopefully he can build on that for us his next start.”
The Gamecocks have struggled at the plate for most of the season, but got two runs in the first inning, the first coming off an RBI double to right by Pankake. Of the eight hits the Gamecocks recorded against five Charleston pitchers, four were doubles.
“We needed to bounce back after this past weekend and gets some runs early for Colby,” said Dantzler. “The scoreboard doesn’t really indicate how well we swung the bats, in my opinion. I thought we hit the ball pretty well. I thought we could have easily put up seven or eight runs today.”
It was a frustrating night at the plate for the Cougars, who managed just four hits and struck out 11 times.
“They threw the ball really well,” said Charleston coach Monte Lee. “We only got the leadoff guy on three times. I thought we were a little too passive at the plate. We took a lot of fastballs that I felt like we should have swung at. We got behind in the count and they did a good job of expanding the strike zone when they got ahead of us.”
The Cougars got their only run in the fourth inning when Morgan Phillip walked and later scored on Tyler Jackson’s double to left center.
The Gamecocks pushed their advantage to 3-1 in the sixth when Max Schrock scored on a fielder’s choice after getting hit with a pitch to lead off the inning.