Gamecocks' pitching keys 1st 10-0 start since 2005

Published on NewsOK Modified: March 3, 2014 at 4:24 pm •  Published: March 3, 2014
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South Carolina coach Chad Holbrook is taking his team's first 10-0 start since 2005 in stride.

"It's good to be sitting where we are," Holbrook said Monday, noting that it's still early. "With conference play and a lot of difficult opponents our schedule, we have a cauldron coming up."

The Gamecocks were impressive in their first major test, winning three straight over in-state rival Clemson this past weekend. The sweep came after a program-record five straight shutouts and carried them to the No. 1 ranking in this week's Collegiate Baseball newspaper poll.

Starters Jordan Montgomery, Jack Wynkoop and Wil Crowe have combined to allow 12 earned runs in 55 innings, and the staff has a 1.60 ERA and 95 strikeouts in 90 innings.

Cody Mincey and Joel Seddon have been dominant. Mincey (2-0), a junior-college transfer, has struck out 16 in nine innings. Seddon, the closer, hasn't allowed a hit or run in six relief appearances spanning 7 2-3 innings.

"I knew they had a chance to be good, but they hadn't done it at this level," Holbrook said. "You always wonder how they'll react. Through 10 games they've pitched exceptionally well, a little bit better than I would have thought."

First baseman Kyle Martin is batting .472 with six multi-hit games, and right fielder Connor Bright (.462) has hit safely in 11 straight games since last season. Catcher Grayson Greiner has hit three home runs, including a grand slam Friday, and the Gamecocks average better than 8 runs a game.

South Carolina lost a three-game super regional to North Carolina, denying the Gamecocks a return to the College World Series to play for a third straight national championship. Holbrook, in his second season after replacing Ray Tanner, has an experienced team that's picked to win the Southeastern Conference.

"We've got a number of guys who have played in the College World Series and in some awfully big games," he said. "There are times I can put a team on the field with no freshmen and not even a sophomore. That historically bodes well. On top of that, they're pretty good, so you have a chance to have a special year."

Here's a look around college baseball:

WETZLER RETURNS: Oregon State left-hander Ben Wetzler was sharp in his season debut Sunday, allowing four hits and one run over 7 2-3 innings in a win over Wright State. Wetzler was suspended the first 11 games by the NCAA for having a representative allegedly violate a rule governing contact between advisers and pro sports teams. Wetzler was drafted in the fifth round by the Phillies last year.

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