No. 5 South Carolina No-Hits UAlbany In Series Sweep
Photo: D.J. Hoagboon went 2-for-4 in Sunday's nightcap.
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The hosting South Carolina Gamecocks exhibited evidence of their No. 5 national rank Sunday, as they overcame the University at Albany baseball team, 14-1 and 6-4, including a combined no-hitter in game one of the doubleheader. South Carolina improved to a 5-1 record on the season, while the Great Danes fell to 0-5.
While Colby Holmes, Forrest Koumas and Josh Knab combined for the first no-hitter by a Gamecock baseball squad since 1975, UAlbany captured its first lead of the season in the contest. The Great Danes broke a scoreless stalemate in the top of the fourth when senior Nolan Gaige led off with a walk, advanced to third on a two-base throwing error, and tagged home on Josh Nethaway’s sacrifice fly to right field.
However, the rest of the game’s offense belonged to South Carolina, as they exploded for 14 unanswered runs. The Gamecocks rallied for nine runs in the bottom of the fifth sparked by Chase Vergason’s leadoff home run, tying it up. Seven more hits and eight more runs followed in the frame, aided partly by three UAlbany errors.
Leading 9-1, South Carolina expanded the margin, adding two runs in the sixth and three more in the seventh on LB Dantzler’s three-run blast over the right field wall. The Gamecocks recorded 15 hits in the clash.
Earning the win, Holmes (1-0) tossed the first six innings of the no-hitter, allowing the lone run, a walk, while striking out three. Koumas threw the next three frames, walking three and striking out one, and Knab hurled a perfect ninth for the Gamecocks to clinch the program’s seventh no-hitter in school history and first-ever combined one.
For the Great Danes, Derek Zielinski (0-2) took the loss, throwing four innings, allowing five runs, four hits, four walks, while striking out three. Out of the bullpen, Kevin Archbold, Brendan Ryan, Joey Moore, and Brian Gauthier shared the remainder of the contest.
In game two of the twin bill, South Carolina’s offense picked up where it left off, as the Gamecocks scored the first six runs of the nightcap. The hosts plated three unearned runs in the first on two hits and two fielding errors, and followed with one run in the second when Tanner English doubled and Max Schrock lined an RBI triple to left-centerfield. South Carolina tacked on two more runs in the third, sparked by Dantzler’s leadoff double, and capped by Greiner’s RBI single up the middle and Costen’s sacrifice fly.
Getting the bats going, UAlbany made it 6-2 in the top of the fourth, as Nethaway, Greg Muller, and D.J. Hoagboon lined back-to-back-to-back singles to start off the frame. With two outs, Evan Harasta capped the rally with an RBI single to right field.
From there, a pitching duel ensued until the Great Danes threatened in the top of the ninth, scoring two runs off the Gamecock bullpen. With one out, Adam Mund singled to right field and Jeff Welsh doubled to left, putting runners on the corners. After a call to the bullpen, Tyler Webb replacing Patrick Sullivan, Harasta brought home Mund with a sac fly and Gaige singled to center, plating Welsh. However, closer Webb recorded a final strikeout to earn the save.
South Carolina starter Nolan Belcher (1-1) earned the win, throwing six frames, allowing two runs, eight hits, while striking out seven.
UAlbany’s Austin Chase (0-2) took the loss, tossing four innings, allowing six runs (three earned), seven hits, two walks, and recorded four strikeouts. Stephen Carey threw three and a third scoreless frames in relief, allowing three hits, while striking out five. Ryan Stinar also came out of the pen for the final two-thirds of the eighth, striking out one.
Offensively, the Great Danes out-hit the Gamecocks, 11-10, led by Mund’s 3-for-4 effort. Hoagboon (2-for-4) and Gaige (2-for-5) also recorded multi-hit games, while Harasta led the squad with two RBIs.
Up next, UAlbany travels to Greensboro, N.C. to face UNCG March 1-3 for a three-game series. Game one’s first pitch is slated 4:00 p.m. Friday.