Drama-less game-three win completes sweep

Posted Feb 26, 2012

The Gamecocks (6-0) scored five runs in the first and second innings and used aggressive pitching Sunday to cruise to a 6-0 victory and sweep of the Elon Phoenix at Carolina Stadium.

This time, there was no late-inning drama. South Carolina made sure of that early on.

The Gamecocks (6-0) scored five runs in the first and second innings and used aggressive pitching Sunday to cruise to a 6-0 victory and sweep of the Elon Phoenix at Carolina Stadium.

South Carolina's 16th straight win, dating back to the SEC Tournament last May, offers an extra boost of momentum heading into its first mid-week game of the season before the highly-anticipated series with Clemson.

Colby Holmes picked up the win, giving 5.2 of scoreless innings on three hits, three walks and six strikeouts on the mound. Vince Flori, Ethan Carter, and Evan Beal polished the victory, sitting down the final 10 batters without a hit.

"We got out of the blocks good today and did what we needed to do on the mound," said USC head coach Ray Tanner. "Once again, our starting pitcher gave us a chance to win."

The Gamecocks pitching staff held Elon to seven hits all weekend, despite sweating out a late ninth inning rally by the Phoenix on Saturday.

Tanner said his pre-game message today was fighting through adversity and finding ways to win as things continue to sort themselves out.

No USC player had more than one hit but it was LB Dantzler's 3-run blast in the first inning that overwhelmed the Phoenix early.

Dantzler's shot into the Elon bullpen was cued by Tanner English's 1-out walk and Christian Walker's liner to right. Dantzler has nine RBIs and two home runs on the season.

"I'm feeling really comfortable up there," said Dantzler. "Didn't get all the hits this weekend but we are 6-0 and I feel right at home."

Dantzler credited South Carolina's merciless pitching to getting the second consecutive sweep this season.

"It's unbelievable," Dantzler said, "I've never been a part of a pitching staff that is quite like this."

The Gamecocks kept attacking at the plate in the second inning. Joey Pankake smacked a first pitch single to right and Connor Bright drew a 1-out walk.

English, who tracked down a sharp hit down the right field line on the first play of the game, was even more effective at bat. English scored two runs on a 2-out sliding triple to left that brought the crowd of 7,304 fans to its feet.

Ahead 5-0, South Carolina got a pair of runners aboard without the ball leaving the infield on TJ Costen's hit to shortstop and Bright reaching on a third base error. Lead-off hitter Evan Marzilli snapped out a funk, scoring Costen from second on a single.

Bright got the start at second base over Chase Vergason, despite an infield error Saturday that helped fuel Elon's rally attempt.

"I was just going to go out there and flush it out today," Bright said. "I forgot about it and I'm glad coach has confidence in me to put me in."

South Carolina will host Presbyterian at 4 p.m. Tuesday. The Gamecocks travel to Joe Riley Park in Charleston on Friday for the opening game of their 3-game series with arch-rival Clemson.

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