March 25, 2016
OXFORD, Miss. — Freshman right-hander Braden Webb struck out 14 batters in eight-plus innings and was backed by an offense that belted out 14 hits as 10th ranked South Carolina defeated sixth ranked Ole Miss 9-5 on Friday night to clinch a three-game SEC series. South Carolina is 22-2 and 5-0 in the SEC with the Rebels dropping to 20-4 and 2-3 in league play.
After allowing three consecutive base runners to reach with one out in the first inning, Webb retired 17 in a row and 23 of 25 at one stretch to help lead the Gamecocks to victory. With the win he is now 5-1 on the year. Webb’s 14 strikeouts were the most by a Gamecock since Billy Buckner struck out 16 on March 6, 2004 vs. Clemson. Ole Miss starter Chad Smith suffered the loss and is now 2-2 for the season. He allowed five runs on eight hits in 4.2 innings with two walks and six strikeouts.
Ole Miss struck for two runs in the bottom of the first inning. Henri Lartigue and J.B. Woodman each drew one-out walks to set the stage for Colby Bortles, who doubled just out of the reach of Gamecock center fielder Dom Thompson-Williams to score both runners.
Carolina answered with a run in the top of the second inning. Thompson-Williams singled with one out, stole second base and scored on Chris Cullen’s two-out RBI single. Cullen knocked a 1-2 pitch from Smith into left field to cut the deficit to 2-1.
The Gamecocks scored a pair of runs in the third to take a 3-2 lead. Marcus Mooney led off with a single and Gene Cone walked to open the frame. LT Tolbert would drive in Mooney with a base hit to right field. With two outs, Dom Thompson-Williams would reach base on an infield single to score Cone and give the Gamecocks a one-run lead.
Carolina knocked Smith from the game in the fifth inning with two more runs. John Jones led off with a walk and Alex Destino singled to open the frame. After a wild pitch, Jonah Bride would knock in Jones with a one-out RBI groundout and Cullen drove in Destino with a two-out RBI double giving the Gamecocks a 5-2 lead.
Carolina added a run in the eighth on a RBI fielder’s choice by Tolbert to score DC Arendas. The Gamecocks broke it open with three more runs in the ninth inning on four hits. A double steal, a RBI base hit from Mooney and a RBI double off the bat of Cone gave Carolina a seven-run advantage. Ole Miss would tack on three runs in the bottom of the ninth, but left-hander Josh Reagan came on and got the final two outs of the game to preserve the victory.
Webb’s 17 consecutive batters retired limited the Rebels as the Gamecocks worked their way back from an early two-run deficit.
In addition to Webb’s 14 strikeouts, for the second consecutive day, all nine Gamecock position starters had at least one hit. Cullen went 3-for-5 with two RBI. Thompson-Williams was 2-for-5 as was Cone. Mooney went 2-for-4 and Tolbert drove in two runs.
– Alex Destino extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a base hit in the fifth inning.
– South Carolina out-hit Ole Miss 14-7 and is now 18-0 on the year when out-hitting its opponent. The Gamecocks are 21-0 when leading after six innings of play as well
– South Carolina has reached double digits in hits in four of the first five SEC games this season.
Head Coach Chad Holbrook
“Braden was very effective obviously. Throwing 93-94 mph with a changeup like that, and getting his curveball over, he was tough to hit tonight. He had it all going. I think Braden’s command will continue to get better. He had a lot of confidence in his changeup and he was throwing some offspeed pitches tonight behind in the count, which he hadn’t done up to this point.”
Freshman right-hander Braden Webb
“All glory to God in this situation. I couldn’t have been more blessed after that rocky first inning. Coming out in second inning and putting goose eggs on the board, there is not a better feeling than that. Just knowing your team is going to battle all game, putting up 14 hits and 9 runs on the board against an SEC school, clinching a series, it is a humbling feeling.”
“I was a little amped up in the first inning. I was just ready to show everybody in an away series I can be better than I was.”
The series with Ole Miss concludes on Saturday afternoon with first pitch at 3 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on the SEC Network and can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”