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South Carolina baseball reaches 5-0 mark with win over Queens, another run-rule victory

South Carolina has induced the mercy-rule three times in five games. That trend continued Wednesday night with a 13-3 trouncing of Queens College in eight innings at Founders Park.

That success has allowed coach Mark Kingston to get a look at a lot of different players, especially in the pitching department.

The second midweek game of the year for the No. 21 Gamecocks (5-0) marked the season debut of junior left-handed pitcher Matthew Becker. The Chapin native was expected to be a weekend starter but missed the opening series after suffering a lat injury in the preseason.

Becker was coming off a sophomore campaign that saw him make 11 starts with a 4.83 ERA and 71 strikeouts.

Kingston made it known that Becker would be on a shortened pitch count, and that held true when Becker threw 45 pitches, 28 for strikes. It wasn’t the sharpest start for Becker, but it was good for Kingston and the staff to see him back so quickly.

Becker recorded two quick outs in the first inning, then allowed a double and hit the next batter. He fell behind Zach Weston 2-0 before pitching coach Matt Williams made a visit to the mound. Becker threw three straight strikes to get out of the frame unscathed.

He allowed a single and a walk to begin the second inning, then struck out the side to finish with five strikeouts in his two innings of work.

The Gamecocks then turned it over to the bullpen. Freshman Tyler Pitzer, sophomore Connor McCreery, freshman Parker Marlatt, sophomore Sam Simpson, senior Chris Veach and senior Drake Quinn each pitched an inning. They combined for 12 strikeouts and allowed six hits that included three solo home runs. As a staff, South Carolina recorded 17 strikeouts with two walks.

Offensively, the Gamecocks got some big contributions from their stars.

Cole Messina opened the scoring with a three-run home run in the first inning. Ethan Petry, who had two hits on the season coming into this game, went 2-for-2 with a solo home run, his third of the season. Ryan Bakes made his first start at catcher, and he recorded two hits with two RBIs.

South Carolina batters walked 15 times and have 59 free passes on the season. The Gamecocks did strand 15 base runners. The final three runs in the eighth inning came with two walks and Will Tippett being hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.

South Carolina baseball schedule this week

  • Friday vs. Belmont, 4 p.m. (SEC Network Plus)

  • Saturday vs. Belmont, 2 p.m. (SEC Network Plus)

  • Sunday vs. Belmont, 1:30 p.m. (SEC Network Plus)