College Baseball

No. 18 South Carolina sweeps doubleheader with Kentucky

info@islandpacket.comApril 21, 2013 

COLUMBIA -- South Carolina's doubleheader sweep of Kentucky on Saturday happened in large part because of the pair of senior left-handers who recorded the wins in the two games at Carolina Stadium.

Nolan Belcher got the job done as the starter in a 5-2 victory in the first game, and closer Tyler Webb finished things off in the 7-6 win in the 11-inning second game.

For good measure, designated hitter Brison Celek delivered the RBI singles that put the Gamecocks on top for good in both games, a seventh-inning knock in Game 1 and a walk-off hit in Game 2.

After being swept last weekend at Florida, No. 18 USC (30-10, 10-7 SEC) could not afford a misstep against No. 17 Kentucky (24-14, 7-10 SEC).

"It was 20 innings of very important baseball for us," USC coach Chad Holbrook said. "You hate to put more on a day and a game than it actually is. In essence it was just two games, but our players understood the importance of the series this weekend."

Belcher (6-3) allowed two runs on six hits and no walks while striking out six in his 7 2-3 innings. With an ERA of 1.70, he has walked five batters in 74 innings over his 10 starts while emerging as the staff ace.

"That kid is what South Carolina baseball is all about," Holbrook said.

Webb (2-1), who missed last weekend with a sore elbow and looked doubtful at one point for this series, threw three scoreless innings, allowing one hit while striking out four in a gutsy performance. Holbrook thought Webb, who has a 0.67 ERA and 11 saves on the season, looked as fresh as he has been all season.

"He was incredible. Tyler's been an All-American this year. He's been our guy," Holbrook said.

The Gamecocks overcame a 2-0 deficit in the sixth inning of the first game and a 6-5 deficit in the eighth inning of the second game.

"We just had to battle and keep grinding," Belcher said. "We've got to find some way to get the win, especially at home. We know what games are ahead of us. There are some tough teams, so each game is important. We've got to win all of them we can."

The rally ended Kentucky's 64-game streak dating to 2011 of not losing when having a lead after seven innings.

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