Conway’s Holmes, CF’s Knab split no-hitter for Gamecocks

Conway High graduate Colby Holmes and Carolina Forest product Josh Knab joined Forrest Koumas to combine for the first no-hitter by a Gamecock baseball team since March 26, 1975 and St. James standout Tanner English went 3-for-4 at the plate as fifth-ranked South Carolina exploded for nine runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on the way to a 14-1 win over Albany in game one of a doubleheader at Carolina Stadium.

The no-hitter is the seventh in school history and the first combined no-hitter as well. South Carolina’s last no-hitter came on March 26, 1975 when Ray Lavigne hurled a no-no in an 8-0 victory vs. George Mason at Sarge Frye Field. The Gamecocks completed the three-game sweep of Albany with a 6-4 win in the nightcap.

Holmes was in control most of the afternoon with six innings allowing just one walk and three strikeouts. The one run for Albany came in the fourth inning after a leadoff walk, a throwing error and a sacrifice fly. After Holmes’ stint, Koumas came on for two hitless innings with just three walks and a strikeout. Josh Knab closed out the victory with a perfect inning of relief to seal the no-hitter for Carolina.

Trailing 1-0 entering the bottom of the fifth, the Gamecocks pounded out eight hits and scored nine times to go ahead by eight runs. The nine-run bottom of the fifth was the most runs by a Gamecock team in an inning since Carolina scored 10 on March 9, 2010 in the bottom of the third in a 12-4 win over Valparaiso. The fifth inning opened with a solo home run by Chase Vergason, his first of the season and second of his career in a Gamecock uniform. Max Schrock gave the Gamecocks its first lead with a two-run single with the bases loaded. Joey Pankake followed with a RBI groundout. A RBI single off the bat of LB Dantzler gave Carolina a 5-1 lead. With two outs and Dantzler on second base, the Gamecocks kept it going as Connor Bright delivered with a RBI single, followed by a base hit by Vergason and a RBI base hit courtesy of Dante Rosenberg. Saiko completed the scoring with a two-run single scoring Vergason and Rosenberg.

South Carolina added two runs in the sixth inning on a two-run double from Vergason. The Gamecocks made it 14-1 in the eighth inning on a three-run homer by Dantzler. In the first two games of the series, Dantzler has a pair of homers and nine RBI.

South Carolina finished with 15 hits in the contest. Vergason went 3-for-4 with two runs and three RBI, English went 3-for-4 with two runs, Dantzler was 2-for-4 with three runs and four RBI and Schrock went 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBI. All nine Gamecock starters reached base at least once with eight of nine tallying at least one hit.

A leadoff walk and a two-base throwing error led to the first run of the game for Albany in the top of the fourth inning. Nolan Gaige opened the frame with a walk and advanced to third base on a throwing error by Gamecock third baseman Chase Vergason off a grounder off the bat of Gorden Madej. With one out and a 0-1 count, Josh Nethaway lifted a sac fly to right-center scoring Gaige.

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