No. 2 Gamecocks beat Elon, fall one out shy of no-hitter

Despite a rain delay of more than 3 hours, No. 2-ranked South Carolina’s pitcing staff came one out away from a no-hitter in Friday night’s 8-1 victory over visiting Elon.

South Carolina was backed by an offense that featured Christian Walker tallying two hits including a homer and five RBI in game one of a three-game college baseball series.

South Carolina (4-0) senior left-hander Michael Roth hurled seven no-hit innings with seven strikeouts and three walks allowed to pick up the win. He is now 1-0 on the year.

Junior left-hander Nolan Belcher made his first appearance since the 2010 season and pitched one scoreless frame.

Junior right-hander Patrick Sullivan closed the game out and retired the first two batters he faced before Garrett Koster homered with two outs in the top of the ninth to end the no-hit bid for Carolina.

Sullivan retired the next batter to preserve the Gamecock victory. Elon (4-1) starting pitcher Kyle Webb suffered the loss and is now 1-1 on the year. He allowed five runs, three earned, on five hits with four strikeouts and two walks.

South Carolina broke ahead 3-0 in the bottom of the third inning. Joey Pankake led off with a triple that went off the wall in left field, just missing a home run and Evan Marzilli walked with one out followed by an infield single by former St. James star Tanner English to load the bases.

Kyle Webb’s 0-1 offering was too inside and hit Walker scoring the first run of the game for Carolina. LB Dantzler followed with a RBI sacrifice fly to right field scoring Marzilli and Grayson Greiner collected a two-out RBI base hit to right field scoring English and giving the Gamecocks a three-run cushion.

That lead extended to 5-0 in the fourth inning. Carolina again loaded the bases as Adam Matthews reached on a throwing error by Elon second baseman Sebastian Gomez, followed by a base hit by Pankake – his second of the game – and a sacrifice bunt by Chase Vergason was misfielded by Elon catcher Alex Swim.

With two outs and the bags still full and a 3-2 count, Christian Walker hit a short chopper down the third base line. On the play, Webb fielded and tried to nab Walker at first but couldn’t get him. With the runners all moving on the 3-2 pitch, it allowed for both Matthews and Pankake to score.

Carolina added two more runs in the sixth inning as Walker drilled a two-run homer to left field, his first home run of the season. South Carolina added one more run in the eighth inning as well.

Walker finished 2-for-2 with five RBI. His five RBI ties a career-high. Pankake went 2-for-4 with three runs scored and Greiner added two hits as well.

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