Webb quietly shuts out CWS opponents

Crystal LoGiudice-US PRESSWIRE

OMAHA, Neb. –- He doesn't get the publicity of Michael Roth or Matt Price, but he's just as important. Tyler Webb's ten shutout innings in Omaha have put the soft-spoken lefty on a bigger platform for the nation to see.

With a comfortable eight-appearance lead over the next most frequently used pitcher for South Carolina before the College World Series, Tyler Webb is used to this.

He doesn't get the publicity of Michael Roth or Matt Price, but he's just as important. His ten shutout innings in Omaha have put the soft-spoken lefty on a bigger platform for the nation to see.

Friday night turned into Webb's 38th appearance this season, tying him for second in school history behind the 50 times John Taylor was used last season. With every appearance, he looks better. After toying around with trying Webb as a starting pitcher earlier in his career, head coach Ray Tanner found a niche for the junior.

Webb still has the ability to go deeper into appearances than most relievers, and he has showcased that ability in Omaha in the last week. On Friday, Webb's four scoreless innings of relief to make him the first pitcher to have two separate scoreless relief outings of four innings or more in one College World Series since 1997.

Without his versatility, the Gamecocks might be back in Columbia by now.

"He just seems to thrive coming out of the bullpen," Tanner said after Friday's 3-2 win over Arkansas. "In any situation we give him, whether it's a short stint or four- or-five inning stint, he just takes it and goes and tries to go at hitters and use both sides of the plate."

In three College World Series appearances so far, Webb has combined to throw ten shutout innings, allowing four hits—all singles—and four walks while striking out seven hitters. Those numbers in Omaha aren't new to him. In 14.1 career shutout innings at the College World Series (seven appearances), Webb is holding opponents to a .111 batting average and has allowed just five hits.

He did it again on Friday with four shutout innings, allowing two hits, two walks and striking out three Razorbacks.

It started with damage control. Webb came into the game in the third inning after Colby Holmes hit a batter and allowed a double to put two in scoring position with no outs.

Webb got a ground out to third by Jacob Mahan for the first out before a sacrifice fly to right field by Matt Reynolds gave the Razorbacks an early 2-0 lead.

"With a couple runners on and no outs, I just tried to play damage control there," Tyler Webb said. "Once we got out of that, I just tried to pound the strike zone and get it to Matt (Price)."

Most of Webb's success against Arkansas came with the fastball. Tanner pointed to a slight velocity increase in the second half of the season that helped Webb turn into the go-to middle reliever for the Gamecocks.

"Tyler Webb had a really sneaky fastball, and he can move it around the plate," Arkansas third baseman Matt Reynolds said. "(He) didn't really have his off-speed working tonight, but we had that thought in the back of our head."

Even without his best, Webb's three appearances in the College World Series have helped the Gamecocks get back to a familiar place—the championship series.

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