Picture perfect day ends with win over Dukes

On a beautiful afternoon in Columbia, the Yardcocks were hard at work behind the pitching of freshman Tyler Webb. Webb struck out six Dukes over 4-plus innings, setting the tone despite an offense that struggled most of the afternoon. In the end, USC held on for the 5-3 win and a series sweep.

After leading 1-0 for much of the afternoon, and 5-0 heading into the 9th, the Gamecocks were just happy to get out with a win when it was all said and done.

"Very relieved to be able to win this game today," said Tanner after a game in which the late innings turned out to be very interesting. "We knew we were going to have our hands full today with Heck on the mound."

Even though he took the loss, Andrew Heck threw 6 quality innings for Duquesne, giving up just 5 hits and 1 earned run to a Gamecock team that scored 23 runs in the first two games of the series.

After two quick outs in the first inning, freshman lefty Tyler Webb got himself into a little bit of trouble after surrendering two quick hits in a single and a double. However, he responded like a veteran, striking out left-fielder Derek Lefever on three pitches.

Webb said that his two early strikeouts gave him a lot of confidence as the game went on.

"I just wanted to throw strikes and not get too carried away with the moment, just focus on the glove," said Webb after his performance.

It didn't take Jeffery Jones long to continue his great weekend and start driving in runs, as he grounded into a fielder's choice in the first inning, allowing Whit Merrifield to score from third. Jones was able to bring in the run with runners on the corner and 1 out in the inning.

In the top of the 4th inning, a double play allowed Tyler Webb to get out of trouble, after he faced runners on first and second with 1 out. Duquesne first baseman Mark Tracy reached on an error by Bobby Haney, ending a streak of eight straight batters retired by Webb. However, Webb snagged the sharp grounder before firing to second to start the double play.

Coach Tanner said that while he was pleased with Webb's outing, he would like to see him keep the pressure on hitters when things aren't going his way.

"I think it was a good outing, I don't think it was a great outing but I was pleased with what he did," said Tanner. "What I didn't like, a couple times I thought he had some adversity and I thought he backed off a little bit. As a competitor, as a pitcher, when something bad happens, you have to be good the next batter."

Although Tyler Webb's day came to an end in the 5th, he received an assist from Steven Neff to keep his ERA perfect. After giving up three straight singles, Webb left the game with the bases loaded and just one out. Neff came to the rescue though, forcing Anthony DeFabio to ground back to the mound, inducing the inning ending double play.

It took awhile, but the Gamecocks were able to double their lead in the bottom of the seventh, on the strength of an Adam Matthews home run. With two outs and no one on, Matthews drilled a home run to the power alley in left center field.

After chipping away in the 7th, the Gamecocks added three more in the bottom of the 8th, in what proved to be crucial runs in the last inning. Christian Matthews, Adrian Morales, and Adam Matthews all drove in runs in the 8th.

Matthews RBI proved to be huge, with Kyle Enders beating out a fielder's choice at second base and allowing a run to score.

In the final frame, Gamecock reliever John Taylor looked to complete the shutout. Things got off to a rough start with a first pitch home run from Mark Tracy. Clinging to a 5-3 lead, and a runner on first, Johnny Elms hit a deep fly ball to left center that looked like it might tie the score at 5. However, Jackie Bradley Jr. was there for the big catch on the warning track, ending the game and easing the nerves of anxious Gamecock fans. The Gamecocks finished up the sweep of the Dukes by a final score of 5-3.

USC moves to 3-0 on the season with the win. Next, they will travel to East Carolina for a three game series starting on Friday.

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