South Carolina senior left-hander Nolan Belcher limited Georgia to just two runs on five hits in 7.1 innings and seven different Gamecocks drove in at least one run as 12th ranked South Carolina upended Georgia 7-2 on Friday evening at Carolina Stadium in game one of a three-game SEC series. The Gamecocks are 35-14 and 14-10 in the SEC with Georgia 18-29 and 5-17 in league play. Game two of the series is scheduled for 1 p.m. on Saturday and will be televised live on CSS and can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station, 107.5 FM, "The Game." Saturday is also Senior Day with the Gamecocks honoring nine seniors before the contest. Pregame festivities will begin at 12:40 p.m.
Belcher earned the win and is now 7-5 on the year. He struck out eight batters and walked none and at one point in the game, he retired 16 straight batters from the first inning to the sixth inning. Georgia starting pitcher Sean McLaughlin suffered the loss and is now 4-6 for the season. He allowed four runs on six hits in three innings of work.
After Nelson Ward led off the game with his first career home run, South Carolina answered in the bottom half of the first with a pair of runs to take a one-run lead. Joey Pankake reached base on a two-out single up the middle and scored on LB Dantzler's RBI double to the gap in left-center. Grayson Greiner followed with a RBI triple off the wall in right-center scoring Dantzler.
Carolina extended the lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the third inning. Dantzler walked to lead off the frame and Grayson Greiner doubled down the left field line to put a pair of runners in scoring position. Graham Saiko drove in Dantzler with a sacrifice fly to right field and Kyle Martin added a RBI base hit scoring Greiner and giving the Gamecocks a three-run cushion.
Three more runs gave Carolina a 7-1 lead in the bottom of the fifth. Greiner singled up the middle for his third hit of the game and Saiko walked. After Martin sacrificed both runners into scoring position, Greiner would score on a fielding error by second baseman Nelson Ward. A squeeze play from Tanner English resulted in the second run and Max Schrock added a two-out RBI base hit giving Carolina a six-run edge. Georgia would score once in the top of the eighth on a squeeze bunt from Ward, his second RBI of the evening.
South Carolina had eight hits with Georgia finishing with seven. Greiner went 3-for-4 with two runs with Schrock 2-for-5. Dantzler also scored two runs in the contest. Ward went 2-for-4 to lead Georgia at the plate.