Holmes delivers strong performance in USC win over Charleston

CHARLESTON, SC (WACH) - Colby Holmes returned to a starting role and notched a season-high eight strikeouts in a 3-1 win over College of Charleston Tuesday evening at Patriots Point.

The No. 17 Gamecocks improve to 19-6, and College of Charleston fell to 13-11 on the year.

After scuffling as part of the weekend pitching rotation earlier this season, Holmes was in control from the opening pitch Tuesday night as he gave up just four hits in more than seven innings of work. His eight strikeouts are the most since Holmes collected a career-best nine last year in the NCAA Regional against Manhattan. Holmes improved his record to 2-2 on the season.

Relievers Vince Fiori and Patrick Sullivan struck out both the batters they faced and senior left-hander Adam Westmoreland pitched a perfect ninth inning to pick up his second save of the season.

"Colby and our bullpen were terrific tonight," said South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook. "We squared a up a lot of balls tonight offensively. It was an important win for us."

South Carolina got on the scoreboard by pushing a pair of runs across home plate in the top of the first inning. LB Dantzler jumped on the first pitch he saw from College of Charleston starter Nathan Helvey and blasted a double to right field scoring Chase Vergason. The Gamecocks would go ahead 2-0 on a Grayson Greiner RBI groundout to the third baseman.

College of Charleston starting pitcher Nathan Helvey lasted only 2.2 innings and suffered the loss.

The Gamecocks return to action Thursday night when they start a critical three-game SEC series with Texas A&M at Carolina Stadium. South Carolina is looking to dig out of a 2-4 conference hole after getting swept by Arkansas this past weekend. First pitch for Thursday's series opener is set for 7:30pm.