USC wins SEC opener behind strong pitching

COLUMBIA, MO (WACH) - South Carolina sophomore Evan Beal struck out a career-high 10 batters as the No. 5 Gamecocks beat Missouri 4-1 on Friday in the SEC opener at Taylor Stadium.

Grayson Greiner homered and scored a pair of runs and T.J. Costen had a two-run single as the Gamecocks improved to 16-2 with the win. The loss drops Missouri to 5-8 for the season.

In his second start of the year, Beal put in 6.1 innings of work, allowing just one run and eight hits. Beal is now 2-0 on the year. Senior left-hander Tyler Webb worked 1.1 innings of relief for his sixth save and struck out two.

"I was just trying to go out there and get ahead on my first pitch," said Beal. "I feel like I did a good job with damage control. I was able to shut it down, get some ground balls. The defense played great. It was a good team effort tonight."

South Carolina struck first on Grayson Greiner's first home run of the season. Greiner blasted a 1-0 pitch over the left field wall to put the Gamecocks ahead by a run.

"It was a big win for us against a really good pitcher," said head coach Chad Holbrook. "(Missouri pitcher Zastryzny) was terrific and Evan matched him pitch for pitch. We got a big swing of the bat from Grayson."

The lead increased to 2-0 in the fifth inning. Joey Pankake drove an 0-1 pitch from Zastryzny into right field for a RBI single. The base hit extended Pankake's hitting streak to 10 games.

Due to Sunday's weather forecast the two teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday. Both games will be nine innings.