USC's Beal blanks Rider in his second career start

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH) - Sophomore right-hander Evan Beal retired 14 straight batters at one point and combined with three Gamecock relievers for a one-hit shutout as No. 6 South Carolina beat Rider 2-0 on Friday night in game one of a three-game set at Carolina Stadium.

The Gamecocks improve to 11-2 on the season with Rider dropping to 6-2.

Beal, in just his second career start, pitched six-plus innings and limited the Broncs to just a single in the second inning. Beal struck out a career-high six batters and walked just two to earn his first win of the year. He is 1-0 on the season. Senior left-hander Tyler Webb earned his fourth save after pitching 2.1 perfect innings of relief with four strikeouts.

Rider starting pitcher Tyler Smith was also very strong on the mound, allowing seven hits and striking out eight batters in eight innings of work. He dropped to 2-1 on the year with the loss.

South Carolina broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the third inning with an unearned run off of Smith. With two outs and George Iskenderian on first base, Graham Saiko smacked a hard ground ball that Rider third baseman Adam Wayman picked up but then tossed a low throw to the first baseman. Iskenderian scored all the way from first base after the throwing error.

The Gamecocks increased the lead to 2-0 in the sixth inning when Chase Vergason scored on Joey Pankakes base hit.

Game two of the series is set for Saturday at 4 pm at Carolina Stadium.