South Carolina baseball came out on the wrong side of a pitcher’s duel on Thursday night at Florida. But the 1-0 loss was hardly the concern.
Gamecocks junior pitcher Clarke Schmidt departed the game in the sixth inning with right forearm soreness, a concern for South Carolina and its Friday night ace moving forward. Schmidt threw two pitches, both missing badly to UF’s Austin Langworthy — one high and in and the other in the dirt — prompting pitching coach Jerry Meyers to come out of the dugout.
That was it for Schmidt, who was checked out by trainers in the dugout and had ice wrapped around his right forearm.
Schmidt gave up the lone run of the game in the fifth after Florida’s Christian Hicks hit a two-out double to left and Keenan Bell drove him home with a groundball single up the middle that was just out of the reach of a diving Madison Stokes.
It remained a pitcher’s duel with relievers Reed Scott and Josh Reagan on the mound, but Florida’s Alex Faedo was better. The Gamecocks couldn’t muster up much offense against Faedo, who was as good as advertised in 8.2 shutout innings. The Gamecocks got only three hit against Faedo and struck out nine times.
The only true scoring threat came when Stokes doubled to right center leading off the fifth. The Gamecocks did not bunt Stokes to third. Matt Williams and Danny Blair grounded out before Jacob Olson hit a weak liner to shortstop to end the inning.
South Carolina put a pair on in the seventh with two outs when Stokes walked and Matt Williams reached on an error, but a Blair groundout ended the only other threat USC had with a runner in scoring position.
Schmidt worked around trouble early in the game. He walked the leadoff batter three times in the first five innings. He got out of the threat with a few double plays, including a key lineout to third baseman Jonah Bride with runners on second and third base in the third.
Schmidt allowed four hits in 5.1 innings with three walks and two strikeouts.
Stokes, Williams and Carlos Cortes accounted for the lone hits for the South Carolina offense.
South Carolina and Florida will play Game 2 of the three-game series on Friday night. Wil Crowe is scheduled to be on the mound for South Carolina.
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