Alex Faedo pitched 8.2 scoreless innings and a two-out RBI single by Keenan Bell in the bottom of the fifth inning was enough to lift ninth ranked Florida to a 1-0 win over 18th ranked South Carolina on Thursday night at McKethan Stadium. Florida is 26-12 and 9-7 in the SEC with South Carolina dropping to 23-14 and 8-8 in league play.
Both Faedo and South Carolina right-hander Clarke Schmidt were as good as advertised with limited offense on both sides of the plate. Faedo struck out nine, walked four and allowed just three hits to earn the win. He is 6-1 on the year. Schmidt allowed one run on four hits in 5.1 innings with three walks and two strikeouts. He would have to leave the game in the sixth inning with soreness in his right forearm. Florida reliever Michael Byrne recorded the final out of the game for his seventh save of the year.
Florida broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the fifth inning. With two outs, Christian Hicks doubled off the wall in left field and scored on Keenan Bell’s RBI single up the middle. Bell would knock a 3-2 pitch just past a diving Madison Stokes to score Hicks and give the Gators a one-run lead.
Bell’s two-out single gave Florida the only run of the game.
South Carolina was limited to just three hits in Thursday night’s contest.
11 of South Carolina’s 16 SEC games have been decided by three runs or less.
Madison Stokes reached base twice with a double and a walk to lead the Gamecocks at the plate.
Right-hander Reed Scott and left-hander Josh Reagan combined for 2.2 scoreless innings of relief for the Gamecocks
QUOTABLE FROM HEAD COACH CHAD HOLBROOK
“It was obviously a very well-pitched game. Faedo for them was terrific, obviously. We could only muster three hits against him. Had the leadoff double there and couldn’t move him, couldn’t get the runner over, couldn’t really put any consecutive good at-bats against him. His stuff tonight was terrific. You could tell kind of early in the game it was going to be a struggle to score, and one or two might win. We didn’t get that one or two. Our kids pitched their hearts out, played great defense behind our pitchers and it’s very frustrating to get a well-pitched game on a Thursday night and can’t muster up enough offense to win."
QUOTABLE FROM CLARKE SCHMIDT
“My forearm was getting a little tight throughout the game. No sharpness, no sharp pain, no tingling, that’s the positive thing I’m taking out of this. I’ve been working on my changeup grip and that might have a little something to do with it. They seem to think it’s flexor right now so that’s a good thing. Hopefully it’s nothing structural. I didn’t feel it on one certain pitch or anything like that. I was still low 90’s so we are going to see how everything works out and hopefully everything is fine.”
The series continues on Friday at 7 p.m. The game will be televised live on the SEC Network and can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”