It was cold at Founders Park Tuesday. Low-50s with a brisk wind that made it feel like 40.
Someone needed to bring some heat.
South Carolina starting pitcher Thomas Farr did, flinging fastballs at 95-96 mph in his first career start. Farr, a junior-college transfer being counted on to provide depth to Carolina's starting rotation, was solid in his Gamecock debut.
Farr allowed just two runs on three hits and struck out five in 4.2 innings to earn his first win. Coming off an arm injury last year, he was on a pitch count and left in the fifth after throwing 64 pitches.
Andrew Peters, another key newcomer to the Gamecock pitching staff, was also sharp in his debut. In his first appearance since Tommy John surgery, Peters pitched the ninth and retired three of the four batters he faced.
South Carolina backed them with plenty of offense, scoring 14 runs on 14 hits in a 14-3 win.
Farr had not pitched in a real game in more than a year due to injuries but came out throwing heat, using a blistering fastball and sharp slider to strike out four of the first six batters he faced. Though his velocity decreased a bit in the fourth and fifth inning, he cruised through the first four innings until giving up a two-run home run in the fifth.
“I felt like a pitched pretty well," he said. "Overall, with the weather, I felt like I pitched really good. My arm felt pretty good, a little flimsy, but overall for my first time back in a year I felt like it was a good step forward, very positive."
Head coach Mark Kingston was pleased with what he saw from his junior right-hander.
“I think he got a little tired in the fifth, which is to be expected. But you saw an elite fastball, you saw a really good breaking ball and he threw strikes. That’s exactly what we wanted to see," he said.
Peters was also solid, sitting at 90-91 with his fastball a year after having surgery. He walked one batter but had a strikeout and two groundouts in his one winning of work.
“He’s not quite as far along as Farr coming off the injury but he’s on schedule," Kingston said. "His fastball was in that 90-91 range. He’ll be in that range Farr was in when he’s fully back. He threw strikes for the most part, had a quick clean inning. We’ll take that."
Carolina jumped on PC early, scoring two runs on three hits in the first inning. Braylen Wimmer led off the game with a single and Bryant Bowen executed a perfect hit-and-run single to put runners at first and third. Noah Campbell, who reached on a fielder's choice, scored the first run on a ground out by Wes Clarke. Andrew Eyster then delivered a 2-0 lead with an RBI single.
The Gamecocks tacked on four runs in the second on three hits, two errors and four stolen bases. Dallas Beaver and George Callil started the inning with base hits and Wimmer drove in the first run. SC then used its speed to score three more runs, taking advantage of a wild pitch and two errors.
South Carolina scored three unearned run in the third, two on Campbell's two-out single.
After PC reached Farr for a couple of runs in the top of the fifth, Campbell knocked in two more with a triple over the center fielder's head in the bottom of the inning. He scored on a base hit by Bowen and Eyster added a sac fly to give the Gamecocks a 13-2 lead.
Campbell led the Gamecocks with four RBI and three runs scored. George Callil had had three hits and also scored three runs as the Gamecocks had six batters with two more more hits.
“A complete game by us," Kingston said. "Farr really set the tone with power stuff out there and our offense followed suit. It was a good night in tough conditions. It was cold and rainy but our guys didn’t care, they went out there and played good baseball."
John Gilreath, Trey Tujetsch, Graham Lawson and TJ Shook also pitched for the Gamecocks as South Carolina allowed just three runs on six hits. Lawson threw 1.2 hitless innings while Shook struck out the side in the eighth.