South Carolina vs. Holy Cross Game 3

Brannon Jordan

By the fifth inning Sunday, the field at Founders Park looked like a swamp, with rivers running through the muddy infield. 

It was so wet players were slipping and sliding all over the field trying to make normally routine plays. 

That didn't faze South Carolina pitcher Brannon Jordan.

The junior right-hander from Collinsville, Okla. was sensational in his Gamecock debut. The junior-college transfer gave up a leadoff single to start the game, and then retired the next 13 batters he faced, eight via strikeout. Jordan kept Holy Cross batters off balance with a 90-mph fastball and an 82-mph changeup. 

PHOTOS: SC vs. Holy Cross, Game 3

Jordan threw five scoreless innings, allowing just two hits with nine strikeouts to lead South Carolina to a 5-0 win and a series sweep. 

South Carolina led 5-0 when the game was delayed in the middle of the fifth inning and called about 30 minutes later.  

Jordan capped an impressive weekend for South Carolina's starting rotation. Carmen Mlodzinski, Brett Kerry and Jordan combined to allow just three earned runs in 17 innings with 24 strikeouts.

“He just had really good command and a plus slider. He made guys really uncomfortable," head coach Mark Kingston said of Jordan. "You saw a guy with good command and a really good secondary pitch. He was very impressive.

"With that cold, that rain it could have been an easy day to make excuses for why he couldn’t throw strikes but he pounded the strike zone."

Having pitched in Oklahoma in high school and Kansas in junior college, the nasty weather didn't faze Jordan. 

“A couple of years ago, it was practically snowing on the field and was about 28 degrees so the rain doesn’t bother me too much," Jordan said.  

The two teams played in a steady rain that turned the Founders Park field into a sloppy mess and kept the grounds crew busy in between innings and during pitching changes. 

The wet conditions were a factor in South Carolina's four-run third inning. The Gamecocks scored four runs on three walks, three hit batters and just one hit, an infield single by Braylen Wimmer when Crusader shortstop Chris Rinaldi slid in the mud trying to field it. Jeff Heinrich and George Callil both had RBI when they were hit by a pitch and Dallas Beaver forced in another one with a walk. 

The Gamecocks had just five hits but took advantage of four walks and three hit batters and stole six bases. 

"It was a day we had to manufacture runs and we were able to use our athleticism and speed on the bases," Kingston said.  

The field was so wet by the fourth inning that Noah Campbell looked like he was riding a Slip N Slide when he singled and slid into second and third with stolen bases. 

Wes Clarke padded the lead with a missile to center field in the fourth, his second home run in as many days. Clarke's shot was 109 mph off the bat and sailed 415 feet. 

By the fifth inning, the field was starting to look like a swamp, causing Andrew Eyster to misplay a ball in left field and Heinrich to drop a high popup at third. But Jordan struck out Alex Volpi to strand a runner at third just before the umpires gathered on an island around the pitcher's mound and declared a rain delay.

"It was pretty tough. There was some puddles out there," Wimmer, the second baseman, said. "It was some tough conditions but we had to tackle it together and get a win."  

After Mlodzinski and Kerry were impressive in their season debuts Friday and Saturday, Jordan was anxious to match them on Sunday. 

"It definitely put a chip on my shoulder to go out there and match what they did," Jordan said. "They threw great so I had to match them, for sure."