Key pitchers step up in South Carolina’s final preseason scrimmage

Key pitchers step up in South Carolina’s final preseason scrimmage

By Jeff Owens/File photo by Allen Sharpe

Three more key pitchers had strong outings for South Carolina Saturday as the Gamecocks wrapped up the preseason with their final intra-squad scrimmage. 

TJ Shook, who is vying for a spot in the weekend or mid-week rotation, started the game and looked good in four innings of work. Shook, a redshirt sophomore, allowed five hits and two walks but struck out seven of the 18 batters he faced. 

He ran into trouble during a simulated bases-loaded situation in the fourth but pitched his way out of the jam. After walking Brady Allen, TJ Hopkins had an RBI groundout before Luke Berryhill and Jordan Holladay followed with RBI singles. Shook then struck out Jonah Beamon and got Jacob English to fly out to end the inning. 

Starting pitchers, timely hitting highlight 8th scrimmage

Ridge Chapman, who is expected to play a key role at the back end of the bullpen, pitched two solid innings, allowing just one hit and walking two with four strikeouts. He struck out the first two batters he faced before walking Chris Cullen and getting Andrew Eyster to fly out. 

He faced a simulated bases-loaded situation in the second, giving up an RBI single to Nick Neville and a walk to Quinntin Perez before getting two strikeouts and a groundout to get out of the inning.

Junior-college transfer Hayden Lehman, who is also battling for a rotation spot, also threw two solid innings, allowing just one walk among the eight batters he faced. He struck out one and pitched around a walk and an error in the third inning. 

Shook and Lehman are competing for a spot in the weekend or mid-week rotation along with Reid Morgan and John Gilreath, who both had strong outings on Friday. Sophomore Carmen Mlodzinski and freshman Dylan Harley are expected to fill the other two weekend rotation spots. 

Hitting stars

Catcher/DH Luke Berryhill continued to swing a hot bat with two singles and an RBI Saturday. TJ Hopkins also had two hits and an RBI while Neville and Holladay had RBI singles and freshman Brady Allen had a double and run scored.

The Gamecocks open the season Friday, Feb. 15 against Liberty at Founders Park.