June 9, 2013


Montgomery Blanks Tar Heels

By John Whittle

Special to CollegeBaseballInsider.com


CHAPEL HILL, N.C. - A day after an anemic output with runners on base, South Carolina capitalized on its run-scoring opportunities and got a dominating pitching performance from Jordan Montgomery to defeat North Carolina 8-0 on Sunday afternoon to extend the Super Regional to a third and decisive game.


For the first time in the Super Regional, a team found a hot pitcher as Montgomery silenced the bats of the Tar Heels (56-10), a team hitting .310 entering the weekend that had not been shut out all season.


Montgomery threw a complete game shutout, allowing four hits and one walk. He struck out three and moved his team one game closer to the College World Series for the fourth time in four seasons.


“I’ve seen him do it before in high school and I’ve seen him do it before in Omaha, so I can’t say I’m surprised,” South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook said. “Jordan was incredible. To shut out a team like North Carolina, that’s an awfully hard thing to do. He was terrific from pitch one.”


The Gamecocks (43-19) were 3 for 17 with runners in scoring position in a Game 1 loss but five different players were able to drive in runs in the win-or-go-home game.


For the second straight day, the Gamecocks roughed up North Carolina’s starting pitcher. Left-hander Hobbs Johnson, who entered with a 4-0 record and 2.09 earned run average, had the shortest start of his career after being touched up for five runs in the second inning. He was pulled from the game after recording just five outs.


Middle-of-the-order hitters Joey Pankake and LB Dantzler both had two-RBI hits in the inning for South Carolina to put their team on top early for the second straight day.


“That’s probably the hardest I’ve ever been hit in my career,” Johnson said. “It was just terrible. Not locating, balls up in the zone and against a good hitting team, this is what’s going to happen. I didn’t make pitches I needed to and didn’t locate in and out like I needed to.”


The Gamecocks had success against the UNC bullpen as well, scoring a single run in the fourth and two more in the fifth inning. The Tar Heels ran out six different pitchers in the game but couldn’t find one who could pile up outs.


While UNC couldn’t get much going on the mound, Montgomery continued to mow through the lineup. The Tar Heels didn’t have a runner reach third base and only had four players reach second base over the course of the game.


“Montgomery was sensational for them from the first pitch to the very last one,” North Carolina head coach Mike Fox said. “We couldn’t get anything going. I thought that was the key to the game, just how well he pitched against us.”


North Carolina is the home team for Monday’s decisive game by virtue of winning a coin flip. Freshman Jack Wynkoop (7-3) will get the ball for the Gamecocks while the Tar Heels will counter with sophomore Benton Moss (8-1). Game time and station will be announced on Sunday night.