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Belcher continues to shine for USC

Panther Pride

Posted: May 22, 2013 - 12:29am

The University of South Carolina’s baseball team wrapped up its regular season over the weekend, dropping two of three to Mississippi State. The Gamecocks are now 39-16 as they head into the SEC Tournament. The 2013 South Carolina squad might not be as talented as the teams that have claimed two national titles and a national runner-up finish over the last three seasons.

The glue that has held this team together has been former Greenbrier High School star Nolan Belcher. The 5-8 senior left-hander is enjoying a terrific final campaign in Columbia. Early in the season he seized the team’s No. 1 starter role and has been there all year.

Do not let his 7-5 win/loss record fool you: Belcher has been sensational this season for Carolina. On Friday night he got a no-decision versus Mississippi State, despite pitching into the seventh inning, only allowing one run. He exited the game with a 4-1 lead, but the Bulldogs battled back. They plated three runs in the eighth inning off the usually unhittable Tyler Webb and defeated USC 5-4. Belcher pitched great, but got a no-decision.

He was coming off a tremendous effort versus Georgia a week before. In the matchup with UGA, Belcher was outstanding. He earned his seventh win of the year as he limited the Bulldogs to five hits and two runs. He worked into the eighth inning, striking out eight and not walking a single batter.

For the season, Belcher is 7-5 with a team best 2.17 ERA in 14 games started. He leads the team with 99 innings pitched and 83 strike-outs. He has also only walked 13 batters all year.

Belcher’s importance to Gamecocks is easy to see when you look at the squad’s pitching numbers.

• Belcher has 14 starts. No other pitcher has more than 10.

• Belcher has worked 99.1 innings. The second-best total on the team is only 57.2.

• Belcher has 83 strikeouts. The next best for USC is 55.

• Belcher has walked only 13 batters in 99.1 innings. The rest of the pitching staff has walked 115 batters in the remaining 390.9 innings.

If the Gamecocks have another postseason run in them, you can bet Belcher will be spearheading the charge. If he does not earn All-SEC this season, I will be shocked.

Panther Pride

The Lakeside High School Touchdown Club is holding its second annual Panther Pride Golf Tournament on May 31 at Jones Creek Golf Club. It will be a day of fun and fellowship to raise money for Lakeside’s football program.

The Panthers have had the top team in the county for the past few years, and with a team brimming with young talent, fans are very excited about the upcoming season.

The cost for the tournament is $400 per team, and there are several other sponsorship opportunities.

Registration begins at 11 a.m., lunch will be served at noon and the golf will begin at 1 p.m. They will have prizes for the top three teams, plus prizes for long drive and closest to the pin.

To participate in the event or for more information, call Scott Patterson at (706) 830-0580 or email pattersonbuilt@hotmail.com

Club wins

Evans Fitness Club operating partner Mike Montarbo was named Man of the Year by The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society at its Man and Woman of the Year grand finale on Friday. The Man and Woman of the Year Campaign is in its second year in the Augusta area. It is a 10-week fundraising effort which benefits LLS and its efforts to come up with better treatments, and one day a cure, for blood cancers.

With the help of his excellent staff at Evans Fitness Club, led by general manager Davin Riera, Montarbo was able to raise an astounding $60,000, which is easily the highest amount raised by any candidate in the event’s brief history. In total, the 11 candidates (six women and five men) raised nearly $242,000 during the campaign.

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