FIRST BASE // Time for the SEC

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It wasn't all that bad.

After all, it's not like there's anyone else in the SEC that's undefeated, save Georgia. And, in the end, the Long Beach State series probably won't mean that much to whether South Carolina makes the NCAA tournament or not. Back when we didn't know that Long Beach State would be this far away from its past tradition, it might have looked like a big series.

Instead, it was just another series the Gamecocks won, even if it ended with the first loss.

The loss apparently left South Carolina out of the Baseball America Top 25 -- though still on "the cusp." Here, again, the real important series is this weekend -- the first SEC series, this one at Mississippi State. Take care of business in the conference, and Baseball America will at least look stupid for not having the Gamecocks ranked, since their own writer pretty much set that as the standard. Meanwhile, South Carolina moved up one place to No. 17 in the more generous Collegiate Baseball poll.

It's all about the SEC now. It never really wasn't.

PLAYER OF THE WEEK
WHIT MERRIFIELD, who hit .500 against Long Beach State (7-for-14), scored five runs and set a career high for hits in a game (three, Sunday). His HR produced the only two runs in the 2-0 win against Georgia State. Another HR came Saturday.

STAT OF THE WEEK
110
The number of runs scored in the first 10 games at the new ballpark. That's an average of 11 per game. South Carolina has scored 73 of those.

THE SLATE
Monday: vs. Presbyterian, W 6-5
Tuesday: vs. Old Dominion, 7 p.m. ET
Wednesday: vs. Wofford, 7 p.m. ET
Weekend: at Mississippi, 7:30 p.m. ET Friday; 3 p.m. ET Saturday; 2:30 p.m. ET Sunday

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