My apologies for getting this up late; I was a bit too keyed up on the draft. As you probably know, Game One was halted due to weather during an 0-0 tie in the eighth inning last night. The game will be resumed this afternoon at five, to be followed by Game Two. Michael Roth was in the midst of what was likely his best game of the season, while Alabama's Spencer Turnbull was throwing a no-hitter. Unfortunately for the Turnbull, the 20-hour delay probably means he won't get a chance to finish his run at history.
Here are the starting pitchers for the series:
South Carolina - Michael Roth (Sr. LHP) 4-0, 2.84 ERA, 66.2 IP, 16 BB, 57 SO
Alabama - Spencer Turnbull (Fr. RHP) 2-3, 5.45 ERA, 34.2 IP, 16 BB, 34 SO
South Carolina - Jordan Montgomery (Fr. LHP) 4-0, 2.59 ERA, 41.2 IP, 5 BB, 32 SO
Alabama - Taylor Guilbeau (Fr. LHP) 3-2, 4.89 ERA, 38.2 IP, 28 BB, 30 SO
South Carolina - TBA
Alabama - Justin Kamplain (Fr. LHP) 1-3, 3.58 ERA, 50.1 IP, 27 BB, 37 SO
Obviously, after the long delay, Roth and Turnbull are unlikely to return. It's a little unclear to me who we would bring in for relief. Usually, I would think that we would go with Tyler Webb here, with Price to come in for the ninth. However, with Colby Holmes out this weekend, I wonder if we might be trying to save Webb for the game-three start. In that case, perhaps we will go straight to Price, or if we might go to someone else for middle relief. At any rate, Ray Tanner probably would have loved for Roth to have pitched a bit longer in this one, as pitching depth will be at a premium this weekend. Granted, getting Turnbull out of the game might turn out to be a best-case scenario.
The question will remain, though, how we will do with Webb or someone else on the mound to start Saturday. If that player struggles, the good news is that Alabama is--as you can surely see by the numbers--a very weak pitching team. Of course, Turnbull was throwing the best game of his life last night, so who knows. But I would think that we could prevail Saturday by sheer force of offense if our bats light up at some point.
Batting-wise, obviously we struggled last night, but overall, we've made some progress in recent weeks. Christian Walker and Evan Marzilli continue to play at an All-SEC level. Another guy who is quickly getting his name in the mix in that regard is L.B. Dantzler. USC Online had this to say:
Junior third baseman LB Dantzler had a clutch bat in the Auburn series as he went 5-for-13 (.385) with five runs scored, two homers and four RBI. His slugging percentage was .923. Dantzler belted a two-run homer in the 5-3 win on Saturday. He added three hits, three runs scored a RBI double and a homer in the 11-7 win over the Tigers on Sunday. Dantzler raised his average to .250 and he is tied for the team lead in home runs with seven along with Christian Walker. Dantzler has 35 RBI as well and is fielding .981 with just two errors on the hot corner at third base.
Dantzler, besides Walker and Marzilli, is definitely the guy who is hitting most consistently, and he seems to get hotter by the week. There are some other guys, like Adam Matthews, who have had a good weekend here and there, but most of them have been more inconsistent. Tanner English was last week's surprise break-through performer, while Grayson Greiner is in the midst of a nice stretch.
Needless to say, we should expect a series win when we're hosting the league's worst team. Of course, Alabama is in perfectly good position to win Game One, and that would put our backs to the walls. Should we win Game One, though, we should be good. Alabama simply doesn't have the pitching depth to hold up all weekend against us, even if we're without Holmes.