Howdy, baseball fans. Remember last month when I said "I'm going to attempt to give weekly series recaps, but you and I both know that won't happen all the time!" Welp, I saw that implication right on through by completely shirking duty over the past few weeks. So I'm here now with a hasty roundup of recent and future goings-on. Enjoy!
CURRENT RECORD: 18-3
SEC RECORD: 2-1
CURRENT RANK: #5*
HOT BATS: LB Dantzler (.351, 7 HR, 24 RBI, 1.156 OPS); Joey Pankake (.343, 5 HR, 20 RBI, 1.085 OPS)
HOT ARMS: Tyler Webb (13.1 IP, 0.00 ERA, 20 K, 8 saves); Nolan Belcher (36 IP, 1.25 ERA, 36 K, 4-1 record); Jack Wynkoop (19.1 IP, 1.40 ERA, 13 K, 4-0 record)
*As per Collegiate Baseball
The injury bug sunk its filthy fangs into the team's lily-white haunches early and often, as ace Jordan Montgomery and oufielders Tanner English, Ahmad Christian and Graham Saiko are all banged up to varying degrees. The good news: all seem to be closing in on returns, which is fortunate with the Cocks diving headlong into SEC play. In fact, English pinch-ran in Tuesday's win over the Citadel. Montgomery's return, which still may be a few weeks off, will bring some welcomed stability to the weekend rotation and ideally remove some of the pressure from struggling starter Colby Holmes. Remember when you saw but one pair of cleat prints leading back to the dugout, Colby? It was then that Jordan Montgomery carried you!
MIKE PATRICK WEEPS WITH PRIDE
It's not fresh news, but Joey Pankake was named the SEC and Louisville Slugger National Player of the Week on March 11. That covers a stretch when he belted four home runs and hit .438. Pancakes.
HILARIOUS STAT OF THE DAY
81.00, which is sophomore pitcher Drake Thomason's current ERA after allowing 3 runs in .1 innings of work against Davidson, as yet his only appearance of the season. Here's to Drake getting a bit of mop-up duty in the near future to level that number out a bit.
MIDWEEK GAME ROUNDUP
The Gamecocks came to this writer's hometown of Charleston for a midweek tango with The Citadel. The Gamecocks scored in all but 3 innings, thanks in part to longballs from LB Dantzler, Greyson Greiner and Joey Pankake. Freshman Jack Wynkoop was solid but not dominant (5.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER, 5 K). In relief, Patrick Sullivan never settled, allowing 4 hits and 3 runs (2 earned) in an inning of work, and briefly allowing the Citadel to pull within a run. But the Gamecocks would plate 3 in the final two innings, and brought in Tyler Webb for a two inning save. Webb's outing was a thing of beauty, setting down all six batters he faced, including a resounding game-ending strikeout of Citadel 2B Mason Davis, who led the game off with a triple. Quote of the night:
"Bring me a damn hotdog with a buncha shit on it."--Dude behind me, to his wife— George Stevens (@Jorge_Stevens) March 19, 2013
"WOO PIG—" "STRIKE THREE"
The Gamecocks welcome Arkansas to Columbia for a three game set, the first of which will fire up this afternoon. Arky was a preseason #1 in some polls, and has underperformed. At 14-7 (1-2 in the SEC), they still boast one of the best team ERAs in the land (1.81. Ours is 2.18, if you're wondering.) Arkansas is ranked #28 by Collegiate Baseball but should be considered dangerous because SEC and good players and stuff BUT STRIKE THEM DOWN! DRINK THEIR BLOOD! DRINK IT I SAY! DOUBLE DIGIT VICTORIES—I DEMAND THEM!
Ahem. First pitch at 7:30. Go Cocks!