It's somehow already the final week of the regular season of college baseball, and the Gamecocks are wrapping things up at home with The Citadel before hitting the road for a huge series against Vanderbilt this weekend. Despite going 4-0 last week, the Gamecocks only improved a little in the polls. Their ranking still varies widely, from 8th (USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll) to 17th (Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America). The Gamecocks and the Bulldogs played already this season, in Charleston on April 16th, and it did not go well for the Gamecocks. The overall series record between the teams is now 125-48-1.
The Bulldogs are 20-31 (5-18 Southern Conference) and enter tonight on a two-game losing streak after dropping a series to UNC Wilmington last weekend. The numbers for The Citadel are very similar to what they were in the first meeting between the teams. The Bulldogs are hitting .268 with an on-base percentage of .353. Their ERA is 5.56 and opponents are hitting .285 against them.
The Gamecocks are 39-13 (16-11) and have bounced back from a series loss at Georgia to win four straight games, including a weekend sweep of Missouri. South Carolina's offense has a different feel to it now that Max Schrock is back in the lineup, and the worst of the minor illnesses and injuries that swept through the Gamecock infield appear to be in the past. Patrick Harrington and Gene Cone have continued to fill in well for the injured Gamecocks outfielders, and each has some nice defensive plays and clutch hitting to his name. The Gamecocks are now hitting .283 as a team and have an on-base percentage of .360. South Carolina's pitching staff has moved back up to second in the country with an ERA of 2.03. Opponents are hitting .219 against them.
Freshman right-hander Reed Scott will start for the Gamecocks tonight. Scott has an ERA of 0.83 and has 23 strikeouts and eight walks through 32.2 innings pitched his season. The Citadel is expected to start Nate Brecklin, a sophomore left-handed pitcher with an ERA of 6.48 and ten strikeouts and 13 walks through 16.2 innings pitched.
Start time: 7 p.m.
Location: Columbia, S.C. (Carolina Stadium)
The game can be heard on the radio at 107.5 The Game or streamed live through GamecocksOnline.com All-Access