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FIRST BASE: Week of March 31

(Operating under the theory "better late than never," and taking a pass because of the Horn news.)

It's not unreasonable to take the 25-game point as a marker of where a team is in college baseball. The season is not quite halfway over, but the sample size is pretty good. There are three series' worth of conference games to consider.

By that measure, South Carolina is doing okay. The Gamecocks are 18-7 (the Tuesday game against The Citadel not included) overall and 6-3 in conference play. Some of the losses have been to impressive teams, some less so: South Carolina has fallen to East Carolina, Charlotte, Yale, Vanderbilt (twice), Furman and Kentucky.

All in all, though, the Gamecocks are in the Top 10 in all the polls, 7-4 against the Top 25, one game out of the lead in the SEC East and despite a 3-2 week are still pretty well positioned.

The center of the team is, no surprise here, the offense. South Carolina is 2nd in the SEC in batting average, slugging, on-base percentage and home runs. The team isn't fast, having stolen just 17 bases and getting caught 10 times. (The 27 attempts are fewest in the conference.)

The pitching has so far been the rub. The Gamecocks staff is 7th in ERA, 6th in opposing batting average and 9th in walks.

A trip to Omaha will likely require better. But, for now, South Carolina has certainly done nothing to take itself out of the running.

Phil Disher. James Darnell had the best game, but Disher had the better series against Kentucky, going .417 with a home run and seven RBIs. Disher, the SEC player of the week, has played particularly well in conference games.

South Carolina leads the SEC in fielding percentage with a .980 mark and, in keeping with common sense, has the fewest errors in the league (20).

Tuesday: at Citadel, W 7-4
Wednesday: vs. Davidson, 7 p.m.
Weekend: at Georgia, 6:30 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday