The offense was hit or miss - no pun intended - at times for South Carolina last year. With guys like Grayson Greiner, Joey Pankake, and Tanner "Fastest Man In College Baseball" English having departed for the big leagues, the Gamecocks will have to find other guys who can consistently get on base and bring in runs.
South Carolina should benefit from having both Kyle Martin and Max Schrock back this year, two veterans who will be key to the success of the team. Martin opted to return for his senior year, and he'll look to improve on the career year he had last year, when he posted a team-leading .335 average. Schrock missed a lot of games last year due to various injuries, so this could be somewhat of a bounce back year for him, assuming he can stay healthy. Much like Martin, his veteran presence will be a boost for the Gamecocks.
Other returning players who will look to make an impact include seniors Connor Bright and Elliott Caldwell, juniors Marcus Mooney and DC Arendas, and sophomore Gene Cone, who came on strong during the 2014 season. Like Schrock, Bright and Caldwell also saw their quality 2014 campaigns impacted by injuries, but along with Martin and Schrock, they should help fill the holes left by guys like Greiner and Pankake.
Among the freshman, the biggest name to watch for is Alex Destino, who was selected as a third-team preseason All-American by Baseball America. A powerful hitter, Destino is expected to contribute significantly to South Carolina's offense this season. He will likely join Schrock and Martin in the middle of the order, which should be a trio of tough outs.
Last weekend's scrimmages didn't feature a ton of offense in the first two games, but the bats came alive in the third one - at least for some guys - which is hopefully a sign of good things to come. The South Carolina offense had stretches last year where it just couldn't get anything going, and while solid pitching and defense help, it's hard to win games if you cant get guys around the bases. The Gamecocks' biggest offensive issue last year, though, was the incredible number of runners that were left stranded. If that doesn't improve this year, South Carolina could be in for a stressful season.
South Carolina will kick off the 2015 season on Friday against College of Charleston. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m. EST, with Jack Wynkoop set to take the mound for the Gamecocks.