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South Carolina at No. 10 Florida: Series Preview, Game Times, How to Watch and more

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The Gamecocks face SEC East rival Florida in Gainesville this weekend

TheBigSpur

The Gamecocks are 23-11 (6-6) and will enter this weekend on their longest winning streak in nearly a month after beating the Citadel on Wednesday night for their third consecutive victory. The Gamecocks are now unranked in most major college baseball polls while the Gators are in the top ten in nearly every major poll.

South Carolina is 43-38 against Florida all-time but only 7-10 over the last four seasons. 2011 is the last time that the Gamecocks won a series against the Gators. That year the Gamecocks took the regular season series in Gainesville and (more importantly) beat the Gators twice in Omaha to win the CWS. Last year Florida won the regular season series in Columbia, then eliminated the Gamecocks from the SEC Tournament in Hoover.

SEC East SEC West
Vanderbilt (10-2) Texas A&M (9-2)
Missouri (8-4) LSU (8-4)
Florida (6-6) Arkansas (5-7)
South Carolina (6-6) Ole Miss (5-7)
Georgia (5-7) Mississippi State (5-7)
Kentucky (4-7) Alabama (4-8)
Tennessee (4-8) Auburn (4-8)

Despite how ugly things have been since the sweep of Kentucky, the Gamecocks are .500 in conference play. Avoiding being swept in the three SEC series losses has kept South Carolina in the thick of things and they're tied for 3rd in the SEC East and 5th overall. It's encouraging that as bad as things have felt over the last three weeks, the Gamecocks are still technically in a good position in the conference overall. Of course the downside is that half of USC's remaining opponents are three of the four teams leading the conference and that this weekend's opponent is the one that's tied with the Gamecocks. South Carolina lost two series to teams they should've beaten and is now faced with the task of stealing some wins from better teams in order to finish over .500 in the SEC.

The Gators are 25-9 (6-6) and enter this weekend coming off of a Tuesday win in which they demolished Stetson 22-2. Florida's only non-SEC losses were against a trio of strong in-state rivals: Miami, UCF and FSU. The Gators have series wins over Tennessee and Alabama at home and their series losses came at Missouri and at Ole Miss.

South Carolina Florida
Batting Average .266 .302
On-Base % .363 .385
Slugging % .379 .472
ERA 2.99 3.41
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio 2.32 2.88
Fielding % .970 .984

The Gators lead the nation in fielding percentage and the Gamecocks will need to avoid the errors that have plagued them all season if they want to come out of this series with a win. Mooney has been back in at shortstop for South Carolina's last three games, with Gore moving back to left field and Caldwell shifting over to right in the last two games. While Gore's recent struggles at shortstop have contributed to the shaky Gamecock defense, the team needs his bat in the lineup and it's unlikely that he'll be completely benched for any significant length of time. He is one of the five USC players hitting over .290 and the Gamecocks need all of those players (Caldwell, Martin, Cone, Gore and Schrock) in the lineup for the offense to have a chance to push a decent number of runs across. A defensive lineup with Gore and Caldwell in the outfield, which is likely what will happen against Florida, pushes Bright off the field and leaves him vying with Destino for the DH spot.

Wil Crowe will start for the Gamecocks on Friday night. The sophomore right-hander has a 4.02 ERA with 56 strikeouts and 16 walks. Crowe is looking to bounce back from a rough outing against Mississippi State last weekend in which he gave up 7 earned runs in less than 3 innings. The Saturday starter for Carolina will be Jack Wynkoop. The junior lefty has a 2.19 ERA with 45 strikeouts and 7 walks.

Florida's Friday starter will be sophomore RHP Logan Shore. His ERA is 1.76 and he has 32 strikeouts and 10 walks this year. The only SEC weekend starter with a better ERA than Shore is LSU's Alex Lange. The Saturday starter for the Gators has not yet been announced.

Neither team has announced a Sunday starter yet. As usual, the Gamecocks want to have everyone available if they're needed in relief in the first two games. Holbrook said on Thursday that Schmidt (who threw 4 innings on Wednesday) would be fresh if he didn't pitch earlier in the series and that Brandon Murray (who has been pitching very well in relief, particularly in SEC play) is also a possibility to get the start.

Game 1, Friday

Start Time: 7 pm

How to Watch: SEC Network Plus

How to Listen: 107.5 The Game and Gamecock Radio Network affiliates

Game 2, Saturday

Start Time: 6 pm

How to Watch: SEC Network

How to Listen: 107.5 The Game and Gamecock Radio Network affiliates

Game 3, Sunday

Start Time: 12 pm

How to Watch: SEC Network

How to Listen: 107.5 The Game and Gamecock Radio Network affiliates