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What We Learned: USC vs Vanderbilt Baseball

Thursday night was ugggggggly (other than Fiori). But a heroic outing by Jack Wynkoop Friday night and some good lineup construction by Holbrook led USC to a much needed series victory over #4 Vanderbilt.


We finally got a SEC series win this past weekend, our first since we swept Kentucky. While Thursday night got ugly pretty quickly, Carolina rebounded and took down a pretty damn good Vanderbilt team in two straight games. Hopefully, our team has figured it out and will continue to play solid high energy baseball the rest of the way.

Thursday was ugly, but Fiori pitched very well: Unfortunately, Wil Crowe is out for the remainder of the year, and with the lack of a consistent Sunday starter, Carolina was down to only one reliable starting option for the weekend. Holbrook chose to pitch Vince Fiori, one of Carolina's more reliable options out of the bullpen. In his first career start, Fiori went 5 1/3 inning only allowing 2 runs on only two hits and also struck out 5. Good starting pitching is going to be critical the rest of the way, and Fiori perhaps showed Coach Holbrook that he's ready to step into that role. Let's hope that Thursday night wasn't just a flash in the pan and Fiori can keep performing at a high level the rest of the year.

Jack Wynkoop is a hero: This man gets the ironman of the week award in my book. When Carolina absolutely needed a heroic performance, Wynkoop gave them one. Wynkooop hurled his first career complete game, throwing over 130 pitches and holding Vanderbilt to just 2 runs on 10 hits while also striking out 12. And quite honestly, that statline does not truly do Wynkoop's performance justice. Anybody that watched this game saw a competitive fire out of a Carolina baseball player that we haven't seen in seemingly forever. I mentioned last week that Carolina needed a leader in the dugout, well, not only did we see that from Wynkoop, but also from Wil Crowe. Even though Crowe is severely injured, he was still leading from the dugout. Sitting behind the home dugout I could see Crowe being a leader, and the guys in the dugout followed him.

Holbrook may have found the right lineup: I have given Holbrook some flak on his lineup construction here in the past. However, he may have found something that brings continuity to our batting order. Holbrook moved DC Arendsup to the 2 hole in the order and Arendas responded by going 1-3 Friday with the initial 2 run shot that gave USC the early lead and momentum. Given that Arendas has been struggling a bit this year and hasn't hit higher than 6th, it was a fairly bold move by Holbrook, but it certainly worked out in our favor. In my opinion, I hope Holbrook sticks with this general lineup unless it proves that it won't work.