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South Carolina vs Auburn: Series Preview, Game Times, How to Watch and more

The Gamecocks could really use a series win as they host the Tigers at Carolina Stadium

TheBigSpur

After a 4-0 win in the opening game of the Tennessee series (the first game one win since the SEC opener), the Gamecocks squandered their opportunity to build on the momentum of the Vandy series win by dropping the next two games against the Vols by a combined score of 14-7. South Carolina did not have a midweek game this week, so they enter the series against Auburn on a two-game losing streak with a 26-19 (9-12) record.

The Gamecocks are 43-20 against the Tigers overall. South Carolina has only lost one of the last eleven games against Auburn and has not lost a series to them since 1997. The Gamecocks are 37-10 against Auburn since that last series loss.

SEC East SEC West
Vanderbilt  (15-6, .714) LSU (14-6, .700)
Florida (13-8, .619) Texas A&M (13-7, .650)
Missouri (12-9, .571) Arkansas (11-10, .524)
Kentucky (10-10, .500) Auburn (10-11, .476)
South Carolina (9-12, .429) Ole Miss (10-11, .476)
Tennessee (7-14, .333) Alabama (8-13, .381)
Georgia (6-14, .300) Mississippi State (7-14, .333)

The series loss to Tennessee was a bad one, definitely one of the worst of the season. I said in my Vandy preview two weeks ago that Holbrook's goal of getting to .500 by going 9-6 in the second half of conference play was probably the best-case scenario. Now South Carolina needs to go 6-3 over the next three weekends to finish .500 in the SEC, which quite frankly is not a goal that a program of this caliber should have had to make at the midpoint of the season in the first place. It's certainly not a goal that should seem nearly unattainable with 9 conference games left, but that's where we are right now. The Gamecocks have to sweep Auburn this weekend and then take a series from either Texas A&M or LSU to achieve that goal and while that's not impossible it's highly unlikely.

The Tigers are 30-16 (10-11) and are coming to Columbia this weekend on a six-game winning streak. Auburn began SEC play 1-5 against two of the best teams in the league, Texas A&M and Vandy. They won their first conference series against Mississippi State before dropping consecutive series against Arkansas and LSU. Since the loss at LSU they are 9-1 with wins against Ole Miss and Georgia.

South Carolina Auburn
Batting Average .254 .283
On-Base % .349 .373
Slugging % .367 .390
ERA 3.84 3.24
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio 2.15 2.22
Fielding % .971 .976

The Gamecocks have a couple of key injuries that they are currently dealing with. Shortstop Marcus Mooney is still out with a hamstring injury. South Carolina lost another infielder to injury last weekend when Max Schrock aggravated an Achilles tendon injury that's been nagging him for a while. His status is up in the air for this weekend. Holbrook said he's hopeful that Max can play and that he's been swinging the bat well this week. However Max won't be pushed too hard or rushed back as they want to avoid making the injury worse. The absence of Schrock is a big blow for an already lackluster Gamecock offense. In spite of a slow start to the season behind the plate, Max has been one of the most important contributors lately and is hitting .333 in conference play.

For the second week in a row Jack Wynkoop pitched the Gamecocks to a win with an outstanding performance last Friday against Tennessee. He will get the start for the Gamecocks on Friday against Auburn and enters the game with a 2.71 ERA, 64 strikeouts, and 11 walks. South Carolina has not announced a starter for Saturday or Sunday yet. Once again, Holbrook has said that the team will use whoever they need out of the bullpen to get the win and he doesn't want to limit that by saving someone for a start. He also said that USC might do things a little differently with the bullpen in these last several games of the season by incorporating more players rather than putting so much responsibility on individual pitchers.

The Tigers will send Cole Lipscomb to the mound Friday night. The sophomore righty has a 2.24 ERA with 61 strikeouts and 17 walks. Auburn's Saturday starter is another right-hander, senior Rocky McCord. He has a 3.58 ERA with 49 strikeouts and 30 walks. Junior RHP Dalton Rentz has a 2.51 ERA with 43 strikeouts and 22 walks and will start for the Tigers on Sunday.

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: 3:30 pm

How to Watch: SEC Network

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

Game 3, Sunday

Start Time: 2 pm

How to Watch: ESPNU

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