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South Carolina vs. Liberty: Weekend Preview

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Opening Day is here, and baseball is back!

TheBigSpur

Year 2 of the Mark Kingston era is finally set to begin, as the South Carolina Gamecocks open their 2019 campaign today with a three-game series against the Liberty Flames.

South Carolina is coming off a successful 2018 that saw the Gamecocks go 37-26 (17-13 SEC) and reach the Super Regionals before falling a game short of Omaha when they were defeated by national runner-up Arkansas. While USC finished in or close to the Top 15 in most polls, it begins this season unranked after some key departures on both the mound and in the field.

Liberty, which begins its first season as part of the Atlantic Sun conference, went 32-26 (17-10 Big South) and missed the NCAA Tournament in 2018.

Most pressingly, the Gamecocks need to figure out what they’ve got in the pitching staff. Sophomore Carmen Mlodzinksi returns to grab the Friday night starting spot after going 3-0 with a save and striking out 43 batters in 45.2 innings pitched last season. Freshman Dylan Harley (Saturday) and JUCO transfer Reid Morgan (Sunday) are the new faces in the mix this weekend, so we’ll see what they bring to the table.

The Flames will counter with junior Andrew McInvale, sophomore Mason Meyer, and sophomore Noah Skirrow. McInvale and Meyer are also newcomers, while Skirrow went 4-3 with a 4.57 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 67 innings pitched in 2018.

Game 1: Friday, 4 p.m.

Game 2: Saturday, 3 p.m.

Game 3: Sunday, 1:30 p.m.

Watch: Friday and Sunday’s games will be streamed on SEC Network Plus.

Listen: All three games will be broadcast on 107.5 The Game.

The Gamecocks are 11-3 all-time against the Flames, with their most recent victory coming in a 2017 midweek matchup.