It’s been a long and dreary winter for South Carolina fans. In the aftermath of the football team’s painful performance, the men’s basketball team has been up and mostly down — when they even get the chance to play, that is — and the women’s team, while nationally ranked and having a strong season overall, has taken a few losses that have been a shock to the system.
Enter the 2021 edition of the Gamecock baseball team, which is hopefully here to give fans a fresh injection of excitement. If you can’t recall the extremely short, COVID-truncated 2020 season, the Yardcocks compiled a 12-4 record before the sport shut down, although unfortunately not before they dropped their annual rivalry series to Clemson.
However, South Carolina appears in five of college baseball’s 11,000 preseason polls, ranked 18th by D1Baseball and Baseball America, and checking in at 20th in the USA Today coaches’ poll, 21st in Collegiate Baseball’s Top 40, and 23rd in the NCBWA writers’ poll. In Year 4 of the Mark Kingston era, there’s reason for optimism, highlighted by key returnees on the mound (Thomas Farr and Brannon Jordan) and in the field (Wes Clarke, Brady Allen, and Andrew Eyster).
The Gamecocks will start things off with a three-game series against the Dayton Flyers. First pitch on Friday is set for 4 p.m., with junior right-hander Thomas Farr (3-0, 1.72 ERA, 15.2 IP, 5 BB, 14 SO) opposing lefty Hunter Wolfe (1-1, 3.10 ERA, 20.1 IP, 9 BB, 33 SO). On Saturday at 1 p.m., South Carolina will send senior righty Brannon Jordan (2-0, 1.71 ERA, 21.0 IP, 9 BB, 32 SO) to the mound against another lefty in Ben Olson (1-1, 4.15 ERA, 17.1 IP, 9 BB, 22 SO). Finally, Sunday’s noon contest features sophomore right-hander Julian Bosnic (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 6.2 IP, 8 BB, 7 SO) getting his first weekend series start versus fellow righty Cole Pletka (2-2, 5.59 ERA, 19.1 IP, 15 BB, 24 SO).