The South Carolina Gamecocks open their 2022 campaign on the diamond this afternoon, welcoming the UNC-Greensboro Spartans to Founders Park for a three-game series. South Carolina, which posted a 34-23 (16-14 SEC) mark last year, enters the season unranked and looking to make some noise in a stacked-as-usual SEC. But first: the out-of-conference tune-ups that will (hopefully) get the Gamecocks sharp and ready to disprove their preseason selection as fifth in the league.
For their part, Spartans went 27-25 in 2021, compiling a 12-17 record in Southern Conference play. They were also tabbed to finish fifth in their conference, and placed starting pitcher Austin Parsley and second baseman Hogan Windish on the All-SoCon second-team. Parsley was 8-2 with a 3.30 ERA and 62 strikeouts in 60 innings pitched, while Windish hit .280 and rapped out 10 home runs and 51 RBIs. Slugger Greg Hardison is also of note, as he batted last season for UNCG with 15 doubles and 36 RBIs.
For the opener, the Gamecocks are expected to send sophomore righty Will Sanders (6-3, 3.54 ERA, 11 BB, 54 SO) to the hill, opposed by junior right-hander Austin Koehn (4-3, 5.11 ERA, 20 BB, 52 SO). In Game 2, Junior righty James Hicks, in his first season, gets the ball for South Carolina, while senior southpaw Jared Mathewson (3-3, 5.09 ERA, 23.0 IP, 14 BB, 21 SO) takes it for UNCG. Finally, senior lefty Josiah Sightler (1-0, 4.70 ERA, 2 BB, 8 SO) will start Sunday, countered by fellow senior and right-hander Austin Parsley (8-2, 3.30 ERA, 8 BB, 62 SO).
The Gamecocks and Spartans last faced off in 2017, with South Carolina taking two from UNCG.
Game 1, Friday, 4 p.m.
Game 2, Saturday, 12:30 p.m.
Game 3, Sunday, 1:30 p.m.
All games at Founders Park and streamed on SEC Network+.