The Gamecocks will return to action Tuesday night against Charleston Southern University after a hard-to-swallow series loss to the Florida Gators last weekend. South Carolina fell in the polls after dropping their second consecutive series. The Gamecocks are now at 6th in the USA Today coaches' poll, 9th in Perfect Game, 11th in Baseball America, and 15th in Collegiate Baseball. The Gamecocks are 70-11 against the Buccaneers all-time and have not lost to Charleston Southern since 2003.
Charleston Southern is 18-20 overall, 4-11 in the Big South. The Buccaneers began the season 13-5, but have not won more than one game in a row since beginning conference play. The Buccaneers have an ERA of 5.29 and opponents are hitting .300 against them. Charleston Southern's batting average is .288 and they have an on-base percentage of .360.
South Carolina is now 28-7 (8-7 SEC). Despite a couple of rough weekends, the Gamecocks still have the second-ranked ERA in the nation at 1.82. Opponents are hitting .212 against them and their strikeout-to-walk ratio is 7th in the country at 3.26. However, the Gamecock offense has been less consistent. Though the team has plenty of good hitters, they've had trouble getting runs across in the past few games. The team's offensive numbers continue to fall; the Gamecocks are now hitting .287 with an on-base percentage of .359.
Right-handed junior Evan Beal appears to have a midweek starting spot pretty locked down for the Gamecocks. He will be on the mound again tonight in his fourth start of the season. His ERA is 1.69 with six strikeouts and three walks through 10.2 innings pitched. The Buccaneers will start junior right-hander Joe Pistacchio. He has an ERA of 4.44 through 24.1 innings pitched with 35 strikeouts and 17 walks.
The Gamecocks had only dealt with a handful of injuries prior to last weekend, but have some pretty big health issues right now. Max Schrock is still out, and while his ankle may not be completely better, his main issue right now is an illness that he can't shake. Joey Pankake strained his hamstring in Sunday's game against the Gators and had to leave the game. Connor Bright has a hyperextended right elbow. Marcus Mooney has a concussion. None of those four players are expected to play in Tuesday's game. Coach Holbrook said in the postgame press conference on Sunday that the Gamecocks have to "play our healthy guys" and make plans to be able to play without some players when the situation arises. Holbrook praised the guys that came in to play for the injured players and mentioned that Jordan Gore and Patrick Harrington may not be getting as much playing time as they should.
Start time: 7 p.m.
Location: Columbia, S.C. (Carolina Stadium)
The game will be available on the radio at 107.5 The Game and via GamecocksOnline.com All-Access