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#4 South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Missouri Tigers: Weekend Preview and How to Watch

The Gamecocks host the Tigers at Founders Park


The Gamecocks improved to 30-8 (11-4 SEC) with a fun, blowout win over Furman on Wednesday night. South Carolina is now 4th in the RPI and begins a stretch of seven consecutive home games by hosting the Missouri Tigers at Founders Park this weekend.

Despite last week's disappointing series loss to Georgia, the Gamecocks still find themselves in a great position at the halfway point of SEC play. South Carolina is 11-4 in the conference and remains at the top of the SEC standings. Florida swept Arkansas last week to catch back up to Carolina, so the Gamecocks are once again sharing their spot at the top with the Gators. The Gamecocks have the opportunity to open the second half of the conference schedule strong as they host a Missouri team that is at the bottom of the SEC standings.

SEC East SEC West
Florida (11-4, .733) Texas A&M (10-5, .667)
South Carolina (11-4, .733) LSU (9-6, .600)
Kentucky (9-6, .600) Alabama (8-7, .533)
Vanderbilt (9-6, .600) Mississippi State (8-7, .533)
Georgia (6-9, .400) Ole Miss (7-8, .467)
Missouri (4-11, .267) Auburn (5-10, .333)
Tennessee (4-11, .267) Arkansas (4-11, .267)

Since South Carolina and Missouri never faced each other in baseball prior to Missouri joining the SEC, Friday's series opener will mark just the 11th game between the Gamecocks and the Tigers. South Carolina has an overall 6-4 record against Missouri, with series victories in 2013 and 2014 and a series loss in the other Columbia last year. Carolina's final game last season was a 5-1 loss to Missouri in Hoover that eliminated the Gamecocks from the SEC Tournament.

Missouri is 20-18 (4-11 SEC) and enters this weekend on a four-game losing streak after being swept by LSU over the weekend. The Tigers were also swept by Florida and Vandy in conference play and their only SEC wins have come in series wins over Arkansas and Auburn.

South Carolina Missouri
Batting Average .294 .253
On-Base % .385 .363
Slugging % .411 .375
ERA 3.26 4.29
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio 2.85 2.65
Fielding % .979 .959

Like last weekend, the Gamecocks are facing a team that is near the bottom of the conference by most measures. Missouri's defense in particular has been a liability, and the offense has struggled this season as well. The Tigers get solid contributions from Zach Lavy, whose .338 BA and 34 RBI lead the team, and Jake Ring (.326), but overall Missouri just doesn't have a very strong lineup. The Tigers are one of the more aggressive teams in the SEC on the basepaths (56 of 77 in stolen bases), so it's likely that they'll try to run on the Gamecocks this weekend.

Hopefully the Gamecocks can keep things from being too much like last weekend by playing at a level that demonstrates why they're near the top of the conference in most categories. While it probably had something to do with Furman being the easiest opponent the Gamecocks have faced in a few weeks, it was still good to see the offense break out of their slump earlier this week. If South Carolina can build on Wednesday's performance with a weekend of strong hitting against the Tigers then they should be in good shape.

As usual, the Gamecocks will start Clarke Schmidt on Friday. The junior right-hander continues to be fantastic for the Gamecocks this season with a 1.66 ERA. Schmidt's 80 strikeouts lead the SEC and he has issued just 10 walks. Freshman RHP Braden Webb will start on Saturday and try to bounce back from a rough outing against Georgia. Webb lasted less than 3 innings against the Bulldogs and allowed as many earned runs as he had in his previous 4 SEC starts combined. His ERA is now 3.46 and he has 66 strikeouts and 27 walks this season. Adam Hill, a freshman RHP with a 2.95 ERA, will get the start in Sunday's series finale. Hill has 50 strikeouts and 16 walks and has been a reliable weekend starter since getting moved to the Sunday spot a month into the season.

Senior right-hander Reggie McClain will take the mound for Missouri Friday night. He has a 3.92 ERA with 54 strikeouts and just 5 walks on the year. McClain gave the Gamecocks a hard time last year as he started twice against Carolina and allowed just 3 runs in 15.1 innings. Tanner Houck, a sophomore right-hander, will start on Saturday for the Tigers. Houck has a 3.22 ERA with 70 strikeouts and 18 walks. Missouri's Sunday starter will be LHP Micahel Plassmeyer. The freshman has a 4.91 ERA with 22 strikeouts and 7 walks.

Game 1, Friday

When: 7 p.m.

How to Watch: SEC Network +

How to Listen: 107.5 The Game

Game 2, Saturday

When: 4 p.m.

How to Watch: SEC Network +

How to Listen: 107.5 The Game

Game 3, Sunday

When: 1:30 p.m.

How to Watch: SEC Network +

How to Listen: 107.5 The Game