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#2 South Carolina Gamecocks vs #1 Florida Gators: Weekend Preview and How to Watch

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The #1 team in the country is coming to Founders Park this weekend

TheBigSpur

The Gamecocks are 3rd in the NCAA RPI and went 4-0 last week to improve their overall record to 33-8 (14-4 SEC). The team got off to a bit of a rough start against Missouri, but came back to win the series opener and easily took care of the Tigers for the rest of the weekend. It was a particularly fun weekend for South Carolina as Gene Cone continued to be phenomenal at the plate and set the school record with his hitting streak.

After getting a break with no midweek game, South Carolina has their biggest series of the season so far as the Florida Gators come to town. Florida and South Carolina have been fighting for the lead in the SEC all season and their showdown as two of the best teams in the conference should be a treat. The Gamecocks enter the series ahead in the standings by one game.

SEC East SEC West
South Carolina (14-4, .778) Texas A&M (12-6, .667)
Florida (13-5, .722) LSU (10-8, .556)
Kentucky (10-8, .556) Mississippi State (10-8, .556)
Vanderbilt (10-8, .556) Ole Miss (10-8, .556)
Georgia (7-11, .389) Alabama (9-9, .500)
Tennessee (6-12, .333) Arkansas (6-12, .333)
Missouri (4-14, .222) Auburn (5-13, .278)

The overall series between the Gamecocks and the Gators is a close one, with South Carolina barely in the lead with a 43-41 all-time record against Florida. The Gators have given USC all kinds of trouble in the past several seasons, particularly last year when Carolina was swept in Gainesville and outscored by a total margin of 38-10 over the weekend. That sweep extended the Florida winning streak over the Gamecocks to six games. However, Carolina can take comfort in the fact that the last series victory over the Gators was a memorable one, and that the loss undoubtedly still stings for the Gators. That series win came in Omaha in 2011, as the Gamecocks first beat the Gators in a wild opening game of the championship series and then beat them again the next night to win the national title.

The Gators are 36-6 (13-5 SEC) and enter the weekend as the top team in NCAA RPI and the consensus #1 team in the polls. Florida has played a great schedule so far, with talented in-state rivals making it easy for the Gators to have a strong non-conference slate. Florida took two of three games in Miami from a Hurricane team that is currently ranked in the top five in every major poll. Florida has also faced a top ten Florida State team for three midweek games over the course of the season and won all three. In the SEC the Gators have swept Missouri, Texas A&M (another consensus top five team), and Arkansas. Last weekend Florida suffered a surprising series opening loss to Georgia, but took the next two games to win the series. The Gators have two series losses, one to the Wildcats in Kentucky and another to top ten Mississippi State team.

South Carolina Florida
Batting Average .296 .293
On-Base % .386 .390
Slugging % .412 .440
ERA 3.21 2.82
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio 2.86 4.48
Fielding % .980 .984

Though Florida looks a little better on paper than the Gamecocks from both a resume standpoint and statistically, this should be a great series. For a more in-depth look at how the two teams match up, check out our breakdown of the offenses here and our look at the pitching and defense of each team here.

The starting pitching in Columbia this weekend features some of the best in the conference and it begins with Clarke Schmidt on Friday night for the Gamecocks. The sophomore RHP has a 2.04 ERA, an SEC-leading 85 strikeouts, and 12 walks. Freshman Braden Webb will start on Saturday with a 3.28 ERA, 76 strikeouts, and 33 walks on the season. Finally, the Gamecocks will send another freshman right-hander to the mound in the series final on Sunday. Adam Hill has a 2.57 ERA with 58 strikeouts and 17 walks.

The Gators have a starting pitching rotation every bit as intimidating as Carolina's. Junior right-hander Logan Shore will take the mound for the Gators on Friday with a 2.14 ERA, 63 strikeouts and 9 walks. Another junior, A.J. Puk, will go for the Florida on Saturday. The lefty has a 3.07 ERA, 55 strikeouts and 16 walks. On Sunday Alex Faedo will get the start for the Gators. The sophomore RHP has a 3.32 ERA, 81 strikeouts, and 12 walks.

Game 1, Friday

When: 7 p.m.

How to Watch: SEC Network

How to Listen: 107.5 The Game

Game 2, Saturday

When: 7 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