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#6 South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Tennessee Volunteers: Weekend Preview and How to Watch

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The Gamecocks face their first unranked SEC opponent of the season as they host the Vols at Founders Park

TheBigSpur

The Gamecocks improved to 25-5 (7-2 SEC) on Tuesday with a win over Coastal Carolina. USC has a home series against Tennessee this weekend before hitting the road for five consecutive away games.

Despite last weekend's series loss, the Gamecocks remain atop the SEC standings. They are tied with the Gators for the lead in both the East and the conference overall. The Gamecocks have a chance to try to pull back ahead of Florida over the next few weeks as they face the three teams at the bottom of the SEC East while the Gators take on West division leader Mississippi State this weekend and face a ranked Razorback team in Arkansas next week.

SEC East SEC West
Florida (7-2, .778) Mississippi State (6-3, .667)
South Carolina (7-2, .778) Alabama (5-4, .556)
Kentucky (6-3, .667) Arkansas (4-5, .444)
Vanderbilt (6-3, .667) LSU (4-5, .444)
Georgia  (4-5, .444) Texas A&M (4-5, .444)
Tennessee (3-6, .333) Ole Miss (3-6, .333)
Missouri (2-7, .222) Auburn (2-7, .222)

The Vols are 18-11 (3-6 SEC) and are coming off of a midweek win over Morehead State. Tennessee has faced Ole Miss, Alabama and Kentucky in SEC play. They have yet to win a conference series, though they have managed to avoid getting swept so far.

The Gamecocks lead the all-time series with Tennessee 55-36 and are 32-14 against the Vols in Columbia. Last year's series loss in Knoxville was the first for the Gamecocks since 2006. Tennessee's last visit to Columbia (in 2014) was a memorable one, as the Gamecocks swept what ended up being an incredibly fun series.  The Friday night game went to extras, was delayed due to rain, and was resumed and won on a walk-off homer on Saturday. In the second game of the series the Gamecocks trailed 3-6 and were down to their last out with nobody on base in the 9th, then staged an improbable comeback that culminated in a Grayson Greiner walk-off grand slam. The Gamecocks finished off the Vols with an 8-0 shutout victory on Sunday.


South Carolina
Tennessee
Batting Average
.302 .309
On-Base % .390 .394
Slugging % .427 .437
ERA 2.47 3.94
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio 3.18 1.84
Fielding % .978 .968

The Gamecocks remain the only team in the SEC with all three weekend starters in the top ten in the conference in ERA and Carolina's team ERA is still in the top ten nationally. Though Tennessee doesn't look as intimidating as Carolina's first three SEC opponents, they have an offense that could test the pitching staff and defense. Only A&M, Auburn and Mississippi State have a better batting average than the Vols and Tennessee's offense is led by Nick Senzel and Benito Santiago, who are both hitting over .390. The Vols are also one of the more aggressive teams in the conference in terms of stealing, with 48 stolen bases in 60 attempts.

Alex Destino, who has been one of Carolina's best hitters this season, is likely to be out for the Tennessee series. While Holbrook was initially hopeful that Destino would be back this Friday after injuring his shoulder last weekend, he said on Thursday that he was "less optimistic" and is "a little bit doubtful" that Destino will be ready to go against the Vols.

Sophomore RHP Clarke Schmidt, who has a 1.80 ERA, will go in his usual Friday night role for the Gamecocks. Schmidt is tied for the lead in the SEC in strikeouts with 60 and has just 7 walks this season. Braden Webb, whose impressive performance at Vandy earned him SEC Freshman of the Week honors for the second week in a row, will start on Saturday. The freshman right-hander has a 1.70 ERA with 53 strikeouts and 22 walks. Freshman Adam Hill will take the mound Sunday with a 2.51 ERA, 46 strikeouts, and 12 walks.

The Vols will start all lefties, beginning with Aaron Soto on Friday night. The sophomore has a 3.38 ERA with 14 strikeouts and 6 walks this season. On Saturday the Vols will send sophomore Zach Warren to the mound. He has a 2.98 ERA with 40 strikeouts and 13 walks. The Sunday starter for Tennessee will be senior Andy Cox. His ERA is 7.07 and he has 35 strikeouts and 27 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