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#3 South Carolina Gamecocks vs #2 Texas A&M Aggies: Weekend Preview and How to Watch

The Gamecocks face the Aggies in the final SEC home series of the season

TheBigSpur

The Gamecocks beat PC on Tuesday night thanks to a great performance on the mound by Taylor Widener and a couple of homers from Alex Destino. The win improved the Carolina record to 37-11 (16-7 SEC) and the Gamecocks are 5th in the NCAA RPI.

Last weekend's loss at Kentucky was frustrating, but the Gamecocks came out of it still tied for first place in the SEC with the Florida Gators. This weekend will be important in determining the final SEC standings, as both the Gators and the Gamecocks have a huge series against a good opponent. Florida is hosting a top ten Vandy team that is just two games back in the SEC standings. The Gamecocks are hosting a talented A&M team that's at the top of the SEC West. This series against the Aggies will be big in the fight to stay at the top of the SEC, but even more importantly, it could help the Gamecocks lock up a national seed in the NCAA Tournament.

SEC East SEC West
Florida (16-7, .696) Texas A&M (16-8, .667)
South Carolina (16-7, .696) Mississippi State  (15-9, .625)
Vanderbilt (14-10, .583) LSU (14-10, .583)
Kentucky (13-11, .542) Ole Miss (14-10, .583)
Georgia (8-16, .333) Alabama (12-12, .500)
Missouri (7-17, .292) Auburn (8-16, .333)
Tennessee (7-17, .292) Arkansas (7-17, .292)

Friday night's opener is just the eighth game ever between the Aggies and the Gamecocks, and Carolina has won six of the previous seven matchups. The first meeting between the teams was in 2011 in the CWS, where the Gamecocks won 5-4 on the way to their second consecutive national championship. Carolina then swept the Aggies in Columbia in 2013 in their first series as conferences foes. Last year when the Gamecocks faced the Aggies they came out of a wild weekend in College Station with a fun and completely unexpected series win.

Texas A&M is 37-10 (16-8 SEC) and is 4th in the NCAA RPI. The Aggies have been one of the top teams in the country all season and they'll be a formidable opponent for the Gamecocks. A&M's only non-conference losses were in the opener of a series against Pepperdine and a mid-week loss to Rice. In the SEC the Aggies have series wins against Auburn, LSU, Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas. Most impressively, the Aggies swept Mississippi State in Starkville and won their series against Vandy last weekend. The lone SEC series loss for the Aggies came at the beginning of April when they were swept by the Gators in Gainesville.

South Carolina Texas A&M
Batting Average .288 .320
On-Base % .378 .398
Slugging % .411 .480
ERA 3.17 3.08
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio 3.08 3.13
Fielding % .981 .978

The Texas A&M offense is the best in the SEC and one of the best in the country. The Aggies have dangerous hitters throughout their lineup and they'll challenge the Carolina pitching staff this weekend. A&M's Boomer White (.441/.511/.570) leads the SEC in batting average and is second in the country as well. Hunter Melton (.353/.421/.598) has 10 homers this year and leads the conference with 57 RBIs. Texas A&M is tied for the SEC lead in home runs with 45 on the season.

The Texas A&M pitching is a force to be reckoned with as well. Last weekend the Aggies shut out Vandy twice, and the second of those shutout wins was a no-hitter from Kyle Simonds. The Aggies are 3rd in the SEC in ERA (right above the Gamecocks) and they're 3rd in fielding percentage too (right below the Gamecocks). South Carolina is going to have to get the offense clicking against strong A&M pitchers in order to keep up with the Aggie bats and have a shot at winning the series.

South Carolina's Friday starter, Clarke Schmidt, continues to lead the SEC in strikeouts with 98 so far this season. The sophomore right-hander also has a 2.37 ERA and has walked just 15 batters. Freshman RHP Braden Webb will start on Saturday with a 3.38 ERA. Webb is just behind Schmidt with 93 strikeouts on the year and he has 38 walks. Adam Hill will bring a 2.83 ERA into his start in the series finale on Sunday. Hill, another freshman RHP, has 64 strikeouts and 20 walks this season.

The Aggies will also start a freshman right-hander on Friday. Brigham Hill has a 2.31 ERA with 65 strikeouts and 14 walks on the season. On Saturday Texas A&M will send Turner Larkins, another sophomore RHP, to the mound. Larkins, who got his first start of the season last week against Vandy, has a 1.69 ERA with 23 strikeouts and 6 walks. The Sunday starter will be senior RHP Kyle Simonds, who has a 2.48 ERA. Simonds also has 55 strikeouts and 20 walks this season.

Game 1, Friday

When: 7 p.m.

How to Watch: SEC Network +

How to Listen: 107.5 The Game


Game 2, Saturday

When: 7:30 p.m.

How to Watch: SEC Network

How to Listen: 107.5 The Game


Game 3, Sunday

When: 4 p.m.

How to Watch: SEC Network

How to Listen: 107.5 The Game