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#6 South Carolina Gamecocks at Alabama Crimson Tide: Weekend Preview and How to Watch

South Carolina travels to Alabama for the regular season finale against the Tide


The Gamecocks kept the offense rolling in a blowout win over the Citadel on Tuesday night. The victory improved their record to 39-13 (17-9 SEC) and the Gamecocks are 7th in the NCAA RPI. South Carolina wraps up the regular season with a Thursday to Saturday trip to Tuscaloosa to play Alabama at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

The SEC regular season is in for an exciting finish over the next three days. Six teams, including South Carolina, still have a shot to finish in first place in the SEC. The Gamecocks could also finish as low as eighth in the standings. There are far too many scenarios to go through them all here, but the Gamecocks need a series win to feel comfortable about getting a top four seed (and the first-round bye that comes with it) for the SEC Tournament. Carolina really needs a sweep this weekend, both to have a good shot at winning the SEC outright and to solidify their position in the race for a national seed. Right now both D1 Baseball and Baseball America are still projecting the Gamecocks as a national seed, but a bad weekend in Tuscaloosa would probably change that.

SEC East SEC West
Florida (18-8, .692) Mississippi State (18-9, .667)
South Carolina (17-9, .654) Texas A&M (18-9, .667)
Vanderbilt (15-12, .556) LSU (17-10, .630)
Kentucky (12-14, .481) Ole Miss (17-10, .630)
Georgia (10-17, .370) Alabama (15-12, .556)
Missouri (8-19, .296) Auburn (8-19, .296)
Tennessee (7-20, .259) Arkansas (7-20, .259)

The Gamecocks have a 31-26 lead in the all-time series against the Tide. Carolina's last visit to Alabama, in 2011, was one of just two times that USC has come out of Tuscaloosa with a series win. South Carolina has won the last four series against Alabama, three of which (2010, 2012, 2014) were played in Columbia.

The Tide is 31-21 (15-12 SEC) and is 44th in the NCAA RPI. Alabama opened conference play with series wins at LSU and against Tennessee. They also have a series wins over Ole Miss, Auburn, and Arkansas. Alabama avoided being swept in any of their series losses, which came against Georgia, Kentucky, Texas A&M, and Mississippi State. Alabama enters their series with the Gamecocks on a four-game winning streak after sweeping Arkansas over the weekend and beating Samford on Tuesday night.

South Carolina Alabama
Batting Average .287 .252
On-Base % .382 .341
Slugging % .410 .351
ERA 3.28 3.34
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio 2.89 2.47
Fielding % .980 .970

The clear strength of Alabama's team this season has been pitching and two of the regular starters are in the top ten in the SEC in ERA. The offense has struggled though and the Tide's batting average is 12th in the SEC, just barely above Georgia and Missouri. Only two Alabama players have a batting average over .300 and neither one is a regular starter. However, Chandler Taylor (.264/.402/.466) and Will Haynie (.226/.298/.432) are both legitimate threats as Taylor's 8 homers and Haynie's 9 homers account for a large portion of the team's 26 total home runs. Despite the general offensive struggles, the Tide has done enough at the plate to take advantage of good pitching and earn some great wins in a ridiculously tough year in the SEC. This Alabama team will not be a pushover as the Gamecocks look for a series win this weekend.

South Carolina is hoping that they can sustain the offense they seem to have rediscovered over the past two games. Sunday's win against A&M was a good one and even though whipping a bad Citadel team is nothing to get too worked up about, it hopefully means that the Gamecocks have broken out of their offensive slump and regained some much-needed confidence at the plate. Carolina will need to continue to get contributions from players throughout the lineup to win in Tuscaloosa this weekend, especially as they face off with the Tide's strong pitching staff.

South Carolina's Thursday starter, Clarke Schmidt, enters the final regular season series still leading the league in strikeouts with 102. The sophomore RHP has a 2.46 ERA to go along with that and has walked just 17 batters. Freshman RHP Braden Webb will start on Friday with a 3.48 ERA. He is just behind Schmidt in strikeouts with 100 and he has 40 walks on the season. Adam Hill will get the start in the regular season finale on Saturday. The freshman right-hander has a 3.18 ERA with 66 strikeouts and 22 walks.

Alabama also has a couple of right-handed starters lined up for the series, beginning with Geoffrey Bramblett on Thursday. The junior has a 2.71 ERA with 67 strikeouts and 28 walks on the season. On Friday sophomore Jake Walters will take the mound for the Tide. Walters has a 2.03 ERA with 76 strikeouts and 29 walks. The Sunday starter for Alabama has not yet been announced.

Game 1, Thursday

When: 8 p.m.

How to Watch: SEC Network +

How to Listen: 107.5 The Game

Game 2, Friday

When: 8 p.m.

How to Watch: SEC Network +

How to Listen: 107.5 The Game

Game 3, Saturday

When: 3 p.m.

How to Watch: SEC Network +

How to Listen: 107.5 The Game