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#7 South Carolina Gamecocks vs #24 Tennessee Volunteers: Weekend Preview and How To Watch

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The Gamecocks hit the road for their SEC opener

TheBigSpur

South Carolina has had nearly a full week off after having both the Sunday series finale against Michigan State and Tuesday’s game against Furman canceled due to cold weather. The 11-5 Gamecocks will finally get back on the field on Friday as they begin SEC play against Tennessee at Lindsey Nelson Stadium in Knoxville. The Gamecocks have won nine of the last ten series against the Vols, with the lone series loss in that stretch coming in 2015 in their last trip to Knoxville.

The Vols are 12-2, with their only losses coming to Memphis and Cincinnati. The Vols won their last three games and are coming off of an 18-4 blowout of Austin Peay on Wednesday. The Tennessee offense is one of the best in the SEC so far this season and is led by Jeff Moberg (.475/.537/.831), who is also leading the SEC in batting average.

USC vs Tennessee Stats

Stat South Carolina Tennessee
Stat South Carolina Tennessee
Batting Average 0.275 0.326
On-Base % 0.354 0.419
Slugging % 0.424 0.488
ERA 3.02 2.86
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio 2.89 3.47
Fielding % 0.977 0.972

The Gamecocks are dealing with several injuries to key players as they enter SEC play. TJ Hopkins, who has been a significant part of the Gamecock offense, left Friday’s game against Michigan State due to a leg injury. He made the trip to Knoxville with the team and Holbrook said that Hopkins is likely to just pinch hit or DH rather than start in the outfield if he does play. LT Tolbert, another regular starter, was pulled from the Saturday game against Michigan State after he injured his hand, but he is expected to play against the Vols. South Carolina closer Tyler Johnson has not pitched since being pulled from the second game of the Clemson series with arm soreness. He will not be available against Tennessee and it may be a couple more weeks before he is ready to pitch again. In another unfortunate hit to the pitching staff, USC announced on Thursday that Clarke Schmidt will not be starting Friday night due to an oblique strain, though he may be ready to pitch on Sunday.

Adam Hill (1.56 ERA, 20 SO, 7 BB) will pitch in place of Clarke Schmidt on Friday night. The sophomore RHP is well-rested since he didn’t pitch last week due to Sunday’s cancellation. Senior RHP Hunter Martin will start for the Vols Friday. Martin has a 3.68 ERA with 29 strikeouts and 4 walks.

The Gamecocks will go with Wil Crowe, their regular Saturday starter, in the second game of the series. Crowe, a junior RHP, has a 2.25 ERA with 31 strikeouts and 7 walks. Junior lefty Zach Warren (3.44 ERA, 14 SO, 8 BB) will take the mound for the Vols on Saturday.

South Carolina’s Sunday starter is TBA, as Schmidt may or may not be able to pitch. Sophomore right-hander Will Neely, who has a 4.91 ERA with 6 strikeouts and 4 walks, will start for Tennessee on Sunday.

Game 1: Friday, 7 p.m.

Game 2: Saturday, 2 p.m.

Game 3: Sunday, 2 p.m.

How to Watch: Both the Friday and Saturday games can be viewed online via SEC Network Plus. In addition, Friday’s game will be part of the SEC Network Bases Loaded coverage of opening night of SEC play. Sunday’s game will be televised on ESPNU.

How to Listen: Friday’s game will be on the radio at 1320 AM and will be on 107.5 FM The Game between the conclusion of the USC women’s basketball NCAA Tournament game and the beginning of coverage of the USC men’s basketball NCAA Tournament game. Saturday’s game will be on the radio on 107.5 The Game. Sunday’s radio coverage is TBA and depends on the results of Friday’s basketball games.