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#18 South Carolina Gamecocks at #9 Florida Gators: Weekend Preview and How to Watch

The Gamecocks need a series win in Gainesville

The Gamecocks managed a comeback win against Davidson on Tuesday to improve to 23-13 (8-7 SEC) and will try to keep a winning streak going as they begin a series at McKethan Stadium against Florida on Thursday. The Gamecocks have a narrow 44-42 lead in the overall series with Florida, but they’ll have to break a tough losing streak in Gainesville to keep that lead, as Carolina has been swept in their last two trips to Florida. In fact, the Gamecocks have not won a series against the Gators since a particularly memorable one in 2011.

The Gamecocks slipped in the overall SEC standings after dropping yet another SEC series last weekend. Thanks to a 5-1 SEC start (against two of the worst teams in the SEC) and avoiding being swept in any of the three series losses, the Gamecocks finished the first half of conference schedule just over .500. They are tied for second in the East with this weekend’s opponent, the Florida Gators. The struggles of the last three weekends mean that even though the Gamecocks have three more ranked SEC opponents in a row, the margin for error in the second half of the conference schedule is thin.

SEC Standings

SEC East SEC West
SEC East SEC West
Kentucky (10-5, .667) Arkansas (11-4, .733)
Florida (8-7, .533) Auburn (10-5, .667)
South Carolina (8-7, .533) Mississippi State (10-5, .667)
Missouri (7-8, .467) LSU (9-6, .600)
Vanderbilt (7-8, .467) Texas A&M (8-7, .533)
Tennessee (4-11, .267) Ole Miss (7-8, .467)
Georgia (4-11, .267) Alabama (2-13, .133)

Florida is 25-12 (8-7 SEC) and is coming off of a Tuesday win over North Florida. The Gators swept their non-conference rivalry series with both Miami and Florida State, but the Gators were swept in a two-game series by Florida Gulf Coast and have had a few other midweek struggles. Florida has been up and down in SEC play. They have series wins against LSU, at Missouri, and last weekend at Vandy. But they were swept by Auburn to open conference play and two weeks ago they dropped a home series to Tennessee.

Like South Carolina, Florida has excellent pitching but has frequently struggled offensively. Despite the general offensive problems, the Gators are one of the most aggressive teams in the SEC on the base paths and have stolen 51 bases in 65 attempts this season. The Gators are a team that will be able to take advantage of any defensive miscues that the Gamecocks have, so Carolina will have to tighten up and avoid the kinds of errors that have plagued them in the last few games.

USC vs Florida Stats

Stat South Carolina Florida
Stat South Carolina Florida
Batting Average 0.271 0.254
On-Base % 0.354 0.345
Slugging % 0.406 0.375
ERA 3.14 3.10
Strikeout-to-Walk Ratio 2.98 3.21
Fielding % 0.977 0.977

Junior RHP Clarke Schmidt (1.31 ERA, 68 SO, 15 BB) will start for the Gamecocks on Thursday. The Florida starter will be junior RHP Alex Faedo (2.84 ERA, 68 SO, 16 BB). Schmidt and Faedo’s 68 strikeouts are tied for fourth in the SEC.

On Friday junior RHP Wil Crowe (3.49 ERA, 56 SO, 19 BB) will take the mound for Carolina. The Gators will start sophomore right-hander Brady Singer (1.68 ERA, 55 SO, 15 BB).

Sophomore RHP Adam Hill (2.14 ERA, 55 SO, 21 BB) will start for Carolina in the series finale on Saturday. The Saturday starter for Florida will also be a sophomore RHP, Jackson Kowar (3.51 ERA, 43 SO, 25 BB).

Game 1: Thursday, 7:30 p.m.

Game 2: Friday, 7 p.m.

Game 3: Saturday, 12 p.m.

Watch: All three games of the series will be televised. Thursday’s game will be on ESPNU, Friday’s game will be on SEC Network, and Saturday’s game will be on ESPN2.

Listen: All three games will be on the radio on 107.5 The Game & The Gamecock Radio