A nice offensive showing for the Gamecocks powered them to a Wednesday night win over Liberty that improved their record to 29-19 (11-13 SEC) for the season. Carolina travels to Taylor Stadium in the other Columbia to take on the Missouri Tigers this weekend in the last road series of the regular season.
With their sixth SEC series loss in a row last week South Carolina remained right in the middle of the SEC East standings. The Gamecocks are probably safely in the SEC Tournament, though they aren’t guaranteed a spot in Hoover yet. More importantly, the Gamecocks can still finish over .500 in the SEC if they take care of business in the last two weeks of the season. A strong SEC finish should be enough to get the Gamecocks into the NCAA Tournament, while struggling against Missouri and Georgia over the next two weekends would almost certainly eliminate the chance for a postseason spot.
|SEC East||SEC West|
|SEC East||SEC West|
|Florida (16-8, .667)||Mississippi State (16-8, .667)|
|Kentucky (15-9, .625)||LSU (15-9, .625)|
|Vanderbilt (12-11, .522)||Arkansas (14-9, .609)|
|South Carolina (11-13, .458)||Texas A&M (14-10, .583)|
|Missouri (9-15, .375)||Auburn (14-10, .583)|
|Tennessee (7-15, .318)||Ole Miss (11-13, .458)|
|Georgia (7-17, .292)||Alabama (5-19, .208)|
The Tigers are 29-20 (9-15 SEC) and have gotten some rest this week since they didn’t play any midweek games. After a loss to Eastern Michigan to start the season, Mizzou won 20 games in a row, including a sweep of Alabama at the beginning of SEC play. However the Tigers have struggled since Arkansas snapped that win streak and took the series from them in late March, and their only other SEC series win is against Georgia. Missouri has series losses to Kentucky, Ole Miss, and Vandy, and was swept by Florida and Texas A&M.
The Missouri pitching staff is solid and will test the Gamecock offense, though the Tigers have struggled defensively this season. Missouri’s offense looks a lot like South Carolina’s in most overall statistical categories, but the Tigers have a bigger drop off in performance in conference play, as they are hitting just .217 in SEC play while Carolina is hitting .243 in SEC games. One thing South Carolina will have to watch out for this weekend is Missouri’s aggression on the bases. With 70 stolen bases in 99 attempts, the Tigers run more than any other team in the conference.
USC vs Missouri Stats
The Friday night starter for Carolina is junior RHP Wil Crowe (3.59 ERA, 63 SO, 25 BB). Missouri will give freshman LHP T.J. Sikkema (2.39 ERA, 67 SO, 15 BB) his first career start on Friday night. Sikkema has been one of Missouri’s most valuable players out of the bullpen this season and opponents are hitting just .172 against him.
Sophomore RHP Adam Hill (2.82 ERA, 68 SO, 31 BB) will take the mound for Carolina on Saturday. Junior RHP Tanner Houck (2.88 ERA, 81 SO, 20 BB) will start for the Tigers.
As has been the case since Schmidt got hurt, Carolina’s Sunday starter is TBA. Missouri will start junior RHP Bryce Montes De Oca (3.97 Era, 48 SO, 35 BB).
Game 1: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Game 2: Saturday, 3 p.m.
Game 3: Sunday, 2 p.m.
Watch: All three games will be available online via SEC Network Plus
Listen: All three games will be on the radio on 107.5 The Game & The Gamecock Radio Network