The Gamecocks improved to 31-21 (12-15 SEC) with a Tuesday night win over USC Upstate. They begin their final series of the regular season Thursday night against Georgia in Founders Park. Though Carolina has a 64-55 lead in the overall series against Georgia, the Gamecocks have struggled against the Bulldogs over the last few years and haven’t won the series since 2013. South Carolina will need to change that this weekend, as their NCAA Tournament hopes are in a precarious place and the Gamecocks can’t afford another series loss.
The SEC is set for a fantastic end to the season this weekend, as the two teams atop the SEC East standings play each other and the two teams atop the SEC West play each other. While the top teams battle for the regular season conference title and the top four seeds in Hoover, the bottom few SEC teams are fighting to avoid being left out of the conference tournament altogether. Fortunately the Gamecocks are safely in Hoover, as they can finish no worse than 12th in the SEC.
|SEC East||SEC West|
|SEC East||SEC West|
|Florida (19-8, .704)||LSU (18-9, .667)|
|Kentucky (18-9, .667)||Mississippi State (17-10, .630)|
|Vanderbilt (13-13, .500)||Arkansas (16-10, .615)|
|South Carolina (12-15, .444)||Texas A&M (15-12, .556)|
|Missouri (11-16, .407)||Auburn (14-13, .519)|
|Georgia (9-18, .333)||Ole Miss (13-14, .481)|
|Tennessee (7-18, .280)||Alabama (5-22, .185)|
Georgia is 23-30 (9-18 SEC) and has been bad for most of the season. Unfortunately for the Gamecocks, the Bulldogs have gotten hot over the past couple of weekends and managed series wins over both Kentucky and Mississippi State. Prior to those wins, their only series victory was against Tennessee and they were swept by LSU, Arkansas and Florida. Even with good showings over the past two weekends the Bulldogs are at or near the bottom of the SEC in nearly every statistical category.
Like the Gamecocks, Georgia has a lackluster offense overall but does have a few strong hitters in the lineup. Tucker Bradley (.331/.394/.374) leads the team in batting average and is hitting .371 in SEC play. Michael Curry (.310/.397/.507) leads the Bulldogs in home runs with 10 and RBI with 46. Even with a few hitters to watch out for, Carolina should be able to limit the Bulldog offense. Georgia’s pitching and defense have been unimpressive this season, so Carolina’s offense will have the opportunity to score if they can execute with men on base and get contributions from throughout the lineup.
USC vs Georgia Stats
The bad injury luck for the Gamecocks continued this week as the team lost two regular starters. Chris Cullen, who has missed a lot of playing time already due to a knee injury, had surgery and is officially out for the remainder of the season. Madison Stokes, who has been the starter at shortstop all season, is also out after breaking his wrist against Missouri last weekend. With the depth being tested, the Gamecocks will need some players that haven’t contributed as much this season to step up in the final series and next week in Hoover.
Junior RHP Wil Crowe (3.50 ERA, 72 SO, 27 BB) will start on Thursday for the Gamecocks. Thursday’s starter for Georgia will be senior LHP Andrew Gist (4.13 ERA, 74 SO, 18 BB). On Friday Carolina will start sophomore RHP Adam Hill (3.11 ERA, 75 SO, 33 BB). Sophomore LHP Kevin Smith (5.17 ERA, 62 SO, 26 BB) will start for the Bulldogs on Friday. Neither team has announced a starter for Saturday’s series finale.
Game 1: Thursday, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 3: Saturday, 3 p.m.
Watch: The Thursday and Friday games will be available online via SEC Network Plus. Saturday’s game will be televised on SEC Network.
Listen: All three games will be on the radio on 107.5 The Game & The Gamecock Radio Network.