Carolina defeated Wofford Wednesday night to improve to 26-17 (10-11 SEC). The Gamecocks travel to Baton Rouge this weekend to take on LSU at Alex Box Stadium in the first of two consecutive SEC road series.
The SEC race is still knotted up at the top, with three teams sitting at 14-7 and four at 13-8 with three weeks of conference play left. The Gamecocks are right in the middle of the SEC East standings and dropped below .500 in conference play with last weekend’s series loss to Kentucky. Carolina will have to go 6-3 in their last three series to finish above .500 in the SEC, meaning they need at least two series wins. A road series against yet another ranked team is a tough place to start, but if the Gamecocks can steal a couple against the Tigers this weekend they’ll be well positioned for a decent finish.
|SEC East||SEC West|
|SEC East||SEC West|
|Kentucky (14-7, .667)||Auburn (14-7, .667)|
|Florida (13-8, .619)||Mississippi State (14-7, .667)|
|Vanderbilt (10-10, .500)||Arkansas (13-8, .619)|
|South Carolina (10-11, .476)||Texas A&M (13-8, .619)|
|Missouri (8-13, .381)||LSU (13-8, .619)|
|Tennessee (6-14, .300)||Ole Miss (11-10, .524)|
|Georgia (5-16, .238)||Alabama (2-19, .095)|
The Tigers are 30-15 (13-8 SEC) and are coming off of a sweep of Alabama last weekend. LSU also has series wins over Georgia, Arkansas, and Ole Miss. They’ve lost to Florida, Texas A&M and Kentucky and, like the Gamecocks, have avoided being swept in any of their losses. The Tigers have an impressive team all the way around. They’re the best defensive team in the SEC, one of the best offensive teams in the conference, and they have a talented pitching staff. The player to watch for the Tigers is Greg Deichmann (.343/.434/.669), who leads in home runs with 15 and RBI with 53.
If the Carolina pitching and defense can hold the Tigers in check and avoid the late-game issues that have plagued them this season, the Gamecocks offense will have a chance against the LSU pitchers. The Tigers have a good pitching staff, but their ERA in SEC games is 4.69 and conference opponents are hitting .272 against them. Between nagging injuries to Chris Cullen and TJ Hopkins and slumps from early-season contributors Matt Williams and Alex Destino, Holbrook has struggled to find a consistent, productive lineup. But if Riley Hogan and Ross Grosvenor, who have stepped up and hit well over the past few games, can continue to contribute this weekend then the Gamecock offense should be able to do enough to give Carolina a shot at winning the series.
USC vs LSU Stats
Carolina’s Friday starter will be junior RHP Wil Crowe (3.56 ERA, 63 SO, 22 BB). The Tigers are also starting a junior RHP in Alex Lange (3.31 ERA, 86 SO, 26 BB), who leads the SEC in strikeouts.
Sophomore RHP Adam Hill (2.30 ERA, 62 SO, 28 BB) will take the mound for the Gamecocks on Saturday. LSU will start Jared Poche (3.55 ERA, 46 SO, 16 BB), a senior lefty.
The Sunday starter for the Gamecocks is once again TBA. Freshman RHP Eric Walker (3.69 ERA, 52 SO, 14 BB) will start the series finale for the Tigers.
Game 1: Friday, 8 p.m.
Game 2: Saturday, 8 p.m.
Game 3: Sunday, 3 p.m.
Watch: Friday’s game will be available online via SEC Network Plus. Saturday’s game will be televised on SEC Network and Sunday’s game will be on ESPN.
Listen: All three games will be on the radio on 107.5 The Game & The Gamecock Radio Network