The Gamecocks have won their opening SEC series each of the last five seasons, including starting conference play with a series sweep for the last three years. But South Carolina has their work cut out for them to keep that trend going, as they open SEC play tonight against the defending national champions. While hosting the Gators is a tough way to start what will be a grueling conference schedule, head coach Mark Kingston sees it as an opportunity and called Florida a “great test” for Carolina.
The overall series with Florida is almost dead even, with a narrow 45-44 South Carolina lead all-time. The Gamecocks were dominant against Florida for much of the 2000s, particularly in 2011. But Carolina is 5-15 against the Gators since 2011 and desperately needs to get back to being competitive against their division rival.
The Gamecocks beat Harvard Wednesday to improve to 12-5 and continue the winning streak they’ve been on since the Clemson series. It’s been encouraging to see USC bounce back and play well over the last couple of weeks, so hopefully the team can continue to move in the right direction as they face off against better competition this weekend.
The Gators are 16-3 with their only losses coming to Miami and in two games against UCF. The Gators do pretty much everything well, but Kingston praised their offense in particular, saying he thinks it may be better than last year. That offense is led by Jonathan India (.377/.500/.811), who leads the team in home runs with 6, and JJ Schwarz (.352/.435/.620). The Gators have four other players in their regular lineup also hitting above .300. Florida’s weekend pitching rotation is also very good, so Carolina is going to need to be at their best this weekend to have a chance to pull off the upset.
USC vs Florida Stats
Friday night Adam Hill (3.91 ERA, 43 SO, 7 BB) will take the mound for the Gamecocks. Hill leads the SEC in strikeouts and Carolina will need him to have his best stuff against the strong Gator offense. Florida will start junior RHP Brady Singer (2.08 ERA, 25 SO, 3 BB).
On Saturday sophomore RHP Cody Morris (4.05 ERA, 19 SO, 11 BB) will start for Carolina. Junior RHP Jackson Kowar (2.05 ERA, 27 SO, 8 BB) will get the start for the Gators.
The Carolina starter for Sunday is once again TBA, as the coaching staff is still working out the best way to use the pitchers. The Florida starter Sunday will be sophomore RHP Tyler Dyson (1.07 ERA, 24 SO, 4 BB).
Game 1: Friday, 7 p.m.
Game 2: Saturday, 4 p.m.
Game 3: Sunday, 1 p.m.
Watch: The first two games will be available to stream on SEC Network Plus. Sunday’s game will be on TV on ESPNU.
Listen: 107.5 The Game & The Gamecock Radio IMG Network