The Gamecocks continued their winning streak Tuesday night as they beat Furman 10-2 in Greenville to improve to 24-17 (9-9 SEC). Carolina will try to keep it going as they remain on the road and travel to Nashville to face Vandy at Hawkins Field. The Gamecocks have a solid lead in the series against Vandy, with a 56-32 record overall, but lost the regular season series to the Commodores each of the last two years.
Florida is the clear top team in the SEC right now, but after that the conference standings are so jumbled that it’s nearly impossible to predict how things will shake out. Eleven teams have from 8 to 10 conference wins and the Gamecocks are right in the middle of the pack with their 9-9 record. As Coach Kingston pointed out in his press conference this week, a .500 record in SEC play has traditionally been good enough to get teams into the NCAA Tournament. So if the Gamecocks can continue to play well, they are on track to have a shot at making it back to the postseason.
|SEC East||SEC West|
|SEC East||SEC West|
|Florida 14-4 (.778)||Ole Miss (10-8, .556)|
|Georgia (10-8, .556)||Arkansas (10-8, .556)|
|Vandy (10-8, .556)||Texas A&M (9-9, .500)|
|South Carolina (9-9, .500)||Auburn (9-9, .500)|
|Missouri (8-10, .444)||LSU (9-9, .500)|
|Kentucky (8-10, .444)||Mississippi State (8-10, .444)|
|Tennessee (7-11, .389)||Alabama (5-13, .278)|
The Commodores are 24-16 (10-8 SEC) and coming off of a series loss to Missouri. The Tigers are the only SEC team besides Florida to take a series from the Commodores, as Vandy has wins over Mississippi State, LSU, Georgia, and Ole Miss. The Commodores have been excellent at home this year and have not lost a home conference series yet this season.
Vanderbilt is not one of the better offensive teams in the conference, but they are by far the most aggressive on the base paths. The Commodores have 74 stolen bases in 91 attempts (81%) this season. Austin Martin (.373/.485/.455) is the team’s best hitter and leads the SEC in stolen bases, with 17 successful steals in 23 attempts. If USC continues to pitch as well as they have for the last few games, they should be able to hold Vandy in check. But the Carolina offense will need to stay hot, especially since a team that’s as good defensively as the Commodores isn’t likely to give the Gamecocks any extra opportunities.
USC vs Vandy Stats
Logan Chapman (3.29 ERA, 40 SO, 20 BB) will again start for the Gamecocks on Friday night. One of the biggest surprises of the season is how effective the freshman RHP has been over the last two weeks after being moved from his midweek starting role into the beginning of the weekend pitching rotation. Chapman has only allowed two runs in 10.2 innings in his two SEC starts and will look to build on those strong starts to begin the series against Vandy. The Friday starter for the Commodores will be sophomore RHP Drake Fellows (3.03 ERA, 69 SO, 26 BB).
The Saturday starter for the Gamecocks will be junior RHP Adam Hill (4.05 ERA, 67 SO, 30 BB). Vandy will also send a junior RHP to the mound, as Patrick Raby (2.47 ERA, 40 SO, 19 BB) will get the start.
Sophomore RHP Cody Morris (4.18 ERA, 54 SO, 19 BB) will start for Carolina in the series finale. Vandy will send freshman RHP Mason Hickman (3.69 ERA, 44 SO, 13 BB) to the mound.
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 via SEC Network Plus.
Listen: 107.5 The Game & The Gamecock Radio Network