Here are my thoughts from this weekend of College Baseball:
Gamecocks – I’m not going to take the next 4 or 5 minutes of your life and repeat what you already know about the lack of production with runners on base. It’s been going on for multiple series now and just because Sunday was different, it’s just 1 game and as of now, that’s the outlier of the past few weeks.
However, there are a few things I’d like to point out from this weekend before we discuss what these results mean for USC’s future.
- Hopkins’ injury could be really devastating. I was hoping after this weekend, Holbrook would see his value in starting every game. Now it doesn’t matter.
- Weidner is getting hot at the right time. He makes this pitching staff even tougher. I know he struggled to get the last out but I’ve been a lot more impressed with his command lately.
- Maybe the lucky bounce LT Tolbert got late Sunday will get him going. He’s been really struggling. I’d like to see Matt Williams play more.
- Stokes’ D needs some work but his power is really coming along. He continues to struggle with runners on but he needs be up in the order.
- The numbers with RISP are incredibly bad. I still believe they’ll improve some over the next few weeks due to the luck of the draw.
- Adam Hill wasn’t his best but the A&M lineup is incredible. He needs to and will stay the 3rd starter. This staff is so good.
- OH…CAN ALL THIS HOLBROOK DEBATE JUST STOP ALREADY! You can not like a thing or 2 but still like the job he’s doing. Both sides are so dead set on it being all or nothing…one way or the other. That’s absurd.
Now…onto where the Gamecocks go from here.
This was the series we kept telling you mattered the most..and it did. Unless the SEC gets 4 national seeds, the Gamecocks, barring an SEC tournament championship, are out of the hunt. Florida, Texas A&M, and Mississippi St., are likely the 3 locks. USC, Ole Miss, LSU, and Vandy are up for regionals and at least 3 will get them. With Ole Miss at Texas A&M, and LSU hosting Florida, and Vandy 3 back in the loss column, the Gamecocks are pretty much a lock for a regional with that RPI. USC will in all likely hood need just 1 win at Alabama for 40 total and they’ll be fine.
However, if the Gamecocks aren’t careful and lose another series (no series wins in the final half), USC could find themselves as one of the last regional hosts and matched up with Miami. USC won’t of course be matched up with an SEC national seed and if they are close to 9th, they’ll avoid Miami. Louisville is a possibility but so would the other 2 spots. The Cardinals are a very good team but you want to avoid Miami.
Overall, winning Sunday was important. You never want to get swept at home and it gives you a win against a top team. USC is now 6-5 against the top 4 teams they played and 4-2 on the road.
If the Gamecocks aren’t a national seed, that is certainly disappointing based on how the Gamecocks started SEC play. But I love what Chad Holbrook told his team Sunday in that they had already passed his expectations. It gave the Gamecocks a very noticeable confidence boost and it showed in their antics before the game and in the dugout. Plus..THEY FINALLY GOT A HIT WITH A RUNNER IN SCORING POSITION!!!!
I will say with the west coast and Big 12 continuing to struggle…NC St. got swept, and FSU losing the series against Duke…a 4th national seed remains a strong possibility for the simple fact of “who you gonna take?” But that doesn’t of course mean it would go to USC. Nonetheless, a series win against Alabama would be a very good one…and much needed before postseason play. You never want the committee to see that many series without a win to end the season.
There’s still enough time to get the bats going, but they’ve been pretty terrible lately. But like I said above, you know that already. What will it take to snap out of it??? Well, with Hopkins out, there’s not a lot of other options. Mooney really grounds into way to many double plays to bat 2nd, but without Hopkins…there really is no other option. Jones…well we’ve been down that road before. USC could really use more production at 1st base.
The Gamecocks just needs to continue to play relaxed as they did on Sunday. It looks like, at least to me, it’s a lot more upstairs and lack of talent that has caused this slump.
Clemson – The way the Tigers lost Saturday stings…but the bottom line is Clemson is fine. Winning 2 of 3 on the road is always nice no matter who you play. Clemson will make the tournament and there’s no reason to worry. The Tigers just need to continue to find consistency at the bottom of the order and find a 3rd starter. Ryan Gilliam went 5 and 2/3 and did just fine. But he has a long way to go to show he can do it in the postseason.
Clemson just needs to keep improving. There’s not a lot to say after playing Georgia Southern. I’ll have more on the Tigers later this week.
I continue to be impressed with how mentally tough Monte Lee has made this team. They make a ton of errors, but that’s a talent problem. Clemson bounced back very nicely after a horrible way to lose a game on Saturday. Anytime you get that 27th out…but you really didn’t, then you lose….that hurts.