USC Pitching needs Big Weekend
By Tyler Shugart
South Carolina and Clemson will renew their rival on the diamond this weekend. The Gamecocks will enter the series on a two game losing streak after falling to Charleston Southern in this past weekend’s season finally, and losing to Furman on Tuesday. Clemson is undefeated on the season and coming off a series sweep of 10th ranked Dallas Baptist and a midweek win against Winthrop in come from behind fashion.
Last weekend, for the Gamecocks ace pitcher Adam Hill was fantastic in his second start of the season. Hill struck out 14 batters in seven innings of work and looked almost untouchable. This was a vast improvement on his first start, when he gave up seven runs in four innings of work and struck out six in a loss to VMI. Coach Kingston said that this past weekend’s performance by Hill was one of the best performances he’s seen on the mound at the college level. Hill has solidified himself as the Friday starter. Morris will start on after good outings to start the season. However Coach Kingston said that he is currently unsure who he will put on the mound to start Sunday’s game at Clemson. Kingston said that they are still evaluating that situation and that Chapman and Gilreath are options to get the start. The Carolina pitchers will have their hands full this weekend facing one of the best offenses in college baseball and one of the best hitters in the game in Seth Beer.
The Carolina offense has been much improved this year averaging over 7.5 runs per game so far. However, the Gamecocks have left a lot of runners stranded on base again this season. Against a quality opponent like Clemson you have to score when you get opportunities because the Tigers will take advantage of the opportunities they are given. Clemson has played eight games so far this year and 5 of those eight games have been one run games.
I think the key to this series will be the bullpens. The Tigers have been down in several games this year late in the games, and have been able to come back and get the win every time. Can the Carolina bullpen shut down the Tiger offense if given the chance to do so? The questions in the Carolina bullpen is why I think Chapman will start game three of the series because I believe that Coach Kingston will have to use Gilreath before they get to that point.
I could see these being three really close baseball games. Not low scoring pitchers duels, but not really high scoring either. I could see these games being 5-4, 4-3, 6-5 kind of contests. However if one if the Carolina pitchers has a bad night on the mound and doesn’t have his best stuff, Clemson could put some runs on the board, their offense is awesome.
I hope the stadiums all three days are packed and loud for rivalry baseball! The best rivalry in College Baseball!!