Opening Weekend for Gamecock Baseball
Disclaimer: I was only able to attend Friday’s game, so this post isn’t nearly as in-depth as it should be. I hope to resume live Tweeting the games during the series this weekend. You can follow along at @ThoughtfulCock.
Finally. Baseball season is here! Not being a basketball fan, the time between the BCS title game and first pitch seems to drag on forever. After what seemed like an eternity, opening day arrived, and I, in all of my season ticket holder glory, headed out to Carolina Stadium to celebrate the reigning national champions.
Friday’s game was a little rough in patches – a few miscues on some seemingly routine plays had some of the fans around me a bit worried. The inability to get too much going offensively had me a little worried (clearly unnecessarily. See also: Sunday’s 13-1 drubbing of VMI). Michael Roth pitched six strong innings, allowing one run, but striking out six. Over the course of the weekend, the Gamecocks’ pitching staff combined for 36 strikeouts, 4 walks, and a 1.33 ERA. I’ll take that as the start to a season any day. Carolina’s bats were pretty quiet for the first two games (except for Evan Marzilli, who hit .500 over the course of the weekend), but then exploded in the final game of the series.
I think that Gamecock Nation can take it as a good sign that the baseball team was able to win two tight games and then come back and utterly dominate in the third. There were certainly a lot of questions heading into this season: How will Matt Price do as a starter? Who will replace Price as a closer? How will the Gamecocks cope with replacing 3/4 of their infield? We’ve only played three games so far, but Price struck out 7 and allowed 2 runs over more than 5 innings, Forrest Koumas earned the save in game 1 (including striking out the final batter looking), and the infield, after a few jitters early on Friday seemed to settle down. Again, I’ll take it as a good sign.
This team is clearly young. But it also has proven veterans in Roth, Adam Matthews, Christian Walker, Price, and Marzilli. Will this team make a run for a third CWS Championship? It’s possible, but way too soon to tell. The Gamecocks had a very solid opening weekend, but there’s always room for improvement.
After week 1 of the season, South Carolina remains ranked 3rd in the Baseball America poll, behind #1 Florida (2-1) and #2 Stanford (3-0). The Gamecocks are ranked 2nd behind Florida in the Collegiate Baseball poll.
Friday (2/24) vs. Elon: 3 p.m.
Saturday (2/25) vs. Elon: 1:30 p.m.
Sunday (2/26) vs. Elon: 1:30 p.m.