South Carolina took two of three games from the College of Charleston on Friday and Saturday to win the first series of the season.
USC started off slowly, very slowly, on Friday night. Wynkoop didn’t pitch quite as well as he might have hoped, but that was a small part of the loss. The offense was nowhere to be found. The result was a 6-3 loss and an 0-1 season start for the first time in recent memory.
To be fair College of Charleston is a good team and a good program. Last season they won their regional. Most teams don’t open their seasons against good programs. In fact, most years Carolina wouldn’t have opened against such a stout opponent.
The reason most teams don’t open with such a strong team is that there is too much downside. There is a chance that the offense doesn’t find its groove or a pitcher doesn’t have his best outing. You really don’t know your team until March, and it’s hard to extrapolate fall practice to spring results. Position battles aren’t completely set, and you have to see who performs better in games than in batting practice, and vice versa.
Kudos to Holbrook for going out and scheduling something interesting. I’d much rather see CofC play than see Northeastern. However, I’d rather see a win against Northeastern than a loss against anyone, so it was a good thing USC bounced back and won the next two games.
Inclement weather forced a double header on Saturday, and Carolina looked like the team we expected. They won the first game 7-1 and finished off the series 8-3. Wil Crowe set the tone during the first game and shut down the Cougars. He allowed one run, earned, and struck out 10. In the second game Taylor Widener got a long, 8 out save. He walked three, but didn’t allow any hits, and more importantly didn’t allow any runs, while striking out 6. He looks to be the closer this year, but will have to avoid walking so many.
Offensively, Kyle Martin unsurprisingly lead the way. He was 4-9 with 3 driven in. Jordan Gore was 4-11 with 4 RBIs. Freshman Alex Destino found his home in the cleanup role and blasted a home run as way of introduction to the faithful.
Carolina is 2-1, having won its only series of the season. They host Furman on Tuesday before hosting Northeastern this weekend. Don’t overlook Furman, though. The Paladins have given the Gamecocks all they can handle the past few seasons and would love to have a season-making upset Tuesday afternoon.