If you can accurately categorize this Carolina baseball team let us know because we can’t. This team lost to Gardner-Webb (RPI 165) on Tuesday and then went to LSU (#2) and took two of three from them. Needless to say the weekend more than made up for the midweek. More good news? There’s no midweek game this week.
It’s common knowledge that a team doesn’t always perform at the same level every game. There is a spread of possible performances. Different teams have different spreads. One of the CWS winning Carolina teams didn’t lose a midweek game. That’s a small spread. Last year’s team lost to Francis Marion and made it to the CWS finals. That’s a big spread.
This year’s team has a big spread. Even this week had a big spread. With the win at LSU we know how good they can be. The team is now mostly healthy, and Wynkoop’s emergence has changed the complexion of the pitching staff for the better.
Pitching. The Gamecock pitching staff had a very strong weekend on the whole. Wynkoop was excellent as was Montgomery. Belcher wasn’t as good as he has been other times, but part of that is LSU. Westmoreland was good in relief, and Webb remains dominant. Carolina had their best pitchers in the game when they needed them.
USC still needs more consistent arms. There is plenty of talent on the roster, but one or two reliable relievers would make all the difference in the world. Colby Holmes has the talent to be that guy. Evan Beal does too. Could Vince Fiori be ready? I’m not sure, but there needs to be just a bit more to feel truly comfortable in the stretch and in the post season.
USC had some timely hits this weekend. Only one batter had an average over .300 this weekend (of course it was Dantzler), and LSU has very good pitching. The difference between a signature road win and a frustrating road loss was the timeliness of the hitting. Carolina’s bats provided the hits, and often LSU’s did not.
Timely hitting hasn’t been there all year. It’s not something that can be practiced. It sometimes kinda comes and goes. The better hitting team you are, the more timely hits you are going to get. But you’re not going to get them all the time. Right now Carolina is a better hitting team than they were earlier, and they can still get better.
Connor Bright has benefitted from being an every game player, and Grayson Greiner has found his swing as well. Dantzler, Pankake, Schrock and Vergason continue to be productive, and English is doing well too. Graham Saiko is in a slump right now. It’d be really nice for him to work his way out of that. If he could, Carolina would have the offensive firepower to make a deep run this summer.