It's trite to say that it is not easy to win on the road in the SEC. It's trite because it's true. Even when you're playing in a place like Lexington, which doesn't have the rabid fans that exist in Baton Rouge or Starkville, it's hard.
Friday night's disaster was followed by a close loss on Saturday, and just like that the Gamecocks had lost their first series of the season. That wasn't such a big deal; no team is likely to win all 10 series. The big problem was the one facing the team. They were on the verge of being swept.
Games will be lost, and every series may not be won, but sweeps are different. Sweeps change season. A 1-2 record takes only one win to return to .500; 0-3 is a huge hole. Having lost the first two games, the Gamecocks really needed to win Sunday's game.
And when you really need to win a road game in the SEC it's always nice to turn to a freshman pitcher making his first road start in conference. Wait, that's not ideal at all unless it's Wil Crowe. The Gamecock freshman threw 6 innings and shut down what had been a potent Wildcat attack. He then gave way to Mincey and Seddon who are quickly establishing themselves as elite in a conference of great relievers. The offense that had been missing all weekend finally showed up, and Carolina salvaged a win.
How did Carolina lose the first two games and the series? Montgomery had a bad, bad outing on Friday night, which is more than a little troubling. He hasn't been lights out against better teams, namely Clemson and Ole Miss. The Gamecocks can ill afford to have a Friday night pitching mismatch. Montgomery still has the talent to be a showcase starter on Fridays, but he has to pitch better and soon.
On Satuday pitching wasn't a problem. Jack Wynkoop threw very well, and Cody Mincey backed him up. The offense was the problem as Carolina left runners on base in every inning except one.
Now the Gamecocks have to come home for a pair of mid week games. They play College of Charleston, who is always good and a Costal Carolina program that has desperately wanted to come play in Columbia for years. After that they host a resurgent Tennessee program over the weekend. There's no time to sit around and dwell on the shortcomings in Kentucky. And there's an opportunity to put all of that behind the team.