South Carolina opened its baseball season over the weekend with a sweep of Bucknell. The Bison are of questionable quality, but a sweep is a sweep.
Depending on who you ask, the Gamecocks are now ranked 5th (Baseball America), 6th (Perfect Game) or 9th (NCBWA). The USAToday Coaches’ Poll isn’t out yet for some reason. USC was 14th in their preseason poll.
In college baseball polls are little more than entertainment. That could be said for other sports, notably basketball, but the great variance in coverage of the teams makes the reliability and accuracy of college baseball polls are the more dubious. What’s more important is what happened on the field.
The Gamecocks absolutely dominated all weekend. They played a double header on Saturday and won by scores of 17-4 and 12-2. On Sunday they finished off the sweep with a 12-0 win.
Pitching was excellent all weekend, and the star was freshman Wil Crowe. The Sunday starter, Crowe allowed no hits and no runs in 6 1/3 innings of work. He walked one batter and hit one batter. He was pulled when his pitch count approached its limit. Likewise, Jordan Montgomery was pulled when he hit his pitch limit Saturday afternoon. Montgomery went 5 innings and didn’t allow a run. Jack Wynkoop notched a career high for strike outs with 6 but also surrendered two runs. He pitched 5 innings and picked up the win.
After the starters were pulled the bullpen was great. Of the nine pitchers who made relief appearances eight didn’t give up any runs. Six of the nine were also making their Gamecock debut. Again, it’s tough to know how much to read into the performance against Bucknell, but there’s good reason for optimism about the bullpen.
The offense tore the cover off the ball all weekend. The team hit .368 and had an on base percentage of .493. Kyle Martin had a near perfect weekend going seven for nine with four RBIs. Connor Bright led the team with 7 RBIs. Of the new starters DC Arendas, playing third, swung the bat well, and Marcus Mooney, playing shortstop, played well. Both had 4 hits on the weekend.
This afternoon at 4 pm Carolina hosts Presbyterian, and Curt Brit will get the start. The games with Presbyterian are often close. Three of the last five games have been decided by a lone run. Carolina has won at least the last 5 and holds a 44-19 all time series lead.