Despite a rough finish to the regular season, South Carolina travels to Gainesville to face the Gators in a Super Regional.
Back-and-Forth Regular Season
The South Carolina Gamecocks have had, by far, one of the strangest regular seasons in the SEC this year. Starting the season ranked outside the top 20, the Gamecocks racked up a plenty of wins early in the season. Coming off of a series sweep against Florida, South Carolina was ranked No. 6 in the country and had an impressive 34-6 record. With impressive wins against Florida, LSU and North Carolina, the Gamecocks look poised to have a special season.
South Carolina just swept Florida. The Gamecocks are now 34-6 overall & 13-4 in SEC play.
This is currently #1 team in college baseball. Argue with a wall. pic.twitter.com/WkngL9p2Tj
— Saturday Down South (@SatDownSouth) April 22, 2023
Unfortunately, this was the peak of their season.
After their series against the Gators, South Carolina spiraled out and finished 4-11 in their last 15 games with surprising losses against unranked Kentucky and Auburn. In the SEC tournament, they lost in the third round to lower seed Texas A&M.
Like other teams in the past, South Carolina suffered to untimely injuries to key players. Second baseman Will McGillis, shortstop Braylen Wimmer and third baseman Talmadge LeCroy are just some of the few players who missed extended time throughout the season. Gamecocks head coach Mark Kingston reflects on this season’s challenges.
Besides injuries, the Gamecocks were plagued with inconsistent pitching, cooled bats and sloppy plays in their last month of the season.
South Carolina Rematch in Gainesville
Following dominant showings in their respective regionals, the Gators and Gamecocks are set to have a series rematch in the NCAA Super Regional. While Carolina swept this team earlier in the season, Kingston doesn’t value those games.
In order to get past the Gators, Carolina has to remain poised and play with the same intensity they showed earlier in the season. With their roster seemingly getting healthy again, the Gamecocks have the same level of talent that could rival Florida’s. Kingston explains how he views the Gators now.
One advantage the Gamecocks have over the Gators is their ability to get free bases. As a team, Carolina ranked fourth nationally in walks and 15th in hits. Conversely, Florida had some struggles with walks, giving up around four per game.
The biggest wildcard in this series might be Carolina pitcher Will Sanders. Projected as a first round pick earlier in the season, Sanders struggled throughout the season and dealt with a lower body injury for multiple weeks. The difference in this game could come down to how successful he is in the innings he pitches over the weekend.