You have to go back to March 26, nearly two months, to find the last time South Carolina won a series. But if the Gamecocks can win at least two games this weekend against Georgia, their resume should be in pretty good shape as far as making the NCAA tournament.
USC enters the series with the Bulldogs with an RPI of 29 and a conference record of 12-15.
With two wins, South Carolina would improve to 14-16 in the league and its RPI would likely stay around 30.
In the past 10 years, six SEC teams have had 14 SEC wins and a top 40 RPI. All six have made the NCAA tournament.
Gamecocks coach Chad Holbrook isn’t worried about number crunching or studying trends. He’s just concerned with making sure USC plays its best baseball of the season against the Bulldogs.
“I know our metrics and our numbers are good, but you’ve got to put yourself in that conversation, and that comes with winning some games,” Holbrook said Wednesday. “We’ve got some games on the table that we need to win. How many? I don’t know. I can’t answer that. We’re certainly going to have to win more than we lose, for sure.”
That’s something South Carolina has been struggling with since winning the rubber game of a series against Alabama eight weeks ago.
Since then, USC has lost seven consecutive series 2-1 with the final four series being decided in Game 3.
USC has found heartbreaking ways to lose all year and has dropped seven games when leading entering the eighth inning.
The Gamecocks have been in position for big wins, but just haven’t been able to close the door.
“They’ve played hard every night,” Holbrook said. “We’ve had a couple of games that have gotten away from us, but we’ve been in position to win every series.”
USC held a one-run lead in the eighth inning of Game 3 last weekend against Missouri, a one-run lead in the eighth and ninth innings the previous week against LSU, was tied entering the eighth inning the week before against Kentucky and led Florida 5-3 in the eighth inning the week before that. Carolina lost all four of those games.
That trend will need to be reversed against a Georgia team that got off to a rough start but has won consecutive series over No. 8 Kentucky and No. 11 Mississippi State.
“Obviously, how we play this week is going to determine a lot of what comes the next couple of weeks. That’s just where we are. We have to play great baseball,” Holbrook said. “Our kids understand where we are, and anything short of winning a series is going to put us in a very difficult spot.”