South Carolina left-handed pitcher Jack Wynkoop is in the mix for a key role with the Gamecocks as they prepare for the 2013 season.
The 6-foot-5, 185-pounder from Virginia Beach, Va., is being considered for the Sunday starter role, or could factor in somewhere in the bullpen.
Wynkoop (pronouned WINE-koop) was rated the No. 146 best high school prospect in the nation and No. 6 best high school prospect in state of Virginia by Perfect Game USA. As a senior in 2012, he went 8-0 with a 0.54 ERA in 64 innings with 80 strikeouts and seven walks.
He helped lead Cape Henry Collegiate to state championship, pitching a complete game and scoring the winning run.
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How did you attack the role in the fall?
I just tried to limit the mistake pitches. These guys will hit it if you leave it up. I was just trying to stay low in the zone and get my outs and get out of there?
Have you had your 'welcome to college' moment?
Absolutely, I left a changeup up to Graham Saiko and he hit it out pretty handily. That was definitely my welcome to college moment. It was my fault, honestly.
Why South Carolina?
Everything, from the coaches to the facilities. It's such a great program. It's also a fun place to go to schools, with the academics and everything that goes along with being at Carolina. That was something I was attracted to since I first came here.
Is it nice to be in the mix right away for a role?
Definitely being considered for any role is an honor. I'm really excited about it. I just tried to work as hard as I possibly could to get in that position. I'm pretty happy with it right now.
I imagine you did a little bit of everything in high school.
Yes, I had the opportunity to hit in high school. That was a lot of fun, but you've got to hang it up at some point when you're a pitcher. I guess this is that time to focus on pitching.
Is that a big adjustment?
No, I was used to doing it in the summer for showcase teams. There are so many great hitters and I was always a pitcher-only in the summer. It wasn't a hard adjustment at all.
Talk about being part of Chad Holbrook's first team.
For me it was pretty easy because I met Coach Tanner but I've never been coached by him. I've heard great things about him and what he's done for this program. Everything seemed to roll pretty smoothly. I talked to the other guys if they really noticed much of a change, and they said they think everything is going pretty smooth.
Any veterans showing you the way?
All the older guys - Westy, Belcher and Webb, Pat Sullivan - all those guys have been super good at just helping me and getting me mentally prepared for what I'm going to experience this season if I get the opp to play.
What are your expectations for preseason practice?
I'm just hoping to go out there and keep people off the base paths and put my team in a position to win in all the scrimmages and hopefully carry that into the season with some kind of role.
- Compiled by Dwayne McLemore