South Carolina’s Clarke Schmidt believes he will get the ball in one of USC’s first two games against Oklahoma State this weekend, but he isn’t sure yet which game it will be.
The sophomore has been Carolina’s Friday night starter all year, but after throwing 89 pitches Friday night and 19 more on Tuesday, the Gamecocks may opt to send Braden Webb out on the mound first in the super regional.
The freshman threw 54 pitches Saturday, 10 Sunday and is fresh and ready to go for Game 1 against the Cowboys.
Schmidt said he sat down and talked with pitching coach Jerry Meyers Wednesday and a final decision has not been made yet.
“We don’t know exactly what’s going to happen… They might want to give me an extra day of rest just because I’ve moved up so many starts and especially with all of the innings under my belt they might want to give me an extra day of rest,” Schmidt said. “If not they might want to start me Game 1. But regardless I’m 100 percent. I’m ready to go, and I know that I’ll be getting the ball one of those games so I’m ready to get after that.”
Statistically Schmidt and Webb have been very similar for most of the year.
Schmidt is 9-4 with a 3.33 ERA and has 123 strikeouts in 105 1/3 innings pitched, while Webb is 10-5 with a 3.24 ERA and has 123 strikeouts in 94 1/3 innings pitched.
JOHNSON READY FOR WHATEVER
South Carolina sophomore Tyler Johnson spent the entire regular season coming out of the bullpen before starting an elimination game Friday against UNCW. He responded by allowing only one run in a complete-game effort as the Gamecocks earned a 10-1 win.
While Johnson has pitched almost exclusively out of the bullpen for the Gamecocks the past two years, he has plenty of experience as a starting pitcher.
“In high school all I did was start and in travel ball I started. Even this past summer league I made eight or nine starts,” he said. “I know how to start. It’s not foreign to me.”
Johnson said it has taken some time to get back to 100 percent after his 115 pitch outing, but he believes he is getting close and will be ready to go this weekend, whether he comes out of the bullpen or is needed to start a potential winner-take-all game on Monday.
“I assume that my role will just be the same,” Johnson said. “If it’s a middle relief guy I’ll be a middle relief guy. If I have to close out a game I’ll do that. If my name’s called upon to start I’ll do that. Coach Meyers doesn’t want to take anything out of the equation ever.”
Jonah Bride said he was not trying to hurt Rhode Island catcher Chase Livingston when the two collided at home plate Sunday afternoon, but he also will make sure the play, which resulted in an ejection and one-game suspension, does not happen again.
“There was no malicious intent. I feel like I had nowhere really to slide. I was starting to hook slide, but at the last second I threw my arms out, which I understand is obviously going to get me kicked out,” he said. “I understand that rule now, and I’m going to keep myself from doing that again.”