USC coach Chad Holbrook discussed the importance of Max Schrock’s return to the lineup before the start of the Missouri series. The sophomore made his coach look like a genius all weekend.
Although Schrock’s back injury is still keeping him from playing second base, he stepped in at designated hitter and punished the Tigers in all three games. He had three hits, including an RBI single, in Friday’s 8-2 win. His RBI single provided an insurance run in Saturday’s 3-1 victory. And his leadoff triple in the ninth inning Sunday led to Joey Pankake’s walk-off single in a 2-1 win.
It wasn’t just Schrock’s hit Sunday that made Holbrook happy. The hustling Schrock showed what makes him such an instinctive player on the bases, too.
“He kept his head up running around the bases, and he was not satisfied with the double,” Holbrook said. “He saw the (Missouri center fielder) dive and push the ball away from himself, which enabled Max to get to third. That changed the outlook of the whole inning with him getting a triple instead of a double. It made it a lot easier (to score) with the lead-off triple. Kudos to Max; it was a great baseball play at a time when we really needed it.”
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The left-handed-hitting Schrock makes the Gamecocks a much better team at the plate with his presence in the No. 2 spot. Since his return Wednesday against Wofford after missing 11 straight games, Schrock has seven hits in 16 at-bats to raise his average to .269. He has five homers and 17 RBIs in 104 at-bats despite missing 23 games this season due to a variety of ailments.