Through 12 games, Ray Tanner seldom has had his entire South Carolina roster available.
Nick Ebert had to sit out the opening weekend against Duquesne while he cleared up some academic issues. Jackie Bradley also was unavailable while recovering from a broken right wrist he sustained in preseason camp.
Ebert was cleared to play against East Carolina the following weekend, and Bradley had his first at-bat during the Sunday contest against the Pirates.
The Gamecocks (8-4) then lost regulars Adam Matthews and Bobby Haney to injuries.
Matthews went down with a twisted right ankle in the finale against East Carolina. He returned to play two of the three games against Clemson but, according to Tanner, he suffered a setback this week and didn't play either midweek game against Valparaiso.
There is a good chance Matthews will be available for this weekend's home series starting tonight against Brown (1-3).
Haney collided with leftfielder Robert Beary late in the Saturday game against Clemson and has a sprained left shoulder. He probably will not see action this weekend.
That has left Tanner to juggle his lineup. He has yet to use the same lineup in 12 games this year. The hope is that will provide added depth as the season progresses.
"I don't know that we want to do it that way necessarily, but I think it does (provide depth)," Tanner said. "It's getting some other guys in the lineup and you hope it pays dividends for you as you go throughout the season."
Whit Merrifield has started games in center and right field as well as played third base as a defensive replacement late in games. He agreed that early-season shifting of players will aid the Gamecocks once SEC play begins.
"I won't say we didn't lose anything when Bobby came out but we didn't lose as much as people might think," Merrifield said. "We have a lot of depth and there are guys that aren't in the lineup right now that are really good players. Hopefully, this is going to help us down the line."
Scott Wingo has moved from second to short to replace Haney. Adrian Morales has filled in at second.
"It's pretty nice when you can lose you an All-Defensive shortstop and put Scott Wingo over to play short," Merrifield said. "Even though he has a couple of throwing errors, he's one of the best defenders in, probably, the country."
Beary and Evan Marzilli have been the key replacements in the outfield spots.
South Carolina has eight errors in the past three games after committing five in the first nine. Tanner said poor defense is unacceptable regardless of lineup shuffles.
"We've moved guys around and the field conditions might have contributed a little bit," Tanner said. "I don't think we're a poor fielding team by any means but we have to be better than we have been lately."
Merrifield said there was no reason to be concerned yet.
"It's not what you want to do," Merrifield of the past three games. "We're a good fielding team and we'll work out of it. We'll be fine."