Matt Connolly

Holbrook knows USC’s offense must snap out of its funk

John Jones and the rest of South Carolina’s offense is in a funk.
John Jones and the rest of South Carolina’s offense is in a funk.

South Carolina’s once potent offense has gone ice cold over the past three games as USC has managed only seven runs in 27 innings. Four of those runs came over the final three innings Saturday night, with the Gamecocks getting blown out for the second time in three nights.

North Carolina shut South Carolina out Wednesday night in Charlotte, led by midweek starter Hunter Williams, who pitched 6 1/3 innings.

USC defeated Georgia 3-1 on Friday night, but the Gamecocks left the bases loaded twice, and grounded into a double play with the bases loaded and one out another time. Carolina managed only five hits in the win.

On Saturday, Georgia starter Connor Jones, who entered with a 5.73 ERA, held the Gamecocks to one run on four hits in 6 1/3 innings.

“We’re not swinging the bats very well. We’ve got to do more offensively to help our pitchers,” USC coach Chad Holbrook said. “Hopefully, we can get out of the funk we’re in offensively and be competitive in the batter’s box.”

South Carolina finished the game with seven hits on Saturday, but three of those came after USC entered the ninth inning trailing 13-1.

The Gamecocks had not had an extra-base hit since last weekend against Tennessee before Hunter Taylor doubled and Gene Cone homered in the ninth inning Saturday.

“I hope it gives us a little bit of confidence. We need a little confidence in the batter’s box. We’ve got to have some guys jump on board with Gene because right now outside of a couple of guys in the lineup we’re too inconsistent,” Holbrook said. “We’ve got to get back to who we were the first 33, 32, 31 games or so, because right now it’s certainly not good enough.”

Some of USC’s top hitters have cooled off considerably after the first weekend of SEC play, most notably John Jones, who has gone from batting .422 to .309.

Still, Holbrook said he does not plan to make many changes in the lineup.

“I’ve got to remember the guys that we’ve been playing have put us in a good spot. Just because we hit a little rough patch, it’s not time to throw them overboard,” Holbrook said. “I’m a believer that you don’t come out of it sitting over there on the bench. ... I just don’t feel good about having one of our best players on the bench. He’s got to come out of it, get good pitches to hit, put good swings on it and trust his ability. Right now he’s not feeling good about himself, but it only takes one swing.”

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