South Carolina baseball coach Chad Holbrook plans to pitch junior left-hander Jack Wynkoop against Missouri in the SEC tournament opener against Missouri Tuesday.
With the Gamecocks' NCAA postseason hopes on the line, Holbrook wants to send his best pitcher to the mound.
“Right now we’re preparing Jack very hard,” Holbrook said. “We took him out of the game against LSU to get ready to pitch tomorrow.”
Wynkoop, who has posted a 8-4 record with a 3.13 ERA, threw 91 pitches over 5 1/3 innings against the No. 1 Tigers, although he did not get a decision in the 10-7 win. He had averaged 115 pitches in his previous four starts -- all wins -- against Vanderbilt, Tennessee, Auburn and Texas A&M.
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“He’s coming off a little bit of a shorter pitch count than he’s used to Thursday against LSU,” Holbrook said. “It’s four days, and we’ll see how he does when we get to the practice field (Monday).”
Wynkoop normally pitches on six days rest between starts.
Missouri expects to start junior right-hander Reggie McClain (6-7, 3.83), who defeated the Gamecocks 3-2 in March.
Injury update. The playing status for senior outfielder Elliott Caldwell and junior second baseman Max Schrock remains uncertain for Tuesday’s game against Missouri.
“I don’t know right now what their physical standing is other than that they’re sore and banged up,” Holbrook said.
They will be evaluated again at Monday’s practice.
Caldwell has played recently with a brace on his sore right knee, and Schrock has played with a nagging right wrist sprain. Both players had to leave Saturday’s loss against LSU after making unexpected starts due to the injuries.
“Max is probably in a more difficult place to play than Elliott is just based on this wrist injury lingering,” Holbrook said.
It’s painful for Schrock to swing the bat, and Holbrook doesn’t expect that to go away over the next few days.
“We’re hopeful,” he said. “My fingers are crossed.”
SEC TOURNAMENT: USC vs. Missouri
WHEN: Tuesday, 2 p.m. (approximate after first game)
WHERE: Hoover (Ala.) Metropolitan Stadium
RADIO: WNKT-FM 107.5 FM
TELEVISION: SEC Network
SERIES: USC leads 6-3
LAST MEETING: The Gamecocks lost two-of-three games in the regular-season series
RECORDS: USC 32-24, 13-17 SEC, Missouri 29-26, 15-15 SEC
RANKINGS: Neither is ranked in the Baseball America Top 25
PITCHING MATCHUPS: USC LHP Jack Wynkoop, Jr., 8-4, 3.13 ERA vs. Missouri RHP Reggie McClain, Jr., 6-7, 3.83 ERA
NOTES: The Gamecocks are 25-41 all-time in SEC tournament history dating back to their first appearance in the 1992 season. ... USC has twice played for the SEC tournament championship, winning in 2004 and finishing second in 2002. ... The Gamecocks haven't won more than one game in the tournament since the 2007 season. Over that stretch (2008-14), they have gone 4-14, including a two-and-out performance last season.