USC Gamecocks Baseball

For USC baseball players and coaches, summertime is no day at the beach

Mark Kingston: ‘A lot of impact players coming in’ for USC

South Carolina baseball coach Mark Kingston discusses the incoming Gamecocks class of freshmen and JUCO players.
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South Carolina baseball coach Mark Kingston discusses the incoming Gamecocks class of freshmen and JUCO players.

Preparing for a Super Regional is something South Carolina baseball coach Mark Kingston wishes he was doing right now.

Instead, he is preparing for his program’s future after a disappointing 2019 season.

The preparation for next season started as soon as South Carolina was eliminated by LSU in the SEC Tournament. And as the calendar turns to summer, the to-do list is more about baseballs than it is beach balls.

“The summer for the coaches is all about being out there recruiting and evaluating future classes and future players,” Kingston said. “They stay very busy on the recruiting trail.”

The players’ summers consists of several activities individually.

“The players are a mix between summer school, working out, playing summer baseball and summer resting if they are coming off injuries and having to rehab,” Kingston said. “Players are doing what they need to do individually. ... It’s a mix of everything.”

At least 15 players on the current roster are playing on a summer collegiate baseball team.

Outfielder Andrew Eyster and pitchers Cam Tringali and Carmen Mlodzinski are in the Cape Cod League, while first baseman Josiah Sightler is on the Lexington County Blowfish. Mlodzinski decided to join a summer roster after his season-ending injury against Clemson on March 1.

The players who work out in the summer start a lifting program with strength and conditioning coach Billy Anderson to prepare for fall ball, which started last season as a result of a new NCAA proposal. The team is scheduled to report for fall ball in the second week of September.

Kingston is also keeping a close eye on the MLB Draft, which finished up Wednesday. More than a dozen players connected to the Gamecocks, including current players, JUCO transfers, signees or graduating seniors, heard their names called over 40 rounds, and now they’ll have until July 15 to sign pro contracts or not.

“If the draft class stays together, this is a really good class both in high school high-end players and the JUCO class,” Kingston said. “There’s a lot of impact players coming in. We just have to get them through these next couple of days. But when you look at what we’re losing compared to what’s coming in, I think we can all safely say there’s going to be some significant improvement just from a numbers standpoint.”

South Carolina is also scheduled to hold camps throughout the summer. Youth camps, a 13 and 14-year-old showcase and prospect camps are set for several days in June and July. An elite prospect camp is scheduled for Aug. 17.

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