South Carolina won four of five games last week – dropping only a mid-week contest to Furman – to improve to 26-7 and No. 11 in the Baseball America Top 25. The Gamecocks, who jumped to 8-4 for second place in the SEC East, hammered Tennessee on the road for 36 runs on 45 hits, the best offensive output in a weekend series this season.
After recording a season-high 17 hits in Saturday’s 12-8 win over the Volunteers, the Gamecocks topped that figure with 21 hits in Sunday’s 19-2 victory.
The freshman second baseman led the hit parade in the five games by batting .500 (11-for-22) with seven runs scored and eight RBIs. He drilled the game-winning RBI double in the ninth inning of Friday’s 5-4 win over Tennessee. That was followed by a double and a homer with two RBIs the next day. He capped it off Sunday with career highs of four hits and four RBIs.
He’s back. The sophomore left-hander rebounded from his month-long layoff due to an arm injury to throw four scoreless innings in his Sunday start. His return signals the Gamecocks getting back to full strength at just the right time.
The sophomore shortstop struggled at the plate on the week, as he went 4-for-24 (.167) in the five games and made two more errors against the Volunteers to give him 13 on the season, which leaves him with a .879 fielding percentage.
Senior left-hander Adam Westmoreland continues to make a huge impact out of the bullpen, as he factored in both Friday and Saturday's victories at Tennessee. His Saturday outing was especially important, as he stopped a big rally by allowing just one run on five hits in a season-high six innings while striking out six and walking none. He improved to 4-0 with two saves and a 1.30 ERA on the season.
Junior Brison Celek is finally bringing some stability to the designated hitter role. In four starts last week, he batted .455 (5-for-11) with six walks and a hit-by-pitch in 18 plate appearances for an on-base percentage of .667. He doubled, homered, drove in four runs and scored five times.
Sophomore right-hander Evan Beal has scuffled in his last three starts in the weekend rotation. Over that span, he has allowed 12 runs on 14 hits and nine walks in nine innings. It wouldn’t come as a surprise to see Beal move back to the bullpen and senior right-hander Colby Holmes, who threw well in relief against Tennessee in picking up the Sunday win, re-enter the rotation.
JUST THE FACTS
... Sophomore catcher Grayson Greiner is the team’s leading hitter in SEC games with a .333 average (12-for-36) in 10 starts.
... Senior left-hander Nolan Belcher had just one walk on the season in over 51 innings before walking three Friday night against Tennessee.
... Senior left-hander Tyler Webb, who is 1-1 with a 0.75 ERA and 11 saves, had two appearances over the weekend to increase his career total to 95 and surpass Michael Roth for second place in the program’s history. Webb is seven behind Matt Price (102 from 2009-12) for the school record.
... Tuesday: The Citadel, Carolina Stadium, 7 p.m.
... Thursday: at Florida, McKethan Stadium, 7:30 p.m. (ESPNU)
... Friday: at Florida, McKethan Stadium, 7:30 p.m. (CSS)
... Saturday: at Florida, McKethan Stadium, 3 p.m. (ESPN2)