Latest Team Rankings
Free Text Alerts
|ShopMobileRadio RSSRivals.com Yahoo! Sports|
|College Teams||High Schools|
March 12, 2013
USC UPSTATE (10-4) at NO. 5 SOUTH CAROLINA (13-2)
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: Carolina Stadium, Columbia
Tickets: Available at the box office
Probable starting pitchers: USC Upstate - LHP Chris Cox (1-1, 2.70 ERA). South Carolina -- RHP Forrest Koumas (0-0, 2.45)
Notes: South Carolina once again starts a five-game week. USC leads the all-time series 6-0. The Gamecocks are in the Baseball America Top 5 for the first time this season. USC has tossed five shutouts in its past eight games. Shortstop Joey Pankake is the reigning SEC Player of the Week and one of Louisville Slugger's National Players of the Week after belting four home runs in his last five games. Catcher Grayson Greiner is one of 48 players on the watch list for the Johnny Bench Award. Third baseman Chase Vergason has reached base in 14 straight games. Closer Tyler Webb will move into a tie for fourth place in career appearances the next time he pitches.
Next up: USC hosts Davidson at 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
Just when Chad Holbrook had begun to settle his four main pitchers and a fifth option in the event of a five-game week, along came the injury bug and threw everything into disarray.
The stress reaction in ace Jordan Montgomery's arm has caused an emergency reshuffling of No. 5 South Carolina's pitching staff, which will once again be tested as the Gamecocks begin another five-game week. Montgomery won't throw this weekend at Missouri, meaning that the rotation that was used against Rider could be used again - or maybe not.
Holbrook said that the idea was to pitch Nolan Belcher against Rider in the third game of the series, and hopefully get him out of the game quickly once the Gamecocks took control. The problem was, USC only scored one run and had to leave Belcher in - because he threw over 100 pitches, he is likely going to have to stay in the Sunday role.
Colby Holmes will also likely have to stay in the Saturday role, since his struggles lately probably wouldn't put him in consideration to be moved up to the Friday role and he pitched too recently to be in use tonight against USC Upstate, or on Wednesday against Davidson. Evan Beal, who threw a masterful game against Rider in the series opener, thus is likely to remain the Friday starter, but now Holbrook has to find two pitchers for his two midweek games.
Forrest Koumas will get his most extended action of the season tonight with the start against the Spartans, and Jack Wynkoop will likely replace him before he gets too deep into the game. That leaves Wednesday open (Joel Seddon? Patrick Sullivan? Curt Britt? Adam Westmoreland?) and Holbrook may have to call upon the coach's favorite pitcher - ol' Johnny Wholestaff - to get the job done.
The advantage of the situation is that Holbrook gets to find out who can be counted on, or simply who can get more work now to be ready for the crucial part of the season, as long as Montgomery is ailing. When he comes back, the Gamecocks will be all the better for it.
The disadvantage is that having to use at least two arms tonight, and not knowing who will go or be available tomorrow, will sorely test the bullpen's depth. The Gamecocks' middle relief has not been good in the early season, and if USC has to keep going to closer Tyler Webb for extended innings, he may not be as sharp for the weekend, or for the rest of the season.
But, it's the hand that Holbrook was dealt. Holbrook has had to piece together the rest of his lineup recently due to Tanner English's injury and the missing bat of TJ Costen, so it stands to reason that he'd have to do it with his pitchers, too.
South Carolina NEWS