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February 17, 2014

Baseball faces Blue Hose

PRESBYTERIAN (2-0) at NO. 5 SOUTH CAROLINA (3-0)
When: 4 p.m. Tuesday
Where: Carolina Stadium
Tickets: Available at the box office
TV: None
Series: South Carolina leads 44-19 Probable starting pitchers
South Carolina -- So. RHP Curt Britt (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2.0 IP, 1 BB, 3 K). Presbyterian -- Fr. LHP Brian Kehner (first appearance)

Notes: Gamecock position players hit .368 (39-for-106) with a .493 on-base percentage Kyle Martin was the Gamecocks' leading hitter for the weekend with a .778 average (7-for-9), four RBI and six runs scored Connor Bright had a team-high seven RBI for the weekend with Joey Pankake and Max Schrock each scoring eight runs South Carolina made just one error and the pitching staff combined for a team ERA of 2.00 with 32 strikeouts in 27 innings pitched Bucknell hit just .186 in the three games.

Nearly everything that could have gone right did in No. 5 South Carolina's opening weekend sweep of Bucknell. The Gamecocks outscored the Bison 41-6, committed just one error and featured dominant starting and relief pitching.

While other highly regarded programs stubbed their toes on opening weekend, South Carolina looked to be in postseason form. Today, the Gamecocks will face Presbyterian, which defeated Savannah State at home in a doubleheader Sunday. Of the past five meetings between the two schools, three have been one-run affairs, the most recent coming last year when South Carolina claimed a 5-4 win on May 14 in USC's final home game of the regular season.

"Every time we play PC it's a one- or two-run game and we have to find a way to win it late, it seems," USC coach Chad Holbrook said. "We'll expect a tight, close game. Coach (Elton) Pollock's players always come here ready to play and always give us all we can handle.

"I would expect nothing else but that."

Sophomore right-hander Curt Britt will get the start, his first of the year and third in his career. Last season, Britt was 2-0 with a 5.12 ERA, pitching 19.1 innings over 11 appearances.

In game two of Saturday's doubleheader, Britt threw 2.1 scoreless innings, though he did find a bit of trouble. After pitching around a leadoff walk in the sixth, tossing two hitless innings in which he struck out three, he hit a snag in the top of the eighth.

Facing Bucknell's No. 3 hitter, he allowed a leadoff single to left, got a groundout to third, allowed another single to left before being relieved by Vince Fiori, who struck out the next two batters to end the threat.

"Britt and Fiori, I thought, were very impressive," Holbrook said.

In two starts last season - Ball State and Wofford - Britt did not get a decision and allowed four hits and two runs in three innings in both games.

WHAT TO WATCH: Curt Britt. Against Bucknell, Britt looked sharp, with a terrific fastball that led to three strikeouts. His consistency was good, though he did walk the first batter he faced. With today's start, the coaching staff will have the opportunity to get a good, long look at just how ready Britt is to contribute and precisely what his role will be. Will he be a mid-week starter or find a home as a setup man? Today is super-important for Britt, so keep you eyes on him to find out just what his role is likely to be this season - it's all up to him.

Next up: USC hosts Eastern Kentucky for a three-game series beginning Friday at 3 p.m.



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