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March 8, 2014
Baseball series preview: Brown
BROWN (0-0) at NO. 3 SOUTH CAROLINA (12-0)
When: Doubleheader today beginning at 2 p.m.; 12:30 p.m. Sunday
One team has thrown five shutouts, swept its highly ranked archrival, won 12 games in 12 tries and sits at No. 1 nationally in two polls, No. 3 in Baseball America.
The other team hasn't played a game and is coming off a 7-33 season in 2013. The common denominator? Neither has lost - yet.
For the Bears of Brown University, a season delayed by weather (like many Northeastern schools, Brown has to play on the road in southerly directions to get games in) has to wait one more day, as Friday's game was postponed until the two teams will play a doubleheader today beginning at 2 p.m.
The lack of any games to scout means all Chad Holbrook can do boils down to, essentially, guesswork.
"I don't know much about them at this stage," Holbrook said. "I know they have a number of players back from last year and the didn't have a good season last year.
"Obviously, it should us an advantage that we have 12 games under our belt."
For a South Carolina team that keeps finding ways to win, the series presents the last opportunity to experiment with lineups and fine-tune itself before SEC play begins when Ole Miss comes to town Friday.
"We've got to get some guys in there," Holbrook said. "We've got to get some guys healthy.
"I'm glad we're not in conference play this weekend, because we're a bit banged up, honestly."
Besides lingering soreness in third baseman Joey Pankake's shoulder suffered when he tweaked his shoulder this fall, Max Schrock rolled his ankle running out a fielder's choice in the seventh inning against Stetson on Wednesday and is not expected to play this weekend.
"We need to get some guys off their feet," Holbrook said. "We need to get some guys healthy and hopefully have a good weekend in which we'll play a good number of people.
"There are some guys chomping at the bit to get in there who deserve to get in there. This miught be a good weekend to get them in there."
WHAT TO WATCH: Joey Pankake. Holbrook mentioned he could move him to second to spell Schrock, which would allow Holbrook to play DC Arendas at third, where he's comfortable. Among starters, Pankake is having the worst start to his 2014 campaign, hitting just .227 with a single home run and 5 RBIs. For players with more four at-bats, his average is the worst on the team. Holbrook said earlier this week Pankake may be pressing too much, and whether or not he can warm up his bat before SEC play begins next weekend may be the biggest question, offensively or defensively, this team has right now.
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