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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
Where: Carolina Stadium
Tickets: Available at the box office
TV: None
Series: South Carolina leads 8-0.
Last meeting: South Carolina won 6-5 in 10 innings in Columbia on March 14, 2010.
Probable starting pitchers
South Carolina -- Game 1: LHP Jordan Montgomery (Jr., 2-0, 2.60 ERA, 17.0 IP, 15 H, 8 BB, 17 K). Game 2: LHP Jack Wynkoop (So., 3-0, 1.96 ERA, 18.1 IP, 18 H, 3 BB, 19 K). Sunday: RHP Wil Crowe (Fr., 2-0. 1.40 ERA, 19.1 IP, 12 H, 2 BB, 12 K).
Clemson -- Game 1: Anthony Galan (Sr. RHP). Game 2: Dave St. Lawrence Jr. (Jr. RHP). Game 3: Christian Taugner (Fr. RHP)
Notes: Game 2 will start 45 minutes after the conclusion of Game 1, and fans will not have to clear the stadium. Both Friday and Saturday's tickets will be honored by USC for the game; fans with Friday tickets only may stay and watch in standing room only sections … South Carolina's 12-0 start is the best start since the Gamecocks opened the 2004 season with an 18-0 record. The school record for best start was 22-0 in the 2000 season … South Carolina's bullpen has not allowed a run in 36.1 consecutive innings going back to the final inning of the first game of the season vs. Bucknell. In the Clemson series, Cody Mincey, Joel Seddon and Vince Fiori pitched nine scoreless innings of relief with just four hits allowed and three walks while striking out 11 batters … Brown is one of the last Division I schools to open up its college baseball season as the Bears open the year at Carolina Stadium. Brown returns 21 letterwinners from last season.


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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