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March 23, 2014

Diamond Extra: Kentucky Game 3

LEXINGTON, Ky. - In an All-American career studded with accomplishments, Grayson Greiner pulled of a rare 'first' in Sunday's 8-3 win over Kentucky: he called the game himself.

In the past, pitching coach Jerry Meyers trusted Landon Powell enough to give over the reins from time to time, and on Sunday, he accorded Greiner that same honor. The result was not only did the Gamecocks win and hold the Wildcats six runs below their average, they also sped up the game.

"Kentucky does a great job offensively of slowing the game down, stepping out of the box, so Grayson called the game," USC head coach Chad Holbrook said. "That allowed the tempo to speed up. I think that got them out of a rhythm a little bit offensively and maybe set the tone for the game.

"That's the first game he's called without coach Meyers' help. He's caught a lot of pitches that coach Meyers has called, so it's not his first rodeo.

"He did a great job and it really sped the game up for us. It was a big part of the game."

The only downside on Greiner Sunday was that his left thumb, on his catching hand, gave him trouble during an at-bat in the eighth inning.

"He's hurt," Holbrook said of Greiner. "His (left) thumb has been bothering him for a couple of weeks. When he swings and misses or swings and fouls one off, it really hurts him. He's banged up. "It'll be something we have to manage all year. It's probably going to hurt him when he's 35 or 40. Those things don't go away. It's like playing with a bone bruise. He's going to have to have a high threshold of pain. I'm not concerned about it getting any worse, it's just an injury that's going to bother him for the rest of the year. He'll be fine. He's a tough cookie."

SCHROCK OUT: Max Schrock did not play or DH on Sunday. Taking his place at second base was DC Arendas (1-for-2, RBI home run), and DH'ing was Taylor Widener (0-3).

"(Max) couldn't even walk this morning when he got up," Holbrook said. "We didn't have a choice to put him in the game."

It's unlikely Schrock, who turned his ankle against Ole Miss, will play Tuesday against the College of Charleston or Wednesday against Coastal Carolina. He should be available for Friday's game against Tennessee.

MOVING ON UP?: With Jordan Montgomery struggling and Wil Crowe excelling, does Crowe think he may move up in the weekend rotation?

"It doesn't matter to me," Crowe said. "I'm here to do one job and that's help us win.

"We have a good record and a great staff, great hitters, so (if) keep what we're doing and we'll be right."

KEEP 'EM GUESSING: Crowe said USC's approach to Kentucky All-American hitter A.J. Reed, who went just 2-10 on the weekend and 0-3 Sunday, was to outwit the crafty junior.

"We heard that he was a guesser," Crowe said. "He guesses a little bit and tried to figure out what we were going to throw, so we tried to go off what he didn't think.

"We did everything other than what he thought we were going to do. We tried to go backwards to what he was thinking."

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