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March 25, 2014
Baseball preview: College of Charleston
COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON (16-7) at NO. 1 SOUTH CAROLINA (19-3)
When: 7 p.m.
South Carolina is banged up.
Catcher Grayson Greiner has a sore left thumb from catching that will stay with him for life and is aggravated when he swings and misses or fouls pitches off. Starting second baseman Max Schrock has a sprained ankle that has taken longer to heal than hoped. Starting third baseman Joey Pankake still isn't 100 percent after an elbow strain last fall, coach Chad Holbrook said.
At a time when just a single midweek game might be welcome as No. 2 South Carolina prepares for a weekend series against SEC East division foe Tennessee, ranked No. 22 this week, the Gamecocks will play two in two days beginning tonight against the College of Charleston led by former assistant Monte Lee.
Freshman Taylor Widener, who pitched 2.1 innings in relief of Jordan Montgomery last Friday night against Kentucky, allowing a hit and an unearned run while striking out three and walking none, will get the ball tonight against a C of C team that last defeated the Gamecocks in April 2012.
For a lineup that struggled for long stretches offensively against Kentucky, scoring just one run on seven hits Saturday, facing a freshman right-hander with a 4.70 ERA tonight might be just the tonic the offense needs to heat up as it kicks off a six-game home stand. When scoring five or more runs this year, the Gamecocks are 16-1. When scoring five or less, USC is 9-3.
WHAT TO WATCH: Taylor Widener makes his first start of the year tonight after having not allowed an earned run in 10 innings over six appearances. Widener has nine strikeouts to two walks on the year and he's also a talented hitter, starting at DH on Sunday in Kentucky where he went 0-for-3 with an RBI.
South Carolina NEWS