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March 26, 2014
Baseball preview: Coastal Carolina
COASTAL CAROLINA (10-14) at NO. 1 SOUTH CAROLINA (20-3)
When: 7 p.m.
The stress reaction in Evan Beal's back has calmed down.
The stress reaction in his stomach can now begin.
Making his first start since April 6 of 2013, Evan Beal will finally get the opportunity to showcase both his stuff and his maturity since being sent to the bench last year after four SEC starts that came in the wake of an early season injury to Jordan Montgomery.
A poor performance against the Vols in his final SEC start of 2013 and Montgomery's return meant he faced just 32 batters the rest of the year and did not appear in the postseason. He finished the year with a 2-1 record and 4.78 ERA in 32 innings pitched, striking out 36 and walking 12.
A pitcher with stuff as good as anyone's on staff, the issue for Beal has been maturity and command. A junior now, fans and coaches alike are eager to see how far Beal has come, especially since his development was slowed a tad with the stress reaction in his back that happened before the Eastern Kentucky series.
Beal was scheduled to start against The Citadel last week in a game that was rained out, and he did not throw against Kentucky over the weekend.
What Beal's role will be with the team this year could depend on how he looks tonight in Charleston.
"He's got a good arm, and he's got a good breaking ball," Holbrook said during the fall. "We'll just continue to watch his development. He could be very, very special or he could be one of those guys we struggle to find a role for.
"He's got great stuff, he wants to start, and we'll certainly give him every opportunity to win a job. He's experienced, he's pitched on Friday night here before so you'd think he'd have a good shot at it, but in what role, it's way to early to tell."
WHAT TO WATCH: All eyes on Beal. As a sophomore he showed flashes of greatness in his early SEC starts then hit a wall. As one of the older guys on the team and part of a junior class that is excelling all over the field and leading the team, the time is now for Beal to demonstrate his value and make a strong case for himself in 2014.
South Carolina NEWS