June 11, 2013; Chapel Hill, NC, USA; South Carolina shortstop Joey Pankake (9) makes a throw to 1st base during the game against North Carolina Tar Heels during the Chapel Hill Super Regional of the NCAA baseball tournament at Boshamer Stadium. The Tar Heels defeated the Gamecocks 5-4. Mandatory Credit: James Guillory-USA TODAY Sports

Gamecocks Baseball Preview: South Carolina hopes bats awaken at Furman

The South Carolina Gamecocks’ bats have been absolutely silent over the past few games. After putting up 24 runs combined in the past four games (Coastal Carolina and a three game SEC set against Tennessee), they’ve only been able to manage five over the last four (despite going 2-2).

Not helping the Gamecocks’ cause is several miscues on defense. They’ve committed five over the past two games, several of those directly contributing to the game’s final outcome. In Friday’s 4-1 loss to Arkansas, Joey Pankake’s error in the 2nd with two outs led to the next batter recording a two-RBI double; a dropped ball later in the game allowed the leadoff man to reach, who later scored. A pair of errors the next day helped the Razorbacks put up a total of five runs in the frame en route to a 7-0 shutout victory–the first time Carolina has been held off the scoreboard in over a year.

Will things change at Furman, a team they beat at Carolina Stadium 5-0 on March 11? Still, there’s plenty of time with 24 games left, so this recent slump may be nothing to worry about. But Chad Holdbrook’s team will need to get it going offensively and defensively sooner rather than later if they’re to make another run toward a College World Series appearance.

Evan Beal gets the call for the Gamecocks tonight, making his 3rd start with a 0-0 record and an 0.00 ERA in 9.1 innings. He was sharp in the 2-1 win over App State last Tuesday, allowing just two hits, striking out three and walking none in 5.1 scoreless innings. Ryan Dittmar (0-1, 6.75) will oppose him.

Hunter Burton and Chris Ohmstede (.328) lead Furman in hitting, while Greg Harrison (23) is the top man in RBI. Burton is also 25-30 on the base paths, so he’s a threat to steal every time he’s on.

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