Gamecock fans are well aware of what Max Schrock has meant to the South Carolina baseball team this season. The sophomore came up with a game-tying hit in the ninth inning of South Carolina’s 4-3 come-from-behind victory over Vanderbilt on Thursday night.
But exactly how important has the Chapel Hill native been to the Gamecocks?
Schrock has played in 30 of South Carolina’s 54 games this year, meaning the Gamecocks have only used him in 56% of the 2014 season. In the 30 games that Schrock has played, the Gamecocks are 24-6 (.800) and have averaged 6.03 runs per game. When Schrock is not in the lineup, South Carolina is 17-7 (.708) and averages just 5.0 runs per game. Max Schrock’s presence in the Gamecock lineup this season has increased South Carolina’s winning percentage by over nine percent and has improved the Gamecock offense by more than one run per outing.
Why does this matter?Without Schrock, the Gamecocks have lost three games by one run. With South Carolina fighting for a national seed, three extra wins could have made a big difference. Additionally, all three losses were in SEC play, meaning that the Gamecocks could currently be 20-8 in the conference instead of 17-11.
By the way, two of those one-run losses were against SEC regular season champion Florida.
Obviously, it’s impossible to say that a healthy Max Schrock would’ve meant that South Carolina won all three of those games. However, let’s assume that Schrock would’ve made the difference. A 20-8 Gamecock team would mean Florida’s current SEC record would be 18-10 with two games left in the regular season. South Carolina would have the tie-breaker for winning the series against the Gators, meaning the Gamecocks would have clinched the SEC with the win over Vanderbilt on Thursday.
The SEC regular season champion would probably not be sweating over a national seed.
Schrock is likely done for the weekend, meaning the Gamecocks will have to clinch a crucial road series without one of their best hitters. Game two of the South Carolina/Vanderbilt series is scheduled to start tonight at 7:30.