South Carolina baseball: Gamecocks travel to Oxford for SEC showdown

South Carolina baseball faces Ole Miss in an important SEC series.

The South Carolina baseball team will look to bounce back from just its third series loss of the season as they travel to Oxford for a meeting with the Ole Miss Rebels. Ole Miss (28-12, 10-8) has lost four consecutive series after starting 6-0 in conference play. They’ll be looking to get things back on track with the NCAA Tournament right around the corner.

This matchup could have major postseason implications. The Gamecocks are currently projected to be a regional host site, ranking as one of the nation’s top 16 teams. A series win would solidify their standing as a possible No. 1 seed, while a loss could see them fall off the top line. Ole Miss, on the other hand, is right on the border of being a regional host. D1 Baseball has the Rebels listed as a No. 2 seed in the Louisville regional, while Baseball America has them listed as the 14th regional host out of 16 total sites. A win by the Rebels would see them jump the Gamecocks in the SEC standings, as well as improve their postseason positioning.

Series Preview

Both teams sit in a similar situation, separated by just one game in the league standings. How they got there, though, has been a bit different. Ole Miss swept their first two conference series, but have been trending downwards after dropping each of their last four matchups versus LSU, Mississippi State, Arkansas, and Florida.

South Carolina, on the other hand, got off to a slow start in a series loss to Vanderbilt, but went on to reel off four straight series wins before losing two-of-three games to top ranked Arkansas last weekend.

The Gamecocks took the series in the last meeting between these programs, but the teams haven’t met since 2018. South Carolina holds the all-time advantage, winning 37 of the 61 past matchups.

Series Notes

South Carolina pitching will face its second straight high-powered SEC lineup, after battling Arkansas and their league-leading 74 home runs last week. The Gamecocks rank second in the conference in ERA, allowing just 3.37 runs per game. That number has stayed consistent in league play. The Gamecocks have also recorded the second-most strikeouts in the league versus SEC hitters while allowing the least amount of home runs.

Ole Miss pitching has an ERA over 5.00 in conference play, and they’ve surrendered 23 homers to SEC hitters. They’ve struck out 192 batters in their 18 league games, but opposing teams are hitting .263 off the staff. It could be a great opportunity for Gamecock batters to get back on track.

South Carolina hitting has struggled in SEC play a bit, with the lineup hitting just .229 as a team in league action. They’re averaging just 5.4 runs per game in conference matchups, compared to Ole Miss’s 6.9-run mark.

Ole Miss hitting leads the league in batting average (.301) this season, and they’ve been even better in SEC play (.306). The Rebels also lead the conference in slugging, RBIs, and on-base percentage in league action.

Players to Watch

Thomas Farr

Farr pitched will enough to win against Arkansas last Thursday, allowing just three runs to the SEC’s top rated offense. His only two mistakes of the day resulted in Robert Moore home runs, which ended up being the difference in the game, as the South Carolina lineup could only muster two hits.

On the year, Farr sports a 3.66 ERA, and has struck out 69 batters in 56.1 innings. He’ll do his best to limit scoring opportunities for the Rebels Friday night, and buck a trend that’s seen the Gamecocks lose five of six SEC series openers.

Gunner Hoglund

Hoglund was scratched from his start last weekend, but looks to make a return to the mound this weekend against the Gamecocks. Despite missing last week’s appearance, the righty ranks third in the SEC in strikeouts this year (87) in just 56 innings of work.

He was a consensus All-American pick this preseason, and will look to continue his dominance on the bump. Hoglund’s ERA sits at just 2.73 through nine starts.

Brady Allen

Allen is hitting .295 in league play, with seven of his 11 home runs this year coming against SEC pitching. The leadoff man has been the Gamecocks’ most consistent hitter, and he’ll look to set the table this weekend. The South Carolina offense will need to score some runs if they want to win the series.

TJ McCants

McCants ranks seventh in the SEC, hitting .354 in league play. He’s also knocked six double, two triples, and four homers on the year. Last time out, the outfielder tallied three hits, four RBIs, and a long ball to help the Rebels come back from a 9-1 deficit versus LSU.

Game Info

Game one will start tonight at 7:30 PM ET, with Thomas Farr (2-4, 3.66 ERA) going head-to-head with Gunner Hoglund (3-2, 2.73 ERA).

First pitch for game two is set for 7 PM ET, as Brannon Jordan (4-2, 3.04 ERA) will face off against Doug Nikhazy (4-2, 1.81 ERA).

The series concludes with a 12:30 PM ET start on Sunday, featuring Will Sanders (6-2, 2.70 ERA) and Drew McDaniel (4-0, 4.15 ERA).