Most of the transfer portal news over the last week has centered around the college football world, but two South Carolina baseball players elected this week to enter the portal, as well.
According to a report from TheBigSpur’s John Whittle, freshman outfielder Thomas Powell (who just joined the team this fall) and redshirt senior reserve catcher Jonathan French (who transferred in from Clemson prior to the 2023 season) will seek other opportunities.
Powell has not played for the South Carolina baseball program yet, and unless something changes, it appears he never will.
French, however, played a relatively prominent role on the Gamecocks’ Super Regional squad from last year. He backed up starting catcher Cole Messina, and he saw significant playing time when Messina was hurt and when Messina filled in at 1B for a banged-up Gavin Casas and 3B for a hurt Talmadge LeCroy.
This offseason, the Gamecocks added a number of transfer portal players who can play in the outfield, most notably Kennedy Jones, Austin Brinling, and Blake Jackson, and Carolina returns fellow outfielders Ethan Petry Evan Stone, and Dylan Brewer, so Powell’s departure in search of playing time makes some sense.
Mark Kingston’s club also brought in transfer portal catcher Dalton Reeves to compete with freshman Ryan Bakes as the backup to Messina. French would have been the Gamecocks’ second backstop, but now Reeves, Bakes, and infielder Talmadge LeCroy will be involved in the effort to back up Messina (LeCroy started much of his freshman season behind the plate). Fellow catcher Zander Buchan is no longer with the team.
The returning offensive talent along with the transfer portal additions should lead the YardCocks to another really good season with the bats, and if the Gamecocks can pitch well enough in 2024, they are expected to push for another Super Regional appearance and maybe even the South Carolina baseball program’s first College World Series since 2012.