South Carolina Baseball: Gamecock pitcher hits transfer portal before NCAA Tournament

South Carolina baseball pitcher Austin Williamson officially announced his intention to transfer from the Gamecocks.
South Carolina baseball coach Mark Kingston
South Carolina baseball coach Mark Kingston / Angelina Alcantar/News Sentinel / USA

South Carolina baseball begins Regional play on Friday against the James Madison Dukes, but the Gamecocks have made some transfer portal news ahead of their first NCAA Tournament game.

After left-handed pitcher Jackson Phipps announced his intention to leave the program last week, rumors surfaced that another seldom-used pitcher was planning to defect, as well.

On Thursday, reliever Austin Williamson confirmed that he will enter the transfer portal in search of a new opportunity in college baseball.

Williamson has a nice physical profile (6'4" and 220 pounds with a fastball that can reach the mid-90s), but he couldn't find a role on the 2024 version of the South Carolina baseball team. He was a serviceable bullpen option in 2023, logging an ERA just over 3.00 in 18 appearances. However, he only saw the mound three times this spring and struggled.

Losing Williamson makes the Gamecock bullpen a little thinner heading into the NCAA Tournament. Carolina's relievers are talented, but there are few that have much experience in high-leverage situations with the Gamecocks as Chris Veach, Garrett Gainey, Ty Good, and Matthew Becker are the only players in garnet and black who logged over 25 innings out of the bullpen this season.

When the Gamecocks get into the throes of the postseason schedule that requires depth on the mound, pitchers with fewer innings could be called upon to contribute. Parker Marlatt, Connor McCreary, and Tyler Pitzer likely will be next up out of the 'pen, and names like Dylan Eskew and Roman Kimball likely will be called upon to start at some point.

South Carolina baseball will play on Friday at 2:00 PM ET against James Madison. The game will be available on ESPN+. Afterward, the NC State Wolfpack and Bryant Bulldogs will face off in the Regional's other Friday matchup.

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