South Carolina Baseball: Gamecocks announce mid-week pitchers, including season debut for injured difference-maker

South Carolina baseball announced their mid-week starters for this week as freshman Eddie Copper gets the ball against Winthrop, and Matthew Becker makes his return from injury.

South Carolina baseball has announced their mid-week starters, including freshman Eddie Copper and the returning-from-injury Matthew Becker.
South Carolina baseball has announced their mid-week starters, including freshman Eddie Copper and the returning-from-injury Matthew Becker. / Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports
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South Carolina baseball had a strong opening weekend. Outscoring Miami (OH) 30-5 and dominating to the tune of a 14-0 10-run rule game on offense and a 7-inning combined no-hitter from the pitching staff in game 3 of the sweep gives Gamecock fans a lot of confidence as they get ready to watch their team work through the out-of-conference schedule.

Injuries, an eligibility issue, and some preseason struggles had both the lineup and the pitching staff looking a bit different than they probably will at season's end.

As players get healthy and try to work out whatever struggles they are experiencing, mid-week games are great opportunities for them to see the field. Heading into Carolina's first mid-week opportunities of the season, it appears head coach Mark Kingston and pitching coach Matt Williams will look to help two guys "get right" this week.

On Tuesday, freshman Eddie Copper will take the hill against Winthrop. Copper was the first reliever the Gamecocks used this weekend as the team views him as a huge part of the future. However, his appearance against Miami (OH) was borderline disastrous as he gave up one hit and hit two batters, allowing three base runners without recording an out. Veteran reliever Chris Veach came in and cleaned up the mess to preserve the 5-1 lead for USC. The Winthrop game will allow Copper to start (likely his role in future seasons) and to gain some confidence as he bounces back from Friday.

On Wednesday, the Gamecocks will send a familiar face to the mound against Queens. Veteran Matthew Becker, thought by many to be part of the rotation before a lat injury sidelined him, will return to his first game action. Becker has some of the best swing-and-miss stuff on the team but also has shown the ability to eat innings, a valuable commodity to help preserve the bullpen during SEC play. Becker likely won't throw his usual 5-6 innings as he works back from his injury, but if things go well, he could challenge for a weekend rotation spot sooner rather than later.

South Carolina baseball has another weekend series against Belmont and three mid-week games (Winthrop, Queens, and Gardner-Webb) before the much-anticipated rivalry series against the Clemson Tigers from March 1st to March 3rd. If both teams continue winning the games they should win leading up to the series, the matchup will be a consensus top-20 showdown and could be a top-10 set according to some polls.

This week's games against Winthrop (Tuesday) and Queens (Wednesday) will both play at 4:00 at Founders Park. The broadcasts will be available on the SEC Network+.

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