South Carolina Baseball: Gamecocks dominate mid-week; Belmont series preview

South Carolina baseball dominated their mid-week games this week against Winthrop and Queens as they prepare for a weekend series hosting Belmont.

South Carolina baseball slugger Ethan Petry
South Carolina baseball slugger Ethan Petry / Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA
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South Carolina baseball continued their hot start to the season in the mid-week. After sweeping Miami (OH) last weekend (with two 10-run rule games), the Gamecocks added two more blowouts to their ledger after beating up on teams who play just a little farther north up I-77.

On Tuesday, the Winthrop Eagles came to Columbia, and the Carolina bats smacked the baseball around to the tune of 12 runs on 10 hits and 14 combined walks and hit-by-pitches.

Eddie Copper had a really nice day on the mound, bouncing back from his nerves-ridden debut on Friday. Copper gave up just 1 hit over 4 innings. Austin Williamson struggled a bit in relief, but Ty Good earned the win with a solid performance over 5 outs before Tyler Dean continued throwing gas, striking out two in an inning to finish the 7-inning blowout.

Talmadge LeCroy and Tyler Causey were the top offensive performers as both players had a home run and a double while reaching base at least 4 times. Leadoff man Blake Jackson reached base four times, and Dylan Brewer had 3 hits.

Against Queens (Charlotte, North Carolina), the Gamecocks won by 10 again, this time in 8 innings. With 12 hits and 18 combined walks and hit-by-pitches, Carolina was on base all day.

Freshman Ryan Bakes was joined by Ethan Petry, Talmadge LeCroy (again), and Parker Noland in getting on base at least 3 times. Petry and Cole Messina hit dingers, and Bakes and Evan Stone knocked 2-baggers.

The pitching was good again as Matthew Becker made his return from a lat injury, pitching 2 innings of scoreless ball and picking up 5 of the team's 17 strikeouts. Tyler Pitzer, Connor McCreery, Parker Marlatt, Sam Simpson, Chris Veach, and Drake Quinn each pitched an inning, combining to give up just 6 hits and 3 runs over the final 6 innings.

In the two mid-week games, Carolina started their weekend lineup against Winthrop but gave starts to Ryan Bakes (catcher) and Cole Messina (first base) against Queens. Bakes, Austin Brinling, and David Cromer got pinch running appearances, and Evan Stone (right field), Brinling (center field), Kennedy Jones (left field), Lee Ellis (third base), Dylan Brewer (right field), and Carson Hornung (DH) also saw action.

This weekend, South Carolina baseball will play against the Nashville-based Belmont Bruins.

Belmont is not expected to be very good in 2024 as the team was picked to finish 6th in the Missouri Valley Conference (out of 10 teams), and just one Bruin returns to the team after making the All-Missouri Valley teams last year (Mason Landers, 2nd Team All-MVC). They return a lot of production from last year's team, but last year's team had a losing record.

Even so, the Bruins are 4-1 in the early goings of the season, though, they have been outscored 30-28 this spring. In contrast, the Gamecocks are up 55-10 on the competition in 2024.

The Gamecocks are expected to go with their same starting rotation from opening weekend with Eli Jones, Dylan Eskew, and Roman Kimball getting the first pitch in each game. Kimball should be able to go deeper than the 2 innings he pitched on Sunday.

Talented freshman Pete Daniel could lead off for the Bruins, catcher Landon Godsey has real pop in the 3-hole, and clean-up hitter Mason Landers is an all-around threat in the lineup.

South Carolina baseball has never played against Belmont. Game 1 will start at 4:00 on Friday, game 2's first pitch will be at 2:00, and the series finale will begin at 1:30. All three games are available on SEC Network+ on the ESPN app.

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