Greiner carries hot streak into series with Razorbacks
There’s no one good way to describe the way junior catcher Grayson Greiner is playing. But he’s out of his mind.
He’s hitting an absurd .581 with runners in scoring position to go with his .363 batting average, not to mention his two walk-off hits in South Carolina’s last three games.
But head coach Chad Holbrook isn’t worried about trying to explain it; he’s just happy to have Greiner on his side.
“That kid, he has a way of making a coach feel awful confident,” Holbrook said. “The kid is one of the best players in college baseball, and if he’s not the front-runner for the Johnny Bench Award, I don’t know who is.”
Whether it’s in the Gamecocks’ dugout or around the city of Columbia, Greiner-mania is in full swing after his recent heroics.
But according to Greiner, a Team USA alumnus, his success is just a byproduct of the confidence on this year’s South Carolina baseball team.
“We don’t even have to pump up our dugout, pump up anything; we just know that we’re going to win the game,” Greiner said. “Until the last out, we honestly believe that no matter what happens, we’re going to win the game.”
Since losing two straight games at Kentucky, the Gamecocks (25-3, 6-3 SEC) have reeled off seven consecutive victories, a streak they’ll look to expand on this weekend in Arkansas.
The Razorbacks are 18-10 with a 4-5 SEC record, and they currently sit at fourth in the conference’s Western division.
And while South Carolina fans are getting a good show from a team that has been affectionately dubbed “the Cardiac Cocks,” Holbrook is wary of having to win games in the ninth inning.
“We’re going to see some of the best pitching we’ve seen all year this weekend,” Holbrook said. “And we’re going to have to have a better offensive approach if we’re going to have any success out in Arkansas.”
Based on the numbers, Holbrook is right. The Razorbacks’ pitching staff owns the seventh-best earned run average in the nation, and their 2.21 mark is better than any team South Carolina has faced this year.
Arkansas is also ranked seventh in hits allowed per nine innings, another number that’s best among the Gamecocks’ opponents thus far.
“We’ve got to get some guys swinging the bat before I feel better about our team,” Holbrook said.
While the Razorback pitchers pose a viable threat to the South Carolina offense, fatigue could be setting in for Arkansas at any moment.
Saturday’s series finale between the Razorbacks and the Gamecocks will be Arkansas’ eighth game in as many days, and its 11th contest in the last 12 days.
South Carolina will open up their series against the Razorbacks with an uncharacteristic Thursday game in Fayetteville, Ark.
The Gamecocks are in a deadlock with the Florida Gators for the top spot in the SEC Eastern division. Three wins at Arkansas this weekend could go a long way towards claiming sole possession of the lead with Florida traveling to Lexington, Ky., where South Carolina lost its only series of the season.
“I feel good about our record. I feel good about where we are,” Holbrook said. “But there’s some things I don’t feel good about either, and we’re going to have to continue to improve.”