The Daily Gamecock

Baseball notebook: Gamecocks fall in rankings, face The Citadel next

The South Carolina baseball team was able to end a rough week on a good note with an 8-5 win against Georgia on Sunday, but the Gamecocks, losers in six of their last eight games, still fell in two different rankings.

South Carolina, previously ranked No. 12, slid down to the No. 18 spot in Baseball America’s Top 25 poll. Meanwhile, the Gamecocks are now ranked No. 21 in D1Baseball’s rankings.

Prior to South Carolina’s rough stretch, head coach Chad Holbrook’s team had won 10 straight games, including a three-game sweep of Kentucky to open up conference play.

However, the Gamecocks have struggled to swing the bat at times as of late, while also having a tough time protecting late leads.

After losing the first two games of the Georgia series, Holbrook said that his team needed a confidence boost of sorts. 

“Our team’s a little bit fragile to say the least from a confidence standpoint,” Holbrook said Saturday. “I have to continue to search for ways to make them feel better about themselves than they do right now. They want to win. I have good kids in the locker room who really want to win and work extremely hard.”

Holbrook admitted that his team has “scuffled” and competed, but just hasn't  done quite enough to come away with victories.

The Gamecocks are hoping that their three-run win over the Bulldogs could perhaps be the beginning of a better stretch of play. South Carolina overcame an early 2-0 deficit and won behind strong performances by several freshmen.

Freshman catcher Hunter Taylor broke open a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the sixth inning with a solo home run, and freshman relief pitcher Brandon Murray would eventually pick up the win for the Gamecocks.

Freshman third baseman Madison Stokes also finished with two RBIs, while freshman left fielder Clark Scolamiero drove in one run, too.

In total, Holbrook went with five freshmen in his starting lineup on Sunday, and he’s happy with the way his younger players performed.

“I asked the players to give us everything they had,” Holbrook said. “I put some freshmen in there and they did [a] good job. Hunter Taylor had a big hit and Madison Stokes had a big hit. Clarke Schmidt handled adversity the right way and gave us a chance even though his line’s not great.”

South Carolina will look to build upon its latest win and handle its business Tuesday on the road at The Citadel.

While the Gamecocks excelled at mid-week games earlier in the season, South Carolina has lost two straight Tuesday nonconference matchups against Winthrop and Coastal Carolina.

Both of those losses were in extra innings and the Chanticleers have since entered Baseball America’s Top 25 poll at No. 23 since defeating South Carolina.

After facing The Citadel, the Gamecocks will resume SEC play with a three-game series on the road against Mississippi State that begins Thursday.