The Daily Gamecock

Gamecocks prep for away series against Mississippi State


After going 1-6 in a seven-game span, the South Carolina baseball team has started to move in the right direction with two consecutive wins.

However, the Gamecocks’ recent success will be put to the test Thursday when South Carolina opens up a three-game series on the road against Mississippi State.

After winning its first SEC series of the year against Kentucky in mid-March, No. 18 South Carolina (20-9, 5-4 SEC) has since lost its last two conference series against Missouri and Georgia.

With that said, the Gamecocks won its second consecutive game Tuesday night in Charleston, defeating The Citadel 2-0 in front of 5,972 spectators at Riley Park.

Although South Carolina struggled to manufacture runs, the Gamecocks did just enough on offense.

In particular, senior outfielder Elliott Caldwell did the heavy lifting at the plate for South Carolina, driving in both runs with an RBI triple in the second inning before giving the Gamecocks an insurance run in the eighth inning as he singled in a run.

96 at-bats into the season, Caldwell is second on the team in batting average (.365) and on-base percentage (.456), trailing only senior first baseman Kyle Martin in both categories.

South Carolina only managed two runs, that was more than enough, as the Gamecock pitchers had a great night.

Three different Gamecocks combined to pitch nine scoreless innings, surrendering just two hits.

Freshman pitcher Tyler Haswell started on the mound for South Carolina, striking out three batters, but it was senior pitcher Cody Mincey who earned the win, giving up just one hit in four innings of work.

South Carolina is hoping that its good pitching and timely hitting can continue in Starkville against Mississippi State.

Like South Carolina, Mississippi State has lost its last two SEC series, and the Bulldogs are coming off a mid-week extra-innings loss to South Alabama.

Still, winning on the road in SEC play is a tough thing to do no matter the opponent, and the Gamecocks are 2-4 in away games this season.

After its three weekend pitchers struggled against Georgia, South Carolina is hoping that junior Jack Wynkoop,sophomore Wil Crowe and freshman Clarke Schmidt can bounce back against a Mississippi State team that bats just .275 as a group.

Crowe is expected to get the nod in the series-opener Thursday night, while Wynkoop is scheduled to pitch Friday.

South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook has not named a starting pitcher for the series finale on Saturday, but Schmidt has started several weekends in a row.

Mississippi State senior pitcher Lucas Laster will take the mound on Thursday. The lefty boasts a 2.65 ERA through 37.1 innings pitched on the season.

After facing Mississippi State, the Gamecocks host Appalachian State on Tuesday, April 7.