The South Carolina baseball team will head to Tuscaloosa on Thursday for a three-game series against the University of Alabama. The first pitch Thursday night is at 6 p.m. CT (7 p.m. ET).
The Gamecocks are coming off a win on Tuesday night with senior Jacob Olson hitting a home run in the bottom of the ninth inning to lead South Carolina to a 10-8 victory against No. 3 North Carolina State. South Carolina had four home runs against the Wolfpack, bringing the Gamecocks' season total up to 50. It also marked the fourth game this season in which the Gamecocks have won on a walk-off.
Alabama came away with an 8-4 loss against Troy on Tuesday night. However, South Carolina will have to prepare for a competitive matchup.
Junior Kolby Robinson leads the Crimson Tide offensively with a batting average of .365. Alabama is also endowed with dangerous pitchers. Sam Finnerty has 31 strikeouts in the 39 innings he has pitched this season. He is expected to pitch for the Crimson Tide on Thursday night. Brock Love, who leads the team with 33 strikeouts this season, will likely be on the mound on Friday.
On the Gamecocks' side, Jacob Olson is second in the league right now with 11 home runs and third in slugging percentage with .670.
Senior TJ Hopkins is tied for first place in the league in triples. The Gamecocks have several players with top-10 stats in the SEC currently, which they will be looking to draw on to defeat the Crimson Tide. Freshman Danny Lloyd is expected to pitch for the Gamecocks on Thursday with junior Reid Morgan on Friday.
"Baseball's a game of momentum," head coach Mark Kingston said to The State after South Carolina's win over the Wolfpacks. "Usually your momentum is your next pitcher, so (freshman) Danny Lloyd needs to do a nice job for us on Friday."
South Carolina will go into Thursday's game holding the better record in the series between the two teams with 36 wins and 27 losses to the Crimson Tide.
The last time the teams met, South Carolina won two of the three games played in Founder's Park. However, the Crimson Tide and the Gamecocks are tied for second to last place in the conference right now.
Losing the series would mean possibly missing the SEC tournament, but winning would provide a little security against tougher conference opponents South Carolina will face later in their conference play.
"There's a lot of teams down there that are kinda in our same spot," Kingston told The State. "There could be 10 to 11 teams that make the NCAAs from our conference, so we gotta continue to battle and find a way to get into that top 10 or 11, if not better."
With the recent victory over North Carolina State, Kingston has started to see some of the progress in his team that he has hoped for.
"If we commit to the things we’re working on, we can combine power and good at-bats, because we did both," Kingston said.
The series will wrap up on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. CT (2 p.m. ET). The Gamecocks will be back in action Tuesday to host Charlotte at Founder's Park.