The South Carolina baseball team was in need of a new ace to lead the team on Friday nights after redshirt sophomore right-hander Carmen Mlodzinski was drafted 31st overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates last summer, and redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Thomas Farr has stepped up to the challenge.
Farr originally transferred to South Carolina from Northwest Florida State College in 2019, following his true sophomore year that he missed due to any injury.
He earned wins for all three of his starts during the 2020 season, including a win against in-state rival Clemson, but COVID-19 ended the season before he got the chance to play any SEC games.
With the pandemic still raging on, Farr was also unable to get any playing time over the summer in the Cape Cod league like he had originally planned.
Despite having the opportunity to enter the shortened 2020 MLB draft, Farr chose to return as a redshirt junior, saying that he felt like he was being “a little shortchanged” since he hadn’t gotten the chance to play a full season in almost two years.
“I think for me, I really needed to play in the SEC to kind of prove that, you know, I was back to 100% healthy, I can compete at the highest level and stuff like that,” Farr said in a pre-season media availability.
Head baseball coach Mark Kingston said before the season began that Farr was a talented and hardworking power arm for the Gamecocks.
“I’m anxious to see what he can do because I think, knock on wood, he can do some real special things,” Kingston said.
Farr delivered prior to conference play, earning his first win of the season on opening day against the Dayton Flyers, where he struck out eight batters and started the season off with a 1.50 ERA.
He struck out a season-high ten batters against the University of Texas, and brought an ERA of 1.54 into the Gamecocks first SEC game against the No. 2 Vanderbilt Commodores.
In conference play, Farr both struggled and strived on the mound, but with the team going 1-5 in SEC series openers, has been unable to pick up his first SEC win.
Senior outfielder Andrew Eyster said the team feels bad for not being able to support Farr more offensively on Friday nights.
“We’ve got to do a better job, you know. He’s pitched way better than what his record shows," Eyster said. "Hopefully in the second half of SEC play we can come out on opening weekend, opening day of that weekend and give him some more runs.”
With four more conference series left before the end of the season, Farr currently holds a 2-4 record with a 3.36 ERA, but has been improving as the season goes on, according to Kingston.
After the Gamecocks dropped their series opener to the Arkansas Razorbacks on April 22, Kingston said Farr looked "as comfortable and in control of himself as he has all year" on the mound.
“While we did lose tonight, I feel really good about the progress I’ve made these last few weeks and that’s all you can really ask for — is just moving in the right direction," Farr said after the Arkansas game.