Fifth-year outfielder/first baseman Brandt Belk ended his first and only season with South Carolina as the team's leading hitter. A starter at Pepperdine and Missouri before becoming a Gamecock, Belk showed vast improvement during his final year of collegiate baseball.
Boasting a .340 batting average, Belk drove in 38 runs on 64 hits this season, six of which were home runs. This was an impressive 20-hit jump and .067 increase in batting average from his prior season.
At a press conference on April 27, head coach Mark Kingston explained that having Belk on the team is “like having a pro” since he‘s such a complete hitter.
"The fact that he's left-handed with extremely good hand-eye coordination really is a great starting point," Kingston said. "I just think he has a great feel for the game. He sees the ball really well and he knows what he's looking for. He knows what his strengths are, what his weaknesses are."
Belk's former Missouri coach, Steve Bieser, was happy to have the hitter join the program back in 2020, calling him “the Pepperdine transfer who can really hit.”
Despite being moved all around the field and batting order, he remained consistent at the plate. A season-long producer for an up-and-down South Carolina team, Belk highlighted his season with a 24-game hitting streak.
Early on in the season, Kingston recognized the effect that Belk and fellow fifth-year outfielder Andrew Eyster had on the offense from a production and a leadership standpoint.
“Those two guys have been vitally important to our offense but also in setting the tone for the whole team about how they go about their business,” Kingston said.
Belk showed this leadership and unselfishness after a loss to Georgia in early April, saying he has more important things to worry about before personal success.
"I'd trade 3-for-4 any day for a win," Belk said. "I go up there and my plan is to do what I can to help the team win. I just really want to win, and I don't even care about my personal success right now, to be honest."
Belk’s absence was felt in the lineup during the six games he missed this seasonas the team went 3-3 and was outscored 28-19.He finally settled in at the leadoff spot and after missing a game of the Ole Miss series, Kingston said it's different having him present.
"He makes us go, whether it's with getting hits, whether it's getting a bunt down, just whatever it is. He brings a different dynamic to our lineup and having him there at the top," Kingston said. "It's just different when you have an older guy up there."
Belk was one of two Gamecocks to earn All-SEC honors, being named to the second team while freshman infielder/right handed pitcher Michael Braswell earned All-Freshman honors. Belk previously earned the same honors in 2020 while batting .457 for Missouri in only 13 games.
After six years of collegiate baseball, including a redshirt season while at Pepperdine, Belk’s career has come to an end.
“I try not to think about senior day and my time coming to an end, of course. So, I kind of just put all that behind me,” Belk said after a late season win over Kentucky.
Aside from being a consistent hitter, his ability to put milestones such as senior day behind him in favor of a team-first mindset should help him on his journey to the big leagues.