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LSU Baseball: Introduction to South Carolina


The series to watch this week in the SEC once again features the Fighting Tigers of LSU. This week they travel to Columbia, South Carolina, to once again face a team ranked #1 in at least one national poll. The Gamecocks come into the series having won six of their last seven weekend series splitting last weekend’s series with Georgia as rain cancelled the final game.

Here’s the offensive numbers for the likely South Carolina starters:

BA

AB

Runs

Hits

2B

HR

RBI

BB

K

TB

Christian Walker

.343

178

39

61

9

9

45

37

17

99

Kyle Martin

.322

59

9

19

5

1

11

8

14

27

Tanner English

.315

184

36

58

3

0

17

13

46

67

Joey Pankake

.290

169

36

49

13

2

20

22

28

70

Evan Marzilli

.288

198

43

57

10

2

29

25

38

77

LB Dantzler

.255

196

28

50

11

9

43

20

28

88

Grayson Greiner

.247

150

21

37

10

6

31

27

35

67

Chase Vergason

.241

79

14

19

5

1

5

13

13

27

Adam Matthews

.214

159

21

34

3

4

15

16

37

49

 

The numbers don’t necessarily jump off the page with the exception of Walker and English, but the Gamecocks have found a way to put hits together for big score lines. South Carolina actually ranks eighth in the league in hitting, but they are very capable of scoring runs. In their last 11 conference games, the Gamecocks have scored 82 runs which is an average of almost 7.5 runs per game.

South Carolina has needed all the runs they can get, though, as the pitching staff has given up just under five runs per game. Over the same 11 game stretch, opponents have plated 52 runs. The pitching staff is lead by ace Michael Roth with 13 starts. Jordan Montgomery and Colby Holmes each have 10 starts, but the Sunday starter has been shuffled around in recent weeks. Here’s the line on Roth and Montgomery:

ERA

W-L

App

IP

Hits

ER

BB

K

OBA

Michael Roth

2.60

5-0

13

86.2

60

25

27

66

.194

Jordan Montgomery

4.42

4-1

12

55

59

27

6

40

.276

 

If LSU can get to the starter, the bullpen is something of a grab bag with some relievers posting eye-popping numbers while others seem quite vulnerable:

ERA

W-L

App

IP

Hits

ER

BB

K

OBA

Patrick Sullivan

2.95

0-0

11

21.1

22

7

11

14

.275

Forrest Koumas

5.40

2-2

15

20

21

12

13

23

.269

Tyler Webb

1.77

4-0

28

35.2

29

7

8

36

2.15

Evan Beal

3.32

3-3

22

40.2

28

15

21

46

.203

Matt Price

3.72

4-4

20

58

40

24

26

63

.195

Colby Holmes

3.29

6-0

10

52

48

19

12

44

.242

Adam Westmoreland

2.86

2-1

7

22

20

7

4

14

.238

Joel Seddon

2.76

2-0

9

16.1

9

5

6

13

.164

Nolan Belcher

2.39

4-2

16

26.1

19

7

11

30

.207

Hunter Privette

1.86

1-0

14

9.2

9

2

2

14

.243

 

Thursday night’s game will be tough if the Tigers fail to knock Roth out early. In every conference game Roth has started this season, he has handed the ball to the bullpen with his team in the lead. Once Roth has finished his weekend, the Tiger hitters’ chances of knocking this staff around increase significantly.

The Gamecocks have their own offensive weapons, though, and if LSU starters have trouble getting ahead of batters early, the contests could quickly turn into slugfests. It will be difficult for both offenses as Thursday features two of the top pitchers in the conference in Roth and LSU’s Kevin Gausman, but things could alter drastically if Aaron Nola and Ryan Eades are unable to find the kind of form they’ve shown for most of the season.

It was announced this week that LSU will be missing two players who have contributed significantly to the team this season. Ty Ross is still recovering from an appendectomy and is likely to be out for at least one more week, meaning he will likely miss the SEC Tournament. The loss of Ross proved costly last weekend as Vanderbilt was able to run fairly easily on backup catcher Jordy Snikeris. South Carolina doesn’t steal much, but Marzilli and English are legitimate threats on the base paths and could be a significant concern this weekend.

After pitching five innings and earning his third victory of the year Tuesday night, Kurt McCune has also been deemed unavailable for this weekend’s series. McCune started the season as the Sunday starter, but struggled earlier eventually losing his spot to Nola. Since being moved to the bullpen, McCune has proved a capable setup man. The LSU bullpen is deep, though, and should be able to adjust to the loss of McCune.

Kentucky leads the conference overall with a one game lead over LSU and a half game lead over South Carolina. With the SEC regular season title on the line, this weekend’s series ought to be a close, hotly contested struggle between two of the best teams in the league as they prepare for their appearance in Hoover.

Tags: Christian Walker Featured Kevin Gausman LSU Baseball Michael Roth Popular SEC Baseball South Carolina Baseball South Carolina Gamecocks Tanner English Ty Ross