South Carolina Baseball: Gamecocks Make Statement in Gainesville
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I wrote in my last article that the Gamecocks' offense was going to be key to having any chance of taking two of three from the Florida Gators.
Well, they followed my advice and got the statement road series victory this team desperately needed.
It all started during the week when Coach Ray Tanner (who probably did not take my advice directly, but you get my point) moved Jackie Bradley Jr. from the leadoff spot. He inserted Adam Matthews and the offense exploded for 24 runs against the College of Charleston and then for 17 runs the next night against Rhode Island University.
There was carry-over into the first game of the Florida series as the Gamecocks scored nine runs on the way to victory. Also, the Gamecocks were helped by a stellar pitching performance by Michael Roth who threw 8.2 innings and only allowed two runs to pick up his fifth win on the season.
The second and third games played more to what was to be expected.
Hudson Randall of Florida threw a gem in the second game, going the distance and not surrendering an earned run.
In game three, the Gamecocks' offense rallied from a three run deficit to win 4-3 thanks in large part to a costly Nolan Fontana error.
While the Gamecocks struggled on Saturday by being too patient they were able to stay aggressive on Friday and Sunday.
I knew it was going to be difficult for the Gamecocks to be so aggressive and it hurt them at times with some quick innings, but in the end it worked out for the best. All three Florida starters pounded the strike zone and kept the Gamecock hitters behind in the count.
The new-look batting order and smart approach at the plate are a testament to Coach Tanner. The Gamecocks looked well prepared for the Florida series and I am sure Coach Tanner had a lot to do with that.
The Gamecocks needed a big series win and they got it in Gainesville. Hopefully, the good feelings carry-over into the rest of the season but one thing from this past weekend is for sure; the Gamecocks have the talent to repeat as National Champions.
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