South Carolina in the NCAA Tournament: Greenville Regional

Greenville Regional

1. East Carolina
2. South Carolina
3. Ohio State
4. UNC Wilmington
National Seeding:  ECU is the 12th seed and slated to face the winner of the Fayetteville Regional.
Player to Watch: Madison Stokes. Stokes has battled through injuries his entire South Carolina career but has turned it up since he got healthy.  The Gamecocks struggled early in the season and were dead in the water after losing the Arkansas series. But the Gamecocks exploded in a sweep of LSU with Stokes leading the charge. 
Stokes hit .325 the rest of the season, adding a strong bat to the top half of the lineup and changing the way opposing pitchers attacked the Cocks lineup.  He led the team in hitting and slugging this year and will need a big performance in Greenville to keep this surge going.
Top 3 Themes in this Regional:

1. Can the South Carolina starting pitching get deep into the game?  The Gamecock starters are averaging about 5 innings this season.  There are some really good arms in the pen but to grind it out in a regional, starters Adam Hill and Cody Morris need to get into the 6th or 7th if they want to have a shot at advancing.
2. Can the USC bats stay hot?  The season turned on the offensive explosion against LSU, Vandy, and Ole Miss. The Cocks scored 30, 19, and 29 in those 3 series, respectively, to help turn around their fortunes in the SEC. USC scored 8 or more runs in 8 of their last 15 SEC regular season games and will need similar production this weekend.
3. Weather could play a big role:  The forecast looks like it could be pretty rough this weekend in Greenville.  Nothing disrupts a pitching staff like rain delays. If these games get hit with delays, the bullpens will bear an even heavier load than expected and someone will have to emerge to carry their team.
South Carolina’s chances to win it:  50%  This regional is a complete toss up for me and any of the 4 could advance.  South Carolina and ECU have an edge with better and deeper bullpens.
Why ECU will win it:  I believe ECU has the better starting pitching and a deep bullpen to back it up and being at home is always a big advantage.
What is success for South Carolina?  Getting to the finals of this regional.
SouthernCFB’s SEC Regional Previews

Florida Gators: Gainesville Regional

Ole Miss Rebels: Oxford Regional

Arkansas Razorbacks: Fayetteville Regional

Georgia Bulldogs: Athens Regional

Auburn Tigers: Raleigh Regional

LSU Tigers: Corvallis Regional

Vanderbilt Commodores: Clemson Regional

Mississippi State Bulldogs: Tallahassee Regional

South Carolina Gamecocks: Greenville Regional

Texas A&M Aggies: Austin Regional

Towns played baseball for Houston in the mid-90’s. He is most famous for walking 9 LSU batters in just 3 innings.

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