The Florida Gators will be on the road for a three-game weekend series for the first time this season. The Gators will travel to Columbia, South Carolina to take on the South Carolina Gamecocks.
South Carolina is the 25th ranked team in the country according to D1 Baseball’s Top 25 rankings. The Gamecocks are coming off a tough weekend as they dropped two out of three against Vanderbilt. South Carolina did rebound with an 8-3 midweek win over The Citadel.
The Florida Gators had a pretty good weekend last week as they opened up SEC play against the Texas A&M Aggies. Florida swept the Aggies at home making 3-0 to start their SEC part of their schedule. South Carolina will be a tough test for the Gators as they have some quality arms at bats on their roster.
Starting Pitching Matchups
South Carolina Gamecocks
The Gamecocks are led by head coach Mark Kingston, who is in the middle of his fourth season with South Carolina.
The Gamecocks pitching staff will be led by their ace right-handed pitcher Thomas Farr. The JUCO transfer out of Florida will set the start for South Carolina in the series opener. In five starts, Farr has a 2-1 record with a 2.15 ERA and 1.26 WHIP. He also has 12 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 29.1 innings pitched.
Right-handed pitcher Brannon Jordan is the projected Saturday starter for South Carolina. Jordan has a 1-2 record in five starts with a 3.52 ERA, .146 opponent batting average, and 1.22 WHIP. Redshirt-sophomore LHP Julian Bosnic is the projected Sunday starter. The Florida native has a 1-1 record with a 5.51 ERA and 16.5 K/9 in four starts.
As for the Gamecocks offense, they are off to a solid start as they are batting .269 on the season. South Carolina’s DH Wes Clarke is off to a great start and even leads the SEC in home runs.
Clarke is batting .338 with 22 hits, eleven home runs, 23 RBIs, .877 slugging percentage, and a team-high 1.371 OPS. Infielder Braylen Wimmer is South Carolina’s leading hitter. He’s slashing .371/.452/.710 with 23 hits, six doubles, five home runs, eleven RBIs and has a 1.162 OPS. Two other Gamecock hitters to watch this weekend are leadoff hitter Brady Allen and outfielder Andrew Eyster.
Projected Gamecocks Lineup
The Gators enter this series with a 16-5 record and 3-0 conference record.
The Gators will feature the same weekend rotation as they have had all season. Junior right-handed pitcher Tommy Mace will be on the mound Friday night. Mace has been terrific in the 2021 season. In five starts, Mace has a 4-0 record with a 2.10 ERA, 0.77 WHIP, 12.6 K/9, 1.2 BB/9, and a .178 opponent batting average.
Junior right-handed pitcher Jack Leftwich will get the start on Saturday and freshman left-handed pitcher Hunter Barco will be on the mound for the series finale on Sunday. Leftwich has been excellent this season with a 4-0 record, 1.71 ERA, 0.79 WHIP, and .144 opponent batting average. Barco is looked like his old self after a rough outing versus Miami. Barco has a 3-1 record with a 5.26 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 13.3 K/9.
The Florida Gators offense has been off to a nice start in the 2021 season. In fourteen games, Florida has scored 164 runs which rank sixth in the country. The Gators are also averaging 7.8 runs per game which is ranked 28th in the country. The Gators also have a .302 team batting average that ranks 21st in the country.
The Gators’ offense is hitting well heading into SEC play due to the production from their entire lineup and three freshmen. Colby Halter is one of three freshmen that’s producing at the plate for the Gators.
The freshman infield is the team’s leading hitter. Halter is slashing .348/451/.565 with four doubles, three home runs, 20 RBIs, and a 1.016 OPS. Catcher/DH Nathan Hickey is also having a nice season for the Gators.
Hickey is slashing .347/.474/.600 with five doubles, four home runs, 22 RBIs, and a team-high 1.074 OPS. Top draft prospect Jud Fabian is starting to heat up at the plate for Florida. Fabian is batting .289 with a team-high eight home runs, 23 RBIs, and a 1.006 OPS. Two other Gators hitters to watch this weekend are leadoff hitter Jacob Young and catcher Mac Guscette.