COLUMBIA (WACH)- Despite being swept in two conference series matchups, South Carolina is still in prime position to make a run into the postseason. The Gamecocks (28-10, 8-7 SEC) will host Kentucky (24-12, 7-8 SEC) this weekend in a three-game series at Carolina Stadium.
"It's two teams that were probably picked to finish in the Top 10 in preseason polls," Chad Holbrook said. "Both teams are trying to get off the mat so to speak."
The Gamecocks and Wildcats come into the series limping a bit, both 2-3 in their previous five games.
"I don't think you'll see anywhere across the baseball field in the country two more motivated teams to play well than Kentucky and South Carolina," Holbrook said.
Despite recent struggles, the Gamecocks are tied for second in the SEC East and fourth overall in the SEC at the midway point of conference play. Through 38 games, USC's offensive numbers are higher this season than they were in 2012. As a team, the Gamecocks are batting .287, have scored 241 runs, hit 35 homers and have stolen 39 bases.
The pitching staff is hoping for good news this weekend from senior closer Tyler Webb. Holbrook says Webb will test his sore throwing elbow by throwing catch on Thursday and will be evaluated by doctors on Friday to see if he will be available to pitch.
Holbrook also mentioned that it may not be this weekend, but shortstop Joey Pankake will pitch in relief soon.
"He's got two bullpens under his belt now, and they've been great," Holbrook said. "Coach (Jerry) Meyers is excited about putting him out there and we'll bring D.C. (Arendas) off the bench to play defense."
Here is the probable pitching rotation for the Kentucky series:
USC- Nolan Belcher (Sr. LHP) 5-3, 1.63 ERA
Kentucky- A.J. Reed (So. LHP) 2-4, 3.02 ERA
USC- Jordan Montgomery (So. LHP) 3-0, 0.69 ERA
Kentucky- Jerad Grundy (Sr. LHP) 5-4, 4.18 ERA
Kentucky- Corey Littrell (Jr. LHP) 4-2, 3.16 ERA