Resurgent Gamecocks Stay HotColumns
COLUMBIA, S.C. — Most people around college baseball — those of us on the D1Baseball staff certainly included — had pretty much left South Carolina for dead just a couple of weeks ago. The Gamecocks looked like a real long shot for the NCAA tournament after dropping two of three at Arkansas in mid-April, giving them four series losses in five SEC weekends and leaving them at 6-9 in the conference with a mid-70s RPI.
The Gamecocks bottomed out two days later with a 7-4 Tuesday loss to a 12-26 Presbyterian club, but it turned out that moment summoned a reserve of heart and fight in this group of Gamecocks, who rose from the ashes to sweep LSU later that week, then won a huge road series at Vanderbilt a week later, capped by a stirring 10-9 comeback victory in Sunday’s rubber game. South Carolina kept its foot on the accelerator in Friday’s opener against No. 4 Ole Miss, cruising to a 13-5 win that improved its conference record to 12-10. In the span of two weeks, South Carolina transformed itself from an SEC also-ran into a bona fide contender.
And it all started with a loss to Presbyterian that looked crippling and demoralizing from the outside, but awoke the pride and character inside the South Carolina clubhouse.
“I do remember the speech that night after that loss, I do remember very clearly what we did the next day in practice, and the tone we tried to set those 48 hours between that Presbyterian game and the following Friday night game,” South Carolina coach Mark Kingston said. “To me, that was the turning point, that whole development started that night when we lost that game, and the adjustments we made. A lot of different adjustments, on the field and off the field. Clearly that is a turning point right now, but we’re still a long way from the finish, so I don’t think we need to write that book just yet.”