Gamecock baseball hosts Holy Cross to open 2020 season
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina baseball team begins its 128th season of play this weekend as the Gamecocks welcome Holy Cross to Founders Park. Opening Day is Friday, Feb. 14 at 4 p.m. The two teams will play on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 2 p.m. and conclude the series on Sunday, Feb. 16 at 12 p.m. All three games will be streamed on SEC Network Plus with Burch Antley and Kip Bouknight on the call. All three games also will be broadcast on The Game 107.5 FM with Derek Scott, Drew Meyer and Tommy Moody on the call. The three-game series opens a 10-game homestand for the Gamecocks. South Carolina will play 18 of its first 21 games at Founders Park.
For the fourth straight season, shuttle parking for the University of South Carolina baseball season will be operational at the Key Road Gravel Lot (1105 Key Road) and in Lot B of the Colonial Life Arena parking lot. Shuttles will begin running two hours prior to game time.
We strongly recommend that fans use the baseball shuttle from Key Road to Founders Park over the CLA shuttle for the convenience, spacious parking (650 spaces) and less congestion than at the arena. Please remember that at the arena, shuttle parking will be limited to 50 spaces because of the student demand for parking in this area. There is a high student demand Monday through Thursday that lasts until 7 p.m. because of classes. Lots A and B are also reserved for men’s and women’s basketball parking on Feb. 15 and 22.
For GPS purposes, the address for the Key Road Gravel Lot is 1105 Key Road, Columbia, SC 29201.
BUSINESS LOTS DURING AFTERNOON GAMES Business lot parking passes will be honored in Lot 1 ONLY for the Feb. 14, 18, 19, 21 and 25 afternoon baseball games based on availability. The businesses at 405 (Lot 9) and 401 (Lot 10) Huger Street request that you begin parking at 5:30 p.m. on weekdays. Other business lots open at 5 p.m. on weekdays. Parking is allowed in Lot 8 (the Cregger lot) on the Williams St. side for the afternoon early games.
GAME DAY PARKING INFORMATION (including public game day lots (PGDL: $10/$5 per game))
Weekday 4 p.m. Games (Feb. 14, 18, 19, 21, 25)
Game time: 4 p.m.
Stadium opens: 2:30 p.m.
Business Lots Open: 5/5:30 p.m.
Lot 1, STDM, HDG PDGL Open: 1 p.m.
Bus Shuttle for Patrons: 2 p.m.
Weekdays (Feb. 28 and After)
Game Time: 7 p.m.
Stadium Opens: 5:30 p.m.
Business Lots Open: 5/5:30 p.m.
Lot 1, STDM, HDG PGDL Open: 4 p.m.
Bus Shuttle for Patrons: 5 p.m.
Game Time: 2 p.m.
Stadium Opens: 12:30 p.m.
Business Lots Open: 11 a.m.
Lot 1, STDM, HDG PGDL Open: 11 a.m.
Bus Shuttle for Patrons: 12 p.m.
Game Time: 12 p.m.
Stadium Opens: 10:30 a.m.
Business Lots Open: 8:30 a.m.
Lot 1, STDM, HDG PGDL Open: 8:30 a.m.
Bus Shuttle for Patrons: 9:30 a.m.
Head Coach Mark Kingston will go with redshirt sophomore righthander Carmen Mlodzinski, sophomore righthander Brett Kerry and junior righthander Brannon Jordan for the opening weekend rotation.
Mlodzinski will get the ball on Opening Day for the second consecutive season as he had a no-decision in the 6-5 loss to Liberty on Feb. 15, 2019. The Hilton Head native made just three appearances last year before an injury in the Clemson game sidelined him for the spring. Mlodzinski has a tremendous summer in the Cape Cod League and is ranked No. 7 in the Top College Prospect list by D1Baseball.com.
Kerry is coming off a great rookie campaign, earning Freshman All-America honors by four different organization and an SEC All-Freshman nod in 2019. Kerry was 4-1 with a 2.62 ERA in 22 appearances and had 65 strikeouts in 58.1 innings pitched. This will be Kerry’s third career start for the Gamecocks, as he had a no-decision against Valparaiso on March 10 and picked up a win in the regular-season finale at Mississippi State on May 18.
Jordan was selected in the 31st round of the 2019 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Tampa Bay Rays. He attended Cowley County Community College in Kansas for two years and was named the Jayhawk East Conference and Region 6 Pitcher of the Year in 2019, striking out 74 in 61.1 innings.
PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
South Carolina Carmen Mlodzinski (R-So. RHP) 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.0 IP, 0 BB, 0 SO
Holy Cross Garret Keough (Jr. RHP) 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.0 IP, 0 BB, 0 SO
South Carolina Brett Kerry (So. RHP) 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.0 IP, 0 BB, 0 SO
Holy Cross Luke Dawson (Jr. LHP) 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.0 IP, 0 BB, 0 SO
South Carolina Brannon Jordan (Jr. RHP) 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.0 IP, 0 BB, 0 SO
Holy Cross Liam Dvorak (Jr. RHP) 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.0 IP, 0 BB, 0 SO
SCOUTING HOLY CROSS
Holy Cross is coming off a 22-32 season in 2019 while going 15-10 in conference play. The Crusaders are picked to finish third in the Patriot League in a poll by the league’s coaches and sports information directors. Junior Liam Dvorak was selected as the Patriot League Preseason Pitcher of the Year. Dvorak was 6-5 with a 3.58 ERA and a save in 14 appearances in 2019. He had 83 strikeouts in 75.1 innings pitched and was on the All-Patriot League first team. He was joined on the Patriot League’s preseason team with Riley Livingston and Austin Masel, Livingston, a senior catcher, started in 42 games for the Crusaders in 2019 while Masel, a senior outfielder, was named to the All-Patriot League second team last season.
Carolina welcomes in 16 newcomers to the 2020 team, eight high schoolers, six junior college transfers and two grad transfers. Freshman Brennan Milone is expected to start on Opening day at third base, while grad transfers Bryant Bowen and Dallas Beaver are projected to be in the lineup. Junior Noah Myers will earn the start in center field while freshman Braylen Wimmer and junior Jeff Heinrich could see time in the infield. On the mound, junior Brannon Jordan will start on Sunday on opening weekend and classmates Thomas Farr and Andrew Peters is in the mix for the start in the midweek. Freshmen Brett Thomas and Trey Tujetsch will look to pitch valuable innings out of the bullpen. This recruiting class was ranked as high as No. 3 in the country by Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. D1Baseball.com had the class at No. 9 in the country while Baseball America tabbed it at No. 11 in the nation. This class has six players (Andrew Peters, Brennan Milone, Noah Myers, Brannon Jordan, Thomas Farr and Jeff Heinrich) that were selected in the 2019 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
GRAD TRANSFERS LOOK TO PROVIDE IMMEDIATE IMPACT
The Gamecocks’ picked up a pair of graduate transfers this past summer in Dallas Beaver (UCF) and Bryant Bowen (Southern Miss). Both are expected to contribute immediately as Beaver can start at catcher and play infield, while Bowen could play in the infield, outfield or be the team’s designated hitter. Beaver played three seasons at UCF, helping the Knights to a regional berth in 2017 and 111 wins from 2017-19. He led the team and was fifth in the American in RBI last year (56) while hitting .316 with 12 doubles, 12 home runs and a 1.000 OPS. Beaver was an All-AAC second team selection as a junior, hitting .284 with six home runs and 30 RBI. Bowen played three seasons at Southern Miss, hitting .341 with 11 doubles, 11 home runs and 51 RBI last year for the Golden Eagles, who appeared in the 2019 Baton Rouge Regional. Bowen played in 125 games with 101 starts for Southern Miss and was an All-Conference USA second team selection in 2019. He has a 22-game hitting streak as a senior, which is tied for the eighth longest in Southern Miss history.
GAMECOCKS IN THE PRESEASON PROJECTIONS
The website D1Baseball.com picked the Gamecocks to finish fourth in the SEC East Division and advanced to postseason play in 2020. Carmen Mlodzinski was the No. 4 Top Prospect in the SEC for the 2020 draft, followed by Thomas Farr (No. 28), Noah Campbell (No. 31) and Brannon Jordan (No. 37). Brady Allen was ranked the No. 37 Top Prospect in the SEC for the 2021 draft followed by Wes Clarke (No. 45). Brennan Milone was pegged the No. 9 impact freshman in the league with Brett Thomas at No. 36.
The Gamecocks were picked in the “10 More to Watch” list by D1Baseball.com, narrowly missing out on the preseason Top-25 list.
In Baseball America’s 2019 SEC preview, the magazine picked Carolina fifth in the East while Mlodzinski was named the No. 4 Top 2020 Draft prospect in the league. Thomas, Milone and Farr all were named Top Newcomers in the SEC, coming in at No. 7, 9 and 10, respectively.
The Gamecocks will host a pair of midweek contests at Founders Park. Carolina faces Winthrop Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 18) and Presbyterian Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 19). Both games will start at 4 p.m. and will be streamed on SECN+. The Gamecocks will host a pair of midweek contests at Founders Park. Carolina faces Winthrop Tuesday afternoon (Feb. 18) and Presbyterian Wednesday afternoon (Feb. 19). Both games will start at 4 p.m. and will be streamed on SECN+.