Gamecocks ready to host first regional since 2016

COLUMBIA — The University of South Carolina baseball team opens NCAA Tournament play this Friday afternoon against Virginia in the NCAA Columbia Regional at Founders Park. First pitch is scheduled for 12 p.m. Friday’s game will be televised on ESPN2 with Mike Monaco and Gabby Sanchez on the call. Every Gamecock contest will be on the Gamecock Radio Network with Derek Scott and Tommy Moody on the call. Carolina is hosting a regional for the first time since 2016 and is playing in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2018. The Gamecocks fell to Alabama, 9-3, last Tuesday in the SEC Tournament first round.

PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
Friday
South Carolina Brett Kerry (Jr. RHP) 5-1,1.90 ERA, 9 BB, 83 SO
Virginia Andrew Abbott (Sr., LHP) 8-5, 2.63 ERA, 28 BB, 136 SO

SCOUTING VIRGINIA
The Cavaliers are coming off a semifinal berth in the ACC Tournament in Charlotte. Virginia defeated Virginia Tech and Notre Dame before falling to Duke, who was the eventual ACC Tournament champion. The Cavaliers are led on the mound by Andrew Abbott, who is 8-5 with a 2.63 ERA and has 136 strikeouts in 89 innings pitched. Kyle Teel leads Virginia’s offense, hitting .311 with 33 RBI.

SERIES VS. VIRGINIA
Carolina holds a 36-28 series advantage over Virginia heading into Friday’s game. The last time the two teams met was in the 2011 College World Series, when the Gamecocks defeated the Cavaliers twice, including a 3-2, 13-inning win that advanced the Gamecocks to the national championship series.

NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY
South Carolina makes its 33rd appearance in the NCAA Tournament and has an overall record of 136-69 with national titles in 2010 and 2011, a national runner-up in 2012 and 11 overall College World Series appearances. The Gamecocks are making their first tournament appearance since 2018 and are hosting for the first time since 2016. For full Gamecock NCAA Tournament history and results, turn to pages 8-9 of the game notes.

CLARKE AMONG NATIONAL HOME RUN LEADERS
Heading into the NCAA Tournament, Wes Clarke is tied for the lead in home runs with 22 round trippers. Clarke also is tied for fifth in Carolina’s single-season home run list. He needs one more to tie Nick Ebert (2009), Justin Smoak (2008) and Joe Datin (1985) for second place. His 31 career home runs is tied for 18th with Jacob Olson (2017-19), Michael Campbell (2003-06), Brendan Winn (2004-05), Yaron Peters (2001-02), Jerry Shepherd (1991-92) and Dave Hollins (1985-87).

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