What hopes USC had of knocking off LSU in Saturday’s SEC Tournament first semi-final game ended quickly. Like the third pitch of the game. That’s when the Tigers’ Kramer Robertson went deep off Colby Lee, and it was all downhill from there for the Gamecocks in an 11-0 loss that ended after seven innings. The Tigers added a two run homer in the inning, scored two runs in the second and put the game away with six runs in the third. The question now for the Gamecocks is, do they put away their bats and balls for the season, or is there a regional in their future?
Chad Holbrook said prior to the SEC Tournament he did not think his team’s regular season resume warranted an at-large NCAA Tournament bid. His hope was a deep run in Hoover would impress the selection committee and that many of the favorites around the country would win their tournaments keeping open as many at-large bids as possible.
The Gamecocks did their part to return to the conversation this week by winning three games, including victories over higher seeded teams Vanderbilt, Missouri and Kentucky. They won 35 games against a schedule currently ranked 5th in the country despite a season long battle with injuries. And they have an RPI, as of Saturday afternoon, of 31.
Holbrook contends with starters Wil Crowe and Adam Hill plus a bullpen of Tyler Johnson, Josh Reagan and Reed Scott, his team can win a regional and a super regional. Yet, the committee can’t overlook the facts that the Gamecocks are without some of their top players, thus weakening their lineup, and they did lose their last eight SEC series.
If nothing else from this weekend, Gamecock fans should see hope for the future assuming the MLB Draft isn’t too hard on the team. What they don’t know is if that future is next Friday or next February.
Chad Holbrook postgame press conference
Alex Destino and Jonah Bride postgame press conference