CHAPEL HILL, NC — When the South Carolina baseball teams series at LSU was tied at one game each in April, coach Chad Holbrook sent freshman left-hander Jack Wynkoop to the mound.
He responded with seven shutout innings in a 4-0 win to clinch the series against the Tigers, who have already qualified for the College World Series. Holbrook would love for Wynkoop (7-3, 2.92 ERA) to do the same when the Gamecocks (43-19) face North Carolina (56-10) in the NCAA Super Regional game that decides which team will advance to the CWS.
I hope the LSU experience will help him and give him some confidence and the belief that he can do it against a really, really good team, Holbrook said. Hell need some confidence against these guys, and hell need to get off to a good start. That will be paramount for him. Hes going to need to be very efficient right out of the gate.
The Gamecocks will face UNC sophomore right-hander Benton Moss (8-1, 3.78 ERA), a pitcher who has the ability to give opponents fits with his curve ball.
Weve got to be extremely disciplined against him. Weve got to make sure were swinging at our pitches. Weve got to lay off those pitches out of the strike zone, Holbrook said. He can get you to chase the breaking ball if you dont have a good plate approach against him. If were swing at that thing and its not a strike, its going to be a long day. Hell punch a lot of people out.
Lining it up
Holbrook expects to keep LB Danztler at designated hitter and Kyle Martin at first base Tuesday as he has done for all the NCAA tournament games. He has liked the way Martin has performed defensively and swung the bat. Martins hitting .450 with a homer and six RBIs in those five games.
Hes doing exactly what weve asked him to do, and hes played well, Holbrook said of the sophomore. Im excited about Kyle not only tomorrow but going forward. Im excited about Kyles future, too.
After playing Connor Bright in the first game of the Super Regional in right field and T.J. Costen there in the second game, Holbrook may go back to Bright for the third. Neither player got a hit in their starts, while Bright made a key error in Saturdays loss.
But Bright has a much better batting average against right-handed pitchers than Costen.
We might just play the numbers tomorrow. Connor has done some really good things for us over the course of the year, Holbrook said. Hes gone through a little bit of a down time, but I still think hes got a really big hit in him. I like his makeup, I like his demeanor.
Dont expect to see senior left-hander Nolan Belcher, who started Saturdays game, to be back on the mound in relief Tuesday. Holbrook said the circumstances would have to be extraordinary.
Thats something we dont want to do, Holbrook said. If our team needed an out and a leftys coming up and were in the 15th inning and we dont have anybody to go to, then maybe. I doubt that scenario will arise, and we certainly dont want to throw Nolan tomorrow at all.
Chad Holbrook on postponement
Mike Fox on postponement