Baseball notebook: Injury updates; Alabama pitcher suspended

nwhite@thestate.comApril 24, 2014 

South Carolina's Grayson Greiner (21) doesn't move after sliding head-first into third base during game action against USC Upstate at Carolina Stadium.

TRACY GLANTZ — tglantz@thestate.com

If it’s the weekend, it must mean an important SEC series for the South Carolina baseball team.

Eighth-ranked Alabama comes to Carolina Stadium to face the No. 11 Gamecocks as the mad scramble for the conference regular-season title continues. The Crimson Tide are tied with Florida at the top with 12-6 records, followed by LSU (10-7), USC (10-8), Ole Miss (10-8) and Mississippi State (10-8).

“We’re just beating each other up,” USC coach Chad Holbrook said. “It’s tight, and it magnifies the importance of each game.”

Alabama, a consistent NCAA tournament team, may have its best club in years with a veteran lineup and strong pitching.

Turn around

After a first-game loss in the Auburn series, the Gamecocks were on a five-game losing streak, their longest since 1997. But two one-run wins helped USC capture the series and start a four-game winning streak.

“It’s a totally different feel we have now than what we had last Saturday at Auburn,” Holbrook said. “We feel good about ourselves again, and, hopefully, we’ll continue to play that way.”

Getting better

Holbrook expects catcher Grayson Greiner to play this weekend after being tested for a concussion the past two days. (Greiner on Thursday night Tweeted that he would play).

Holbrook also expects right-hander Connor Bright, who had a hyper-extended right elbow, to be back in the lineup Friday night.

Second baseman Max Schrock and left-fielder Elliott Caldwell, who are dealing with back injuries, are not expected to play.

Down and out

Alabama junior left-handed pitcher Jon Keller, the team’s Sunday starter, has been suspended this weekend for a violation of team rules. Coach Mitch Gaspard said Keller (5-1, 1.94 ERA) would be reinstated Monday. He hasn’t named a replacement starter yet.

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