Baseball Announces Opening Weekend Rotation
COLUMBIA – Head Coach Mark Kingston announced his opening weekend rotation this afternoon (Tuesday, Feb. 14) for the three-game series against UMass Lowell. The Gamecocks will go with junior Will Sanders, senior Noah Hall, and junior Jack Mahoney for the first three contests.
Sanders, who gets the ball on Opening Day for the second straight season, was 7-3 with a 3.43 ERA and 91 strikeouts in 89.1 innings pitched as a sophomore in 2022. He was named to the Golden Spikes Award Watch List and is a Preseason All-American by three organizations. The right-hander finished fifth in the SEC in innings pitched and 10th in both ERA and strikeouts. He tied a Founders Park record with 14 strikeouts against Clemson on March 4 and had 11 strikeouts in seven innings of work in a win over Vanderbilt on March 25. Sanders struck out 10 batters in the SEC Tournament game against Florida (May 24), allowing just four hits and an unearned run in seven innings of work.
Hall made 15 appearances with 12 starts in his first year at Carolina in 2022. The Appalachian State transfer pitched 76.2 innings, striking out 78 batters to go along with a 4.34 ERA. Hall’s numbers improved in SEC play, as he was 3-3 with a 3.18 ERA and 60 strikeouts in 62.1 innings pitched. He was a two-time SEC Co-Pitcher of the Week, garnering the award after wins over Alabama (April 29) and Kentucky (May 14). He allowed two hits while striking out eight in a win over the Wildcats and struck out eight in seven innings of work in a win over the Crimson Tide. Hall was selected in the 20th round of the 2022 MLB First-Year Player Draft by the Milwaukee Brewers.
Mahoney will make his first appearance on the mound since May of 2021. The Arlington Hts., Ill., native did not pitch in 2022 after suffering an elbow injury his freshman season. Mahoney did play 15 games for the Gamecocks in the field, belting a pair of home runs with four RBI. As a freshman, Mahoney was 3-0 with a 1.62 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 33.1 innings pitched. He went a season long 7.2 innings against The Citadel (April 27, 2021), striking out six and allowing five hits and no runs in a win.