Baseball Opens NCAA Tournament Play Friday Night
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The University of South Carolina baseball team is the 15 seed in the NCAA Tournament and will host the NCAA Columbia Regional from June 2-5. The Gamecocks will face Central Connecticut State on Friday, June 2 at 7 p.m. to open tournament play. Campbell and N.C. State round out the regional field. Those teams will play Friday at 1 p.m.
— Gamecock Baseball (@GamecockBasebll) June 1, 2023
Friday’s game will be televised on ESPN+ with Derek Jones and Roddy Jones on the call. All games also will be broadcast on the Gamecocks Sports Network from Learfield with Derek Scott and Tommy Moody on the call.
The Gamecocks went 1-2 in the SEC Tournament, defeating Georgia 9-0 behind 6.2 strong innings from James Hicks and three RBI from Will Tippett.
SCOUTING CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE
The Blue Devils won the Northeast Conference Tournament this past weekend, defeating Wagner 12-3 in the championship game. Michael Torniero was a perfect 4-for-4 with three runs scored in the win while Elliot Good drove in four runs. CCSU is led by Ramon Jiminez’s .347 batting average and 57 RBI. On the mound, Dominic Niman is 12-2 with a 2.76 ERA and 90 strikeouts in 97.2 innings pitched.
SERIES VS. CENTRAL CONNECTICUT STATE
This will be the first meeting between South Carolina and Central Connecticut State.
PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
South Carolina James Hicks (R-Jr. RHP) 7-1, 3.61 ERA, 57.1 IP, 14 BB, 48 K
CCSU Jake Neuman (Jr. LHP) 6-2, 4.65 ERA, 71.2 IP, 27 BB, 56 K
NCAA TOURNAMENT HISTORY
Carolina is 137-71 all-time in the NCAA Tournament. The Gamecocks won back-to-back College World Series titles in 2010 and 2011 and have made 11 trips to the College World Series. This will be the 33rd appearance in the NCAA Tournament and first since 2021. The Gamecocks defeated Virginia in the first game of the 2021 Columbia Regional but then fell to Old Dominion and Virginia. Carolina is 2-0 against Campbell in NCAA Tournament play, winning twice in the 2014 Columbia Regional. Carolina is 0-2 vs. N.C. State in the NCAA Tournament, falling twice in the 2008 Raleigh Regional.
HICKS SHUTS OUT GEORGIA IN SEC TOURNAMENT
James Hicks pitched 6.2 scoreless innings, striking out six and allowing just four hits and two walks in a 9-0 win over Georgia in the opening day of the SEC Tournament. Hicks improved to 7-1 on the year with a 3.61 ERA in the win. He combined with Cade Austin to throw Carolina’s fifth shutout of the season.
Sophomore Cole Messina and freshman Ethan Petry both were named to the All-SEC First Team while Petry was named to the Freshman All-SEC team, it was announced on Monday, May 22.
Messina is hitting .311 with 56 runs scored, 17 doubles, 17 home runs, 63 RBI, six stolen bases and 35 walks, staring in 57 of the 58 games for the Gamecocks in 2023. He is a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy and is on the Buster Posey Award Watch List. In conference play, Messina has nine doubles, seven home runs and 26 RBI.
Petry leads the Gamecocks and is sixth in the SEC with a .376 batting average. He has 50 runs scored, nine doubles, 22 home runs, 72 RBI, 28 walks and 14 hit by pitches. Petry is slugging at a .748 clip and has a .468 on-base percentage. He is a semifinalist for both the Golden Spikes Award and the Dick Howser Trophy and was a four-time SEC Freshman of the Week honoree. In conference play, Petry is hitting .359 with three doubles, 13 home runs and 42 RBI.