COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina baseball arrived at the ballpark Sunday with snow falling. Then the Gamecocks arrived Tuesday with biting cold weather.
So here the Gamecocks are on a Friday, finally back to having a game to play after almost a week without baseball because of a pair of weather-canceled games.
“We’re fired up,” outfielder Alex Destino said. “We’ve had a really good week so far. Kind of weird. It’s a weird feeling not having played a game yet this week and having this much time to kill. We’ve had really good practices.”
The Gamecocks (11-5) were scheduled to wrap up a weekend series with Michigan State on Sunday, chasing their first sweep of the season. But snow, rain and cold in Columbia forced others plans. They then wer scheduled to play Furman at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C., on Tuesday, but cold weather resulted in the game being called off a well.
Instead, South Carolina had a simulated scrimmage Tuesday with redshirt freshman pitcher Cody Morris impressing on the mound.
“It has been a long break that we have had,” pitcher Wil Crowe said. “I think the guys have been pushing themselves really hard in the weight room and training room and batting cage to be ready for this weekend. We are ready to get back on the field and play baseball.”
South Carolina heads into SEC play this weekend at Tennessee, opening the long, challenging conference season. Crowe said playing in-conference is the most fun part of the year and Destino lauded the atmosphere week in and week out.
“You live and die on each pitch,” he said. “It’s so anticipated. Every out, every inning. It’s very intense.”
Coach Chad Holbrook stressed the importance of the Gamecocks getting off to a good start, which they did last season with six consecutive wins on their way to winning the SEC East.
Getting ahead and not falling behind is crucial to finishing on top in May, Holbrook said, as it’s “a tough league to play uphill against.”
“You just try to keep your head above water as best you can,” Holbrook said. “Then, hopefully, you get on a little bit of a winning streak at some point during the year and get some separation from being in the .500 range.”
The Gamecocks get that first opportunity to get an early leg up this weekend and they are especially ready to be back on the field playing again.
“We had a pretty good week this last week,” first baseman Matt Williams said. “I’m excited. I know the team is excited. We are ready to get back out there.”