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  1. South Carolina baseball unveils its full 2019 schedule October 24, 2018 South Carolina baseball released its 2019 schedule on Wednesday, with the Gamecocks’ slate including nine opponents who advanced to last season’s NCAA tournament. Mark Kingston’s second season at USC will begin on Feb. 15 with an opening weekend matchup against Liberty. In 2018, the Flames advanced to the semifinals of the Big South tournament, falling to eventual champion Campbell. The Gamecocks’ other nonconference weekend series will come against Valparasio, Utah Valley and the program’s annual rivalry series with Clemson, which will feature one game in Columbia, one in Clemson and a neutral-site contest in Greenville. Valparaiso and Utah Valley finished a combined 34-71 in 2018. Clemson was a national seed in the NCAA tournament but was upset by Vanderbilt, missing out on the Super Regionals. USC is slated to play in minor league stadiums four times in 2019 — twice at BB&T Ballpark in Charlotte, N.C., once at SRP Park in North Augusta, S.C. and once at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C. Those two midweek contests in Charlotte will come against nationally prominent programs in North Carolina and North Carolina State. Other potentially challenging midweek contests include home games with North Carolina A&T, an NCAA tournament team in 2018, and Charlotte. Kingston’s conference slate features home series with Vanderbilt, Auburn and Texas A&M, all of whom earned berth’s in last year’s NCAA tourney, and two road trips to 2018 College World Series participants — Florida and Mississippi State. The Mississippi State series will be the last one of the regular season, with the SEC tournament in Hoover, Alabama, beginning just a few days later. SOUTH CAROLINA BASEBALL 2019 SCHEDULE Feb. 15-17 — Liberty Feb. 19 — Winthrop Feb. 20 — Presbyterian Feb. 22-24 — Utah Valley Feb. 26 — Appalachian State March 1 — Clemson March 2 — Clemson (Fluor Field, Greenville, S.C.) March 3 — at Clemson March 5 — The Citadel March 6 — Gardner-Webb March 8-10 — Valparasio March 12 — at The Citadel March 15-17 — Georgia March 19 — at Furman March 22-24 — at Tennessee March 26 — North Carolina A&T March 29-31 — Auburn April 2 — North Carolina State (BB&T Ballpark, Charlotte, N.C.) April 5-7 — at Alabama April 9 — Charlotte April 12-14 — at Florida April 16 — North Carolina (BB&T Ballpark, Charlotte, N.C.) April 19-21 — Texas A&M April 23 — Charleston Southern (SRP Park, North Augusta, S.C.) April 26-28 — at Missouri May 3-5 — Vanderbilt May 8 — Furman May 10-12 — Kentucky May 14 — USC Upstate May 16-18 — at Mississippi State May 21-26 — SEC tournament (Hoover, Ala.) *Home games are in bold, neutral-site games are in italics
  2. Gamecock Fall Baseball Wrap-Up: 5 takeaways from fall ball for South Carolina baseball November 01, 2018 South Carolina baseball coach Mark Kingston addressed the media on Wednesday at the end of the Gamecocks’ fall practices, touching on a broad range of topics including recruiting, injuries and alums of the program winning the World Series. But for many USC fans, it’s all about the 2019 version of the Gamecocks — after advancing to the NCAA Super Regionals in his first season thanks to a second-half surge, Kingston faces a tall order in replicating that feat for the upcoming season. He has to replace seven regular contributors to his lineup, all three of his weekend starters and some key spots in the bullpen too. A full half of his fall roster was composed of newcomers, either freshmen or junior college transfers. Fall practices didn’t answer all his questions about this team, Kingston said, but they did start to provide some clarity. Here are the main takeaways. Carmen Mlodzinski, and then who pitches? With sophomore Logan Chapman undergoing Tommy John surgery, South Carolina will have a complete turnover in its weekend rotation, and right now, just about the only sure thing to fill one of those spots is sophomore righty Carmen Mlodzinski. Mlodzinski put together a decent freshman campaign that didn’t always show up in the stats, starting seven midweek games and making 19 appearances en route to a 3-5 record and 5.52 ERA. His stuff, however, is such that he’s essentially a lock for the weekend, and almost certainly the Friday night guy. He’s added a cutter to his arsenal and hit the 91-94 mile per hour range in appearances this fall. “He’s done a really nice job. He’s gotten better. He’s bigger, he’s stronger, he’s more physical. Because of all that, I think all of his stuff has taken an uptick,” Kingston said. Beyond that, there’s probably 10 or so hurlers who could join Mlodzinski as starters. The problem is that none of them has distanced himself from the pack. Several candidates, such as junior Ridge Chapman and sophomore John Gilreath, also missed time this fall with injuries. “We don’t have any more clarity on how we will use our pitchers,” Kingston said. Until he does, Kingston won’t shut down the possibility of an unconventional approach, be it platooning starts or leaning heavily on his bullpen. The good news there is that Kingston feels more confident in the depth of his staff then he did last year. “It’s just a matter of picking guys out of those roles and deciding who has the best chance to give you a little bit of length as a starter, so we’ve got a lot of guys that are in that 89-93 range with good control and a good secondary pitch. It’s just a matter of figuring out who’s ready, who’s the most mature, who can handle going through the lineup multiple times. That is still to be determined,” Kingston said. Four freshman to watch When asked to name any freshmen who could come in and play right away, Kingston said four names immediately came to mind: outfielder Brady Allen, first baseman/outfielder Josiah Sightler and pitchers Wesley Sweatt and Dylan Harley. Allen certainly showcased pop throughout the fall, and Kingston said the coaching staff felt he performed the best of the rookie hitters. Sightler, meanwhile, remains an intriguing talent who needs to develop more. He was recruited as a pitcher, but an injury his senior year of high school forced him to play the field, and he displayed raw power at the plate and was still taken in the 12th round of the MLB draft. All that potential, however, still needs to be polished, Kingston said. On the mound, Sweatt was high school teammates with Gilreath in Rock Hill, and Harley is a former Winthrop commit who led the state in strikeouts as a senior. “Pitching wise, I’d say Sweatt and Harley were the two guys that got the most people’s attention, especially their teammates. Those guys are going to have the chance to pitch a lot for us this year. Great stuff, mature kids and know how to win,” Kingston said. Positional battles On the field, five or so positions remain up for grabs, and the winner of one spot could cause a chain reaction at another. The key unknowns at this point appear to be at catcher and the left side of the infield. Behind the plate, senior Chris Cullen was limited hitting this fall as coaches sought to preserve his health, and after being out for the starting job last year by Hunter Taylor, he’ll now have to hold off a strong challenge from JUCO transfer Luke Berryhill, who led the team in home runs and runners caught stealing this fall. He’s got speed to boot, and the way Kingston talked about him Wednesday strongly suggested that he’ll be involved in 2019 in one form or another. “Chris obviously has the most experience at this level, so he’ll be given every opportunity to try to win that job come the spring, but Berryhill had a very strong fall, especially offensively,” Kingston said. Should Berryhill win the catching job, Cullen spent some time at first in 2018 and could potentially slide into that slot, where there is also some uncertainty. At shortstop and third base, junior college transfers Nick Neville and George Callil are strong candidates to mix and match there, but senior Jacob Olson spent lots of time at third after playing right field through most of his USC career, and sophomore Mason Streater also put together a strong fall. “Gun to my head,” Kingston said, “I’d say it’s 50-50 at this point” whether Olson plays right field or third base in the spring. That decision would likely be the first domino in setting numerous spots. Lineup locks Despite all the uncertainty mentioned above, there are some names that South Carolina fans can count on seeing once opening day rolls around, provided they stay healthy. Neville and Callil are both “players who could help us” and it seems unlikely neither of them will get starting time. Olson, no matter where he ends up, will almost certainly play. Andrew Eyster, a hard-hitting outfielder and transfer, also is in position to start. And if he can stay healthy, senior outfielder TJ Hopkins will likely be a star and leader on and off the field. “He’s got elite speed, he’s got elite power, we just need to keep him on the field,” Kingston said. “And what we did this fall is got him just enough work to stay sharp and continue his progress, but not so much that you had to worry about him tweaking something or having a setback. He had a very strong fall on the field, but he also got rave reviews from his teammates, both returning players and the new guys, with how he is in the locker room and how he’s trying to be a leader.” A potential All-American? Kingston’s most effusive praise Wednesday went to sophomore second baseman Noah Campbell, who started 42 games last season and put together an outstanding summer in the Cape Cod League, so much so that Kingston said he could have been named MVP of the best summer collegiate league in the nation. Kingston also said his staff thinks Campbell could hit around .350 while playing regularly in 2019, a mark only two South Carolina players have accomplished in the past five years. “I expect him to be borderline All-American this year, I really do. His defense has come a long way, and I think he’s one of the better hitters in America,” Kingston said.
  3. VIDEOS: Wednesday Gamecock Baseball Media Availability Coach Mark Kingston and Players Noah Campbell, TJ Hopkins, Carmen Mlodzinski and Jacob Olson Address the Media Mark Kingston News Conference — 10/31/18 Noah Campbell Media Availability — 10/31/18 Jacob Olson Media Availability — 10/31/18 Carmen Mlodzinski Media Availability — 10/31/18 TJ Hopkins Media Availability — 10/31/18
  4. Mark Kingston’s early observations from USC baseball’s first fall scrimmages Sept. 26, 2018 THE STATE South Carolina baseball finished off its fourth fall scrimmage on Tuesday, playing eight innings at Founders Park for the Gamecocks’ longest intrasquad game since practice began this September. Afterward, coach Mark Kingston cautioned that it is too early to definitively say what sort of strengths or weaknesses he thinks USC might have for the 2019 season, but he did note that the balance between pitching and hitting is far more even than it was last fall, when Carolina’s offense was ahead of its defense. “Nobody dominated. I think the pitchers did a good job of throwing strikes — we had a three-to-one strikeout to walk ratio today, which is pretty good in my time here for our pitchers in an intrasquad game,” Kingston said. “We also had 13, 14 hits today, so I thought it was a pretty even match from that standpoint. I think that’s good. You want your hitters to have good performances, but you also want your pitchers to have good performances.” From an offensive standpoint, two South Carolina hitters have launched home runs so far at Founders Park — senior outfielder/infielder Jacob Olson and junior Nick Neville. Both, however, are currently sidelined by strained obliques they sustained this fall, injuries that are not major, Kingston said. Joining them on the list of players who have been hurt in the past week is freshman Wes Clarke, who is day-to-day with a knee injury. “In the fall, you’re not going to push guys to do things and make things worse in the fall. They’ll be fine,” Kingston said. Kingston, however, was not as optimistic when addressing the status of sophomore pitcher Logan Chapman, who reportedly tore his UCL last week after laboring through two innings in a scrimmage. “He’ll continue to be evaluated, but it’s looking like it won’t go our way this season,” Kingston said. Chapman will almost certainly miss the 2019 season, alongside fellow hurler Graham Lawson. Senior pitcher Ridge Chapman has also been shut down for the fall but is expected to return in the spring. In their place, Kingston said he actually feels better about the team’s pitching depth than he did last season — eight different freshmen or transfers have gotten innings in scrimmages so far. “We got a lot of guys to look at, there’s no doubt. I think the depth of this staff is a little bigger than last year at this point, so we’ll have a lot of guys fighting to pick (Chapman’s spot) up,” Kingston said. “I don’t think anybody has been dominant yet, but also nobody has looked overwhelmed. It’s right in that middle ground.” The Gamecocks will have one more scrimmage this week, on Friday, before facing North Carolina State on Saturday under new NCAA rules allowing baseball programs to play two games against other teams in the fall. Kingston said Tuesday that he hopes to play all of his players in that game to give them a taste of real competition, but added that he’s already starting to get a sense of what parts of the 2019 Gamecocks might look like. ”It’s too early to say what kind of team, or what our identity is yet, but we’re seeing enough quality things happen that we should be able to piece some things together,” Kingston said. TOP OFFENSIVE PERFORMERS IN FALL SCRIMMAGES Noah Campbell, junior second baseman — 4-12 with a double and walk Jacob Olson, senior utility player — 4-8 with two doubles and a home run Andrew Eyster, junior outfielder — 3-12 with a double and walk Jonah Beamon, freshman second baseman — 3-8 with one walk Quinntin Perez, junior infielder — 1-6 with a triple, two walks and a HBP George Callil, junior shortstop — 3-8 with a double, an RBI sacrifice fly and one HBP
  5. Gamecocks' Scrimmage vs. N.C. State Highlights This Week's Fall Schedule Sept. 24, 2018 COLUMBIA – The University of South Carolina baseball team will continue its fall scrimmage schedule this week as the Gamecocks will play twice during the midweek and host North Carolina State on Saturday, Sept. 28. Carolina will scrimmage this Tuesday (Sept. 25) and Thursday (Sept. 27) at 4 p.m. The Gamecocks then host the Wolfpack on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Founders Park. All scrimmages are free and open to the public. The University of South Carolina baseball team will continue its fall scrimmage schedule this week as the Gamecocks will play twice during the midweek and host North Carolina State on Saturday, Sept. 28. Carolina will scrimmage this Tuesday (Sept. 25) and Friday (Sept. 28) at 4 p.m. The Gamecocks then host the Wolfpack on Saturday at 2 p.m. at Founders Park. All scrimmages are free and open to the public.
  6. After Super Regional run, USC starts this fall back at ‘square one’ Sept. 19, 2018 South Carolina baseball lost a large chunk of the core of the 2018 team that advanced to within one win of the College World Series, and fans are just starting to get a look at what the Gamecocks might look like in Year 2 under coach Mark Kingston with fall scrimmages under way. But as Kingston told media on Wednesday, with as much turnover as USC had over the summer, Year 2 under his regime has started, at least somewhat, like Year 1 did — with lots of work to do. “We lost a lot,” Kingston said. “I wouldn’t say we’re where we want to be yet, where we can say we are legitimate national championship contenders from day one of fall ball. We’re not to that point yet. But does that mean we can’t have a really good season? We can have a really good season. I see a lot of talent out on the field, but I don’t think as a coach here I’ll ever be satisfied and say we have it exactly how we want it.” Across the field and on the mound, Kingston said, there are very few positions where the Opening Day starter is clear to the coaching staff. And with only a few full team practices under their belt so far, he’s unwilling to make any sweeping observations about the state of the 2019 team, besides the fact that it will obviously look a lot different. “The tough thing is, we got it to where we wanted it last year, and now so many of those players are gone, so it’s almost like we’re starting over from square one and now we have to re-institute, we have to re-teach and get everyone back up to speed so we can get back to that point,” Kingston explained. “I can assure you how we felt about how everyone was going about their business at Arkansas last year as we finished the year is a lot different than how we feel about the team right now. “It’s a process. Coaches say it all the time. If that was chapter 25, we’re back in chapter 1 right now, where we’re trying to re-institute everything and teach these new guys how it should be done. There’s a long way to go.” Elite core That being said, there are a number of players Kingston said will central to his plans for the season — sophomore second baseman Noah Campbell, senior outfielder T.J. Hopkins, senior utility player Jacob Olson, who can play both the infield and outfield, and junior college transfer Andrew Eyster. “(Hopkins is) an elite player. Olson’s an elite player, Campbell’s an elite player, so that’s a good starting point for our offense and now it’s a matter of getting everyone else where we want them,” Kingston said. “(Eyster is) a big strong guy and appears to be a very natural hitter. Has big-time pop, his numbers on our HitTrax system have been extremely impressive already. His first scrimmage [Tuesday] in our uniform, he was 2-for-2. So he’s a guy that will definitely have a major impact for us this year. Where he plays is still to be determined. He needs to make improvements defensively, but he’s a guy our fans should be very excited about.” Injury report The concern with Hopkins, however, is his extensive injury history — he reportedly played through a broken back this past season. As a result, Kingston said his at-bats and reps in the field will be limited throughout the fall as a precaution. Hopkins isn’t the only Gamecock battling injuries through the start of practice. Kingston announced Wednesday that senior reliever Graham Lawson underwent Tommy John surgery during the offseason and will redshirt. Fellow senior pitcher Ridge Chapman also had a procedure during the offseason and will be sidelined throughout the fall. Sophomore outfielder Ian Jenkins and senior catcher Chris Cullen are also nursing back injuries, Kingston said, though Cullen was able to scrimmage Tuesday and Wednesday. Pitching concerns On the mound, South Carolina lacked depth throughout last season, Kingston said, even as the team advanced deep into the NCAA tournament and started firing on all cylinders in other aspects of the game. With that in mind, he said he wants to see the team’s trio of rising sophomores who saw extensive action last year — Carmen Mlodzinski, Logan Chapman and John Gilreath — to show substantial growth. Helping that process along will be pitching coach Skylar Meade, who is going through his first fall in Columbia after being hired by USC last November in the wake of longtime coach Jerry Meyers retiring. Meade’s presence this fall will be a “big deal,” Kingston said. “Him coming with us half-stream last year was a challenge, trying to figure out what he had, how he was gonna use guys, what they needed to do, what pitches they threw in spots, he just had to try to figure that out as we went,” Kingston said. “This year he’s with us from day one, and I think in terms of how he wants to train them, learning their personalities, learning what they have, what’s their ups, what’s their downs, what makes them tick, how to coach them. ... He’ll be so much more ahead of the game this year going into Opening Day.”
  7. Gamecock Baseball to Scrimmage Three Times This Week The Gamecocks will play on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday at 4 p.m. Sept. 17, 2018 COLUMBIA – The University of South Carolina baseball team will open its fall scrimmage schedule this week with a trio of games at Founders Park. The Gamecocks will scrimmage on Tuesday (Sept. 18), Wednesday (Sept. 19) and Friday (Sept. 21) with each game beginning at 4 p.m. All scrimmages are free and open to the public.
  8. 9/10/2018 Gamecock Baseball Starts Fall Scrimmages This Week The Gamecocks will play, weather permitting, on Thursday and Friday. Story Links COLUMBIA — The South Carolina baseball team begins fall scrimmages this weekend at Founders Park. The Gamecocks will play on Thursday (Sept. 13) and Friday (Sept. 14) with 4 p.m. starts on both days. Both scrimmages are free and open to the public. With the potential for Hurricane Florence to impact Columbia, follow Gamecock Baseball on Twitter (@GamecockBasebll) for updates on scrimmage times and dates.
  9. Dates, opponents set for South Carolina baseball’s fall scrimmages August 29, 2019 South Carolina baseball will host North Carolina State on Sept. 29 and travel to Georgia Tech on Oct. 6 for two scrimmages, under new NCAA rules allowing programs to face off in the fall, the Gamecocks announced Wednesday. D1Baseball and The Big Spur had both previously reported the NC State game. The team also announced Wednesday that it will begin at 2 p.m. at Founders Park and will be free to attend. The Georgia Tech contest will take place at 1 p.m. on a Saturday at Russ Chandler Stadium in Atlanta — there had previously been reports the two teams might play in SunTrust Park, home of the MLB’s Atlanta Braves. Neither contest will count towards the Gamecocks’ final 2019 record. NC State is coached by Elliott Avent, who briefly served as an assistant to former USC coach and current athletics director Ray Tanner. The Wolfpack have advanced to the NCAA tournament in four consecutive seasons and were the national No. 16 seed last season. Georgia Tech is led by Danny Hall, who has been with the Yellow Jackets since 1994. In that time, the program has made 20 NCAA tournaments and three College World Series. Hall’s squad went 27-28 in 2018. USC coach Mark Kingston will enter the fall of 2018 off a Super Regional berth in his first season in Columbia, but faces a daunting task in replacing two-thirds of his weekend rotation and eight of the nine players who started for most of the NCAA tournament this spring. The Gamecocks bring in another heralded recruiting class and plenty of junior college transfers and will have battles at almost every position.
  10. Gamecocks adding new trainer to baseball staff August 24, 2018 One of the longest tenured members of the Gamecocks' training staff is moving into a different role soon. After 35 years, Brainard Cooper will move into a new role with the athletic department in the training room and the Gamecocks already have his replacement lined up. "Brainard Cooper is an icon in the world of sports medicine," athletic director Ray Tanner said in a statement. "He treated our student-athletes, he rehabbed them and cared about them, not just as an athlete, but as a person. I am grateful for the positive impact that he has had on all of our student-athletes." His replacement is Bryan Wells, who will work with the men's soccer and baseball programs with the men's soccer season underway and baseball's fall scrimmages starting soon. Wells spent the last four seasons serving as the head athletic trainer for the Kentucky baseball program. He does have some Palmetto State roots, working for six years at Lander University as the head athletic trainer and insurance coordinator and was a clinical instructor and lecturer. According to his Kentucky bio, he graduated from South Florida before getting a master's degree from Columbus State University. He'll replace Cooper, who served as associate athletic trainer in 2000 working with both baseball and men's soccer. Cooper will still remain with the athletic department, serving in a different role after starting as an assistant in the early 1980s. "Brainard has been an important part of this program for over 30 years and he will surely be missed," head coach Mark Kingston said in a statement. "His passion and unwavering concern for the best interests of our baseball players will never be forgotten. Brainard has been a great example of professionalism for our players and student athletic trainers. He helped make so many great moments happen in our history and he will always be appreciated."
  11. Gamecock Summer Baseball Wrap-Up Noah Campbell and Andrew Eyster's All-Star Game selections highlight the Gamecocks in the summer leagues. 8/10/2018 Story Links COLUMBIA, S.C. -- The collegiate summer leagues across the country are wrapping up their playoff runs as baseball moves towards the beginning of classes and fall practice. Here's an overview of how the Gamecocks (redshirt freshman and above) did in their summer league seasons. • Noah Campbell was second in the Cape Cod League with a .364 batting average for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox. Campbell, who was named to the Cape Cod All-Star Game, flirted with .400 for most of the season while recording seven doubles, two triples, six home runs and 26 RBI. Campbell had a 1.092 OPS with the Red Sox and helped them reach the Cape Cod League playoffs. • Incoming Gamecock Andrew Eyster helped New Market win the Valley League championship while being named the league's Most Valuable Player. Eyster hit .421 with 14 doubles, nine home runs and 35 RBI for the Rebels. The sophomore stole six bases and had a 1.292 OPS in 32 games. • Incoming Gamecock Luke Berryhill played in 10 games for the Purceville Cannons in the Valley League and made the most of his brief appearance. The catcher belted four home runs and drove in 18 while hitting .275 with seven runs scored. • The Gamecocks had three players – TJ Shook, Parker Coyne and Cam Tringali – play for the Lexington County Blowfish in the Coastal Plain League. Shook pitched 15 innings for the Blowfish and had three starts, striking out seven batters. Coyne made three appearances and pitched 12.2 innings, also striking out seven. Tringali made 17 appearances and five starts, going 1-2 with a save and striking out 39 batters in 41.2 innings pitched. • Mason Streater played in 34 games for the Wilmington Sharks of the Coastal Plain League and had four doubles, two home runs and eight RBI in 121 at-bats. Streater scored seven runs and walked six times for the Sharks. • Jordan Holladay played in 21 games for the La Crosse Loggers of the Northwoods League and had five doubles, two home runs and nine RBI in 71 at-bats. Holladay scored nine runs and walked 10 times for a .365 on-base percentage. • Ian Jenkins played in the Carolina Shores Collegiate Summer Baseball League and was named to the All-Star Game for the Hammerheads.
  12. National outlet rates Mark Kingston’s 2018 among best coaching jobs in the country July 12, 2018 South Carolina baseball didn’t make it to Omaha in 2018, but after falling just one win short, plenty of people took notice of the job first-year coach Mark Kingston did with the Gamecocks. After missing the NCAA tournament in 2017 and stumbling to a 20-17 record to start this year, USC exploded down the stretch, reeling off five consecutive SEC series wins, claiming an NCAA regional crown and taking eventual national runner-up Arkansas to three games on the road in a Super Regional. Carolina finished the season on a 17-9 run and was ranked No. 14 in the season’s final poll by D1Baseball.com and No. 16 by Baseball America, despite having no players named to the All-SEC first, second, all-freshman or all-defensive teams. On Thursday, D1Baseball.com recognized Kingston’s work by including him on its list of “Best Coaching Jobs” in the country. While Texas Tech’s Tim Tadlock took home national Coach of the Year honors, Kendall Rogers wrote of USC that “the future is once again bright in Columbia, thanks to Kingston and his staff.” Kingston has also garnered praise from players and opposing coaches, with Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn, who also made D1Baseball’s list, predicting the Gamecocks will make it to the College World Series in the future, minor league pitcher Wil Crowe saying he “loved” watching the team’s performance this year and MLB draftee LT Tolbert saying he thinks Kingston will win multiple national titles. Looking ahead to 2019, Kingston will have another difficult coaching job on his hands, as two-thirds of USC’s weekend rotation will be gone, along with eight of the nine starters from the final lineup of the season. In their place, Kingston will likely trot out several junior college transfers and add three high school MLB draftees who chose to come to college. THE STATE
  13. He turned down the professional baseball money, and now he'll be a Gamecock July 04, 2018 Josiah Sightler will wait to begin his professional career. Sightler announced Wednesday he play college baseball at South Carolina instead of beginning a career in professional baseball. The Cincinnati Reds drafted Sightler in the 12th round. Sightler and other unsigned draftees had until 5 p.m. Friday to make their decisions. "The main reason I picked USC was the education, I know the education is a must have now a days. I’m ready to play for Coach Kingston, so I’m really looking forward to it," Sightler said. So, the Reds’ loss will be the Gamecocks’ gain. Sightler was recruited as a pitcher by former coach Chad Holbrook but will likely play first base or outfield at USC. Sightler hit .422 with seven homers and 26 RBIs despite being pitched around a lot. He was walked 28 times in 94 plate appearances. The 6-foot-4, 205-pounder played first this season and also has played outfield. Sightler was an all-state selection and played in the South Carolina Select All-Star game. Sightler didn’t pitch this year as he recovered from a torn labrum suffered in an East Coast Pro Showcase. But he began throwing earlier in the spring and will be fine in the fall. Sightler should make an immediate impact and could play right away for the Gamecocks, who had 10 players on their roster get drafted.
  14. With Fields in the fold; Gamecocks earn two-sport threat JULY 3, 2018 BY WILL PALASZCZUK LINK: SPORTSTALK Brandon Fields Both South Carolina’s baseball and football programs have extra reason to celebrate this July 4th. The Gamecocks earned a 2020 baseball commitment from two-sport athlete Brandon Fields of Orlando on Tuesday night. Fields stars at Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando as an outfielder as well as a running back. He plans to play both sports at USC. Twitter Ads info and privacy Fields visited USC during a baseball home weekend in March, where he met with both Will Muschamp and Mark Kingston to discuss both programs. If Fields does decide to go through playing both sports, he would be on a football scholarship and play baseball as a walk-on. But at this point, he counts as a baseball scholarship for the ’20 class. Of course, he may never show up at USC because he should command a high-level draft selection in the 2020 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Here’s a scouting report on Fields the outfielder by PerfectGame which scouted him Tuesday at the 17u WWBA National Championship. “Looks every bit the part of the two-way player that he is. However, Fields is not just a raw athlete that fills out a uniform, he really knows how to play the game. Fields does everything well, as he is an average runner and looks good in center field where he projects to stay for the long haul. His arm is a weapon, and when he fully gets behind his throws it grades out as plus and is accurate. Fields also has plus raw strength in his swing, hitting a huge double to the center field wall as well as a pop fly that had a hang time of 5.96-seconds. The sky is the limit for this young man, and when it is time for him to concentrate on baseball full-time, his skills and acumen should grow quickly.” According to state compiled by MaxPreps, last season for Dr. Phillips Fields batted .359 with 3 homers and 23 RBIs. He also had 27 stolen bases and committed just 1 error. In football, he only had 58 carries for 290 yards and 3 touchdowns. USC leveraged a connection with the father of recently-drafted Gamecocks outfielder Carlos Cortes, as Cortes’ father serves as Fields’ hitting instructor. For football, Fields would give the Gamecocks their fourth commitment in the 2020 football class, and their second running back joining Mecose Todd of Georgia.
  15. South Carolina, Clemson ranked in top 20 of final Baseball America poll June 29, 2018 The final Baseball America poll of the season was released Friday morning, and South Carolina and Clemson are ranked in the top 20. The Gamecocks are ranked No. 16 after finishing the season with a 37-26 record, while Clemson is ranked No. 19 after going 47-16. USC finished the season strong, winning its final five SEC series. The Gamecocks then swept their way through the NCAA regional at East Carolina before losing Game 3 against Arkansas in a best-of-three super regional series. The Razorbacks went on to finish as runners-up at the College World Series. Arkansas, the No. 2 ranked team in Baseball America's final poll, lost to the No. 1 team and national champion Oregon State. Clemson had an exceptional regular season, going 22-8 and tying for the ACC regular-season title, but the Tigers lost a home regional for the third consecutive year as Vanderbilt won the Clemson Regional to advance to a super regional. Baseball America RANK. RECORD 1. Oregon State 55-12-1 2. Arkansas 48-21 3. Florida 49-21 4. North Carolina 44-20 5. Texas Tech 45-20 6. Mississippi State 39-29 7. Texas 42-23 8. Minnesota 44-15 9. Washington 35-26 10. Duke 45-18 11. Tennessee Tech 53-12 12. Stetson 48-13 13. Auburn 43-23 14. Stanford 45-12 15. Mississippi 48-17 16. South Carolina 37-26 17. Vanderbilt 35-27 18. Cal State Fullerton 36-25 19. Clemson 47-16 20. Florida State 43-19 21. Georgia 39-21 22. N.C. State 42-18 23. East Carolina 44-18 24. Coastal Carolina 43-19 25. Houston 38-25
  16. How Mark Kingston is preparing for a 'significantly different' USC roster in 2019 June 27, 2018 Mark Kingston News Conference — 6/27/18 On June 11, the day South Carolina’s season ended a game short of the College World Series, Mark Kingston rolled out a lineup that featured Danny Blair, Carlos Cortes, Madison Stokes, Jonah Bride, Justin Row, LT Tolbert, Hunter Taylor and Matt Williams. This upcoming fall, when Kingston begins his second season as USC’s coach, the above players — all eight of them — will no longer be at his disposal. (Kingston confirmed on Wednesday that Tolbert, a 13th-round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks, will sign before the July 6 deadline.) Welcome back, Coach. "Next year's roster will be significantly different than this last year," Kingston said during a news conference at Founders Park. "When you take over a program, you always have short-term and long-term vision. The short-term vision for this year was to maximize the club that we had, but at the same time, we also tried to take a longer-term (view) of what 2019 will look like, what 2020 will look like, what 2021 will be as we get there. On June 11, the day South Carolina’s season ended a game short of the College World Series, Mark Kingston rolled out a lineup that featured Danny Blair, Carlos Cortes, Madison Stokes, Jonah Bride, Justin Row, LT Tolbert, Hunter Taylor and Matt Williams. This upcoming fall, when Kingston begins his second season as USC’s coach, the above players — all eight of them — will no longer be at his disposal. (Kingston confirmed on Wednesday that Tolbert, a 13th-round pick of the Arizona Diamondbacks, will sign before the July 6 deadline.) Welcome back, Coach. "Next year's roster will be significantly different than this last year," Kingston said during a news conference at Founders Park. "When you take over a program, you always have short-term and long-term vision. The short-term vision for this year was to maximize the club that we had, but at the same time, we also tried to take a longer-term (view) of what 2019 will look like, what 2020 will look like, what 2021 will be as we get there. "It'll be an open competition," Kingston said. "I think both of them have the ability to play in the infield and be very good outfielders as well. That gives us some flexibility. Now it's just a matter of how those pieces best fit together." Hopkins hit .345 last season, but was missed down the stretch with a reported broken back. "I think his game had evolved to the point where he was becoming a good baseball player," Kingston said. "Now we just need to make sure that he's spending a ton of time with the athletic trainers and with the strength trainers to give him the best chance for health moving forward." Cullen, a corner infielder and catcher, made 32 starts last season. He hit .190 with three home runs. "A lot of where Chris will play — because he is flexible position-wise — will have a lot to do with the pieces around him," Kingston said. "Who's playing first? Who's playing third? How are the catchers that we brought in? "The great thing about (Cullen) is he's able and he's willing to play any of those three spots. So you could see him at third, first or behind the plate. "Chris didn't have the (junior) year that he wanted, but our message to him is that he can still have a great senior year."
  17. Carlos Cortes turning pro, gets big signing bonus with New York Mets June 26, 2018 Carlos Cortes is ready to begin his professional baseball career, and he got a big bonus to do it. Cortes has agreed to terms with the New York Mets, who selected him in the third round of the Major League Baseball draft. According to Baseball America’s Jim Callis, Cortes’ signing bonus is $1,038,000, more than $300,000 over the slot value. Cortes is just a sophomore, but was draft-eligible because of his age. He joins teammate Adam Hill, who signed with the Mets last week. Cortes will begin with either the Brooklyn Cyclones or Kingsport Mets, but could land back in Columbia with the Single-A Fireflies next year if things go well. A record 10 South Carolina players were drafted this year. LT Tolbert is the only underclassman drafted who has yet to sign a professional contract. The deadline to sign is July 6. List of South Carolina's MLB draftees Second round 55. Texas Rangers, Owen White, P, (USC Signee) – Signed for $1.5 million Third Round 83. New York Mets, Carlos Cortes, INF - Signed for $1,038,000 Fourth round 110. New York Mets, Adam Hill, P – Signed for $507,800 Fifth round 150. Tampa Bay Rays, Taj Bradley, P, (USC Signee) – Signed $747,500 Seventh round 223. Cleveland Indians, Cody Morris, P – Signed $185,600 10th round 287. Philadelphia Phillies, Madison Stokes, SS - Signed for $10,000 11th round 339. Arizona Diamondbacks, Blaze Alexander, SS (USC Signee) – Signed $500,000 12th round 349. Cincinnati Reds, Josiah Sightler, LHP (USC Signee) 13th round 371. Washington Nationals, Graham Lawson, RHP – Returning to school 399. Arizona Diamondbacks, LT Tolbert, SS 17th round 521. Washington Nationals, Ridge Chapman, P – Returning to school 23rd round 683. Oakland A's, Jonah Bride, 3B – Signed 698. Chicago Cubs, Hunter Taylor, C 27th round 799. Cincinnati Reds, Eddy Demurias, P - Signed 39th round 1177. New York Yankees, Brady Allen, P, (USC Signee) 40th round 1205. Milwaukee Brewers, Wes Clarke, C (USC Signee)
  18. A way-too-early projection for South Carolina baseball's 2019 lineup June 21, 2018 As the July 6 deadline approaches for MLB draftees to sign with their pro teams, South Carolina baseball's roster for 2019 is starting to become clear. And with five seniors and 10 draftees playing key roles on 2018's NCAA Super Regional squad, it's clear that coach Mark Kingston will have a vastly different lineup going into next season. On top of that, the transfers of players like Danny Blair and Kyle Jacobsen, who were expected to at least contend for a larger role, mean that the 2019 group of Gamecocks will feature a lot of new faces. Here's an early guess as to who might play where. This lineup is based on the assumption that the five remaining unsigned undergraduate draftees — pitcher Ridge Chapman, pitcher Adam Hill, outfielder Carlos Cortes and infielder LT Tolbert — will all not be returning to Carolina. The deadline for them to sign a deal is July 6. Catcher As the July 6 deadline approaches for MLB draftees to sign with their pro teams, South Carolina baseball's roster for 2019 is starting to become clear. And with five seniors and 10 draftees playing key roles on 2018's NCAA Super Regional squad, it's clear that coach Mark Kingston will have a vastly different lineup going into next season. On top of that, the transfers of players like Danny Blair and Kyle Jacobsen, who were expected to at least contend for a larger role, mean that the 2019 group of Gamecocks will feature a lot of new faces. Here's an early guess as to who might play where. This lineup is based on the assumption that the five remaining unsigned undergraduate draftees — pitcher Ridge Chapman, pitcher Adam Hill, outfielder Carlos Cortes and infielder LT Tolbert — will all not be returning to Carolina. The deadline for them to sign a deal is July 6. Starter: Luke Berryhill — A junior college transfer who started his career at Georgia Southern, Berryhill was a Louisville Slugger and Perfect Game All-American in high school and is considered a strong defensive catcher. Backup: Wes Clarke — An incoming freshman picked in the 40th round of the MLB draft. First base Starter: Chris Cullen — The junior catcher went undrafted despite high prospect ratings from some analysts, so he'll be back for another year. He played both corner infield spots in 2018 and was solid at both, and given his size, first base makes more sense than catcher. Backup: Riley Hogan — Entering his junior season, Hogan has struggled to get consistent at-bats but could work his way into backup roles for several positions. Second base Starter: Noah Campbell — The top freshman of this past season's squad, Campbell was displaced at second by senior Justin Row but still got steady at-bats in the outfield and at DH. He should move back to his natural position next year. Backup: Jacob Olson — Olson is also primarily an infielder but spent most of 2018 in the outfield, and his solid defense might keep him there in light of Jacobsen's and Blair's departures. Shortstop Starter: George Callil — An Australian junior college transfer, Callil is mostly known for his defense but still hit a solid. 304 last year with an on-base percentage of .435. Backup: Nick Neville — Another JUCO transfer who spent a year at the Division I level, specifically at Notre Dame. Third base Starter: Nick Neville — Like Callil, Neville is a solid defender whose offense is slightly behind. The two could end up switching back and forth at short and third. Backup: Mason Streater — The rising sophomore didn't get many at-bats in his first season, but he was highly rated coming out of high school and is a talented athlete. Left field Starter: Ian Jenkins — A redshirt freshman, Jenkins was an MLB draftee and All-American honorable mention coming out of high school. Backup: Jordan Holladay — Holladay got a few starts at the beginning of 2018 as a first baseman, but the power hitter has experience playing plenty of positions and could move to left to get his bat in the lineup. Center field Starter: TJ Hopkins — If he can stay healthy, the rising senior could be the star of South Carolina's offense in 2019. There's no doubt the potential is there — he hit .345 with an OPS of .944 last year — but a reported broken back and other injury woes are troubling. Backup: Joel Brewer — One of several freshman outfielders who will get plenty of opportunities with the departures of Blair and Jacobsen. Right field Starter: Jacob Olson — A savvy veteran who can play almost anywhere, Olson had an extremely odd offensive 2018 — lots of extra base hits but just a .234 batting average. Still, his consistent play will always keep him in the lineup. Backup: Brady Allen — An incoming freshman taken in the 39th round of the MLB draft, Allen has all sorts of physical potential at 6-foot-1, 210 pounds. He can also pitch well, hitting 89 mph. Designated hitter Josiah Sightler — A 12th round MLB pick, Sightler was a standout pitcher until an injury forced him off the mound for his senior season, and he promptly became a standout hitter. If he does not sign a pro contract, he seems too good not to play in some capacity. Starting rotation Cole Ganopulos — The lefty starter Kingston certainly could have used this past year, Ganopulos comes to USC via a season at Auburn and a year in the JUCO ranks, where he went 10-0 with a 1.62 ERA for a team that went to the Junior College World Series. Carmen Mlodzinski — After spending most of the 2018 season as a midweek starter, the rising sophomore is ready to make the jump to the weekend and has the stuff to be a solid Saturday or Sunday pitcher. Logan Chapman — Chapman's role as third weekend starter as a freshman likely prepared him well to take on more of a starring role next season, even if 2018 did come with some rough results (5.85 ERA, 1.57 WHIP). THE STATE
  19. South Carolina freshman pitcher, a local talent, to transfer June 21, 2018 South Carolina pitcher Corey Stone announced Thursday that he is transferring from the Gamecocks after one season with the program. Stone, a Mid-Carolina standout, made three appearances for USC this year, pitching two innings and giving up three hits and two walks but no runs. As a senior in high school, the left-hander went 8-0 with a 1.02 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 61 2/3 innings pitched. At the plate, he hit .396 with three homers and 23 RBI, helping the Rebels to the Class 3A Upper State championship game. After high school, he was picked in the 27th round of the MLB draft by the Texas Rangers but never considered an offer from the pro club before deciding to come to college. That decision happened before Carolina hired head coach Mark Kingston. Stone plans to attend a junior college for one season, he told The State.
  20. Hero of South Carolina baseball's NCAA tournament regional to transfer June 20, 2018 South Carolina baseball junior outfielder Danny Blair will transfer from the program to the University of Tampa, a Division II program, he announced Wednesday. "The (past) three years have been the best years of my life," Blair wrote in a tweet explaining his decision. "I've met people at USC that I will be friends with for the rest of my life. The opportunity I was given to play baseball at a school like South Carolina was a dream come true and I truly cherish that. ... "With that said, I have decided to transfer schools to continue to pursue my dream of playing baseball at the next level. Leaving is not and will not be easy, although it is what's best for me to reach my goal." After spending most of 2018 on the bench, Blair was named Most Outstanding Player in the Gamecocks' NCAA tournament regional in Greenville, N.C., after hitting a go-ahead three-run home run for USC in its tourney opener against Ohio State. He finished the regional going 5-10 from the plate, with four runs and four RBIs. He then started twice in Carolina's Super Regional against Arkansas, going 1-6 with one walk. On the year, he finished with a .230 batting average with two home runs and seven RBIs in 41 games and 12 starts. Blair's playing time peaked in 2017, as he started 25 games and hit .258. He ends his South Carolina career with a batting average of .247, three home runs and 20 RBIs. Former teammate LT Tolbert chimed in on Blair's decision on social media, writing on Twitter that Tampa "is getting the best CF in the country! I've seen what this dude can do with confidence on a daily basis and there's nobody better." Blair is the third reported transfer from USC this offseason, joining freshmen Kyle Jacobsen and Elijah Bowers in leaving coach Mark Kingston's program.
  21. Report: Two freshmen, including former top prospect, leaving South Carolina baseball June 15, 2018 A year after spurning the MLB draft to attend South Carolina, freshman outfielder Kyle Jacobsen's time with the Gamecocks is over. Jacobsen and fellow freshman Elijah Bowers will transfer from USC, John Whittle of The Big Spur reported Friday. Neither has said where they will go. Jacobsen entered the 2018 season as the jewel of coach Mark Kingston's first recruiting class in Columbia — the Acworth, Georgia, native was ranked as Carolina's top signee and considered a top-150 prospect in the MLB draft, but he turned down the opportunity to play pro ball to join the Gamecocks. In his freshman campaign, however, he rarely saw the field, making 27 appearances and seven starts, hitting .158 in 38 at-bats. Bowers, a catcher out of Charlotte, South Carolina, never made an appearance this season as senior Hunter Taylor and junior Chris Cullen took turns behind the plate. The Gamecocks' incoming recruiting class also includes an MLB draftee in Wes Clarke and a junior college commit in Luke Berryhill. Read more here: http://www.thestate.com/sports/college/university-of-south-carolina/usc-baseball/article213256604.html#storylink=cpy THE STATE
  22. What's in USC, Mark Kingston's future? 'Multiple national championships,' one player says June 12, 2018 FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. - In the immediate aftermath of South Carolina baseball's season-ending loss to Arkansas on Monday night, there was plenty of pain, sadness and tears in the Gamecocks' dugout at Baum Stadium. But despite falling one win short of the College World Series, USC's players uniformly described the 2018 campaign as a success, especially praising first-year coach Mark Kingston for his job leading the club from a 20-17 record midway through the season to an NCAA Super Regional berth. "If I could go all over and do it again, I'd do it tomorrow, I'd start the season out just as bad as we did. I wouldn't change anything about it," senior catcher Hunter Taylor said. "For the past however many weeks, we've battled our tails off. It's unbelievable what we've done and how we did it, and I wouldn't change a thing." Throughout February, March and the first half of April, Carolina seemed almost certain to miss the postseason for the third time in four years, something that hasn't happened for USC since 1996-1999. The low point was a midweek loss to Presbyterian, which dropped Kingston's team within three games of .500 and raised doubts among fans as to whether the squad could make the SEC tournament. "After the loss to PC, coach took away our video lounge and that was just the turning point for us," junior pitcher Ridge Chapman said. "We just knew we had to change something, and everything just clicked and we just starting fighting for one another and loving one another." After that loss, USC won five consecutive SEC series and finished the year on a 17-9 tear, coming the closest it's been to the CWS since 2013. According to junior shortstop LT Tolbert, it won't be long before Kingston and the Gamecocks get there. "He was successful where he came from for a reason, and I knew that all along, and that's why even during our struggles early in the season, I never had a doubt about this team and him being the leader of this team," Tolbert said. "He's going to be the leader of this team for a long time to come, and he's going to make it to Omaha and they're going to win multiple national championships, I have zero doubt about that." Senior third baseman Jonah Bride agreed that the Gamecocks are now primed for more success under Kingston, even as 10 players were selected in the MLB draft recently. "Very excited for the future. With the group of guys they got coming back, the coaching staff, everything, everything's in place to be successful, and I know that the guys coming back next year will remember this feeling and will put the work in to ensure it doesn't happen again," Bride said. Bride's confidence stems in large park from his confidence in Kingston and the way he methodically challenged the team to become better, rescuing the season from becoming a lost cause. "We were 20-17, like he said, we looked like we were dead," Bride said. "To come back and make this kind of run, he never lost confidence in his guys, everyone stayed confident, we continued to work every day, that definitely says a lot." And while the Gamecocks ended 2018 in disappointing fashion, losing a 14-4 rout, senior second baseman Justin Row took a long term view of what this season will mean, even as he and many of his fellow upperclassmen prepare to leave Columbia.. "Obviously it was a lot of fun, but it wasn't our goal. Our goal was to get to Omaha and we fell short, but I think we paved a good way for these young kids and the guys coming in of what this program expects and what they're going to need to do in the next couple years to be successful," Row said. For senior infielder Madison Stokes, who grew up in Columbia and watched the Gamecocks make three consecutive trips to Omaha in 2010-2012, falling short or a return trip in his final chance stung, but the season did mark a return to form for the program. "We created a family here. We started something great," Stokes said. THE STATE
  23. 'Today is as good as I've seen us': USC feeling sharp heading into Arkansas super June 08, 2018 FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. While Arkansas baseball kept its last practice before the NCAA Tournament Super Regionals brief, going roughly half the time allotted, South Carolina used almost every minute possible at Baum Stadium on Friday. When you're playing and feeling as good as the Gamecocks are right now, you don't want to stop. USC enters its Super Regional on a roll, having gone 16-7 over the final portion of the season and 3-0 in its NCAA regional last weekend. On Friday, the team looked sharp as it prepped for a best-of-three series against the No. 5 nationally seeded Razorbacks. "We're in a good place. We're loose, we're competitive but we're focused," coach Mark Kingston said. "That's what any team at this point trying to get to Omaha needs to be: loose, competitive but also very focused." Making the trip to northwest Arkansas with Carolina, the squad's much-discussed pitching machines pumped in batting practice to the Gamecock hitters at 90 miles per hour, touching 94 at some points. Kingston has said in the past that going against the machines has had a direct correlation with more productive hitters for USC, and he liked what he saw Friday afternoon. "We put the machine out there at 90 miles per hour, and the guys were taking a lot of good swings. Usually when we're at our best, we're hitting that thing pretty well," Kingston said. One of the guys taking those swings, senior third baseman Jonah Bride, went a step further in his evaluation. "Honestly, today is as good as I've seen us hit the pitching machine," Bride said. "I don't know if it was throwing the ball straight or something, maybe the atmosphere, everyone's hyped.It was a good round of BP today, and we'll be excited and confident for tomorrow." Bride also said the conditions — near 90 degrees and a slight breeze blowing — made for some big hits, something he said could continue this weekend. FAMILIAR SURROUNDINGS Speaking of conditions, the last time South Carolina traveled to Arkansas was in mid-April, and the weather was far from ideal, with rain, wind and temperatures in the 40s. Bride, however, said Friday that series, in which USC lost two of three, proved the team could play well against top-ranked competition. That confidence will be especially key in a venue where Arkansas has gone 32-4 this season. "That was a series that when we played a doubleheader the second day, it was really chilly. Wasn't the most ideal conditions, but that was no excuse," Bride said. "It was definitely a close series the whole time, so we know we can hang with anybody in the country." For his part, Kingston said his team now is better "in every area that you can be evaluated" when compared to their first series, but expressed optimism that it could still be beneficial considering the players' comfort level now. "Familiarity is good for a team," Kingston said. "We're staying in the same hotel, you take the same route to the park, there's not that feeling out process of trying to figure out, 'OK, what is it going to feel like, what does it look like, what are the sightlines, what's it sound like?' We're familiar with all that so we can just focus on playing our best baseball." PITCHING IN FLUX Kingston continued to play coy Friday about his starting rotation for the weekend, but he did confirm that junior righty Adam Hill will start Game 1. After that, it seems likely that sophomore Cody Morris will go Game 2 and freshman Carmen Mlodzinski will get Game 3, if necessary, but it is not confirmed, and Kingston said he wants to keep his options open. "We'll play every game like it's a must-win game. We just want to continue to evaluate the trends of the series and how we use our bullpen will steer some of those decisions as we go," Kingston said. Hill said he and his fellow pitchers have a similar confidence to the hitters at this point. "Obviously they're a very good team, they swing it very well, so we just got to stay on our approach, go out there and attack the zone like we try to do every week," Hill said. "They're great hitters, but we can make the pitches to get them out." SERIES DETAILS Saturday: 6:30 p.m. eastern, ESPN2 Sunday: 3 p.m. eastern, ESPN Monday: 7 p.m. eastern, ESPN THE STATE
  24. Four current Gamecocks taken on second day of 2018 MLB Draft June 05, 2018 Carlos Cortes and Adam Hill might not be done being teammates after all. The two South Carolina Gamecocks were taken by the New York Mets on Tuesday in the second day of the MLB Draft. The Mets took Cortes in the third round, 83rd overall, while Hill went in the fourth round, 110th overall. Cortes is only a sophomore but is draft-eligible because of his age. The slot value for Cortes' selection is $705,300. Hill's value is $507,800. If both turn pro, they might return to the area as members of the Columbia Fireflies, the South Atlantic League affiliate of the New York Mets. Former Gamecock Gene Cone was drafted by the Mets in 2016 and played last season with the Fireflies. It's the second time Cortes was picked by the Mets. He was taken in the 20th round of the 2016 MLB Draft. Cortes is hitting .260 with 15 homers and 44 RBIs this season for the Gamecocks. He was ranked the 177th best prospect by Baseball America. Cortes has played both infield and outfield for the Gamecocks. The Mets drafted him as a second baseman. "One of my favorite storylines last summer was seeing Carlos Cortes play second base right-handed, left field left-handed," MLB Network's Peter Gammons tweeted Tuesday. Hill, a junior, is 7-5 with a 3.99 ERA in 15 starts with 98 strikeouts in 78 innings. He struck out a Founders Park-record 14 batters against Charleston Southern on Feb. 23. The right-hander was ranked the 81st best prospect by Baseball America. The former T.L. Hanna standout was taken by the San Diego Padres in the 39th round of the 2015 MLB Draft. Hill was one of two USC pitchers drafted Tuesday. Right-hander Cody Morris was taken by the Cleveland Indians in the seventh round. Slot value for Morris' pick is $185,600. Morris, a draft-eligible sophomore, has been one of South Carolina’s most reliable starters this year. He is 8-3 with 3.68 ERA in 15 starts. Morris has struck out 83 in 78 1/3 innings. He was ranked No. 292 in Baseball America's Top 500. The Philadelphia Phillies took Madison Stokes in the 10th round. Stokes, who played at A.C. Flora, has a slot value of $142,600. Stokes, who has battled injuries during his career at USC, put together his best season this year. He has 10 homers and 43 RBIs and leads the team with a .587 slugging percentage. USC signee Taj Bradley was taken by the Tampa Bay Rays in the fifth round of the draft. Bradley, a pitcher, played at Redan High in Georgia and just turned 17 years old in March. Bradley’s slot value is $343,600. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Bradley was rated No. 146 best prospect by Baseball America. On Monday, South Carolina signee Owen White was taken by the Texas Rangers in the second round, 55th overall. The slot value for the White's pick is $1,257,500. USC coach Mark Kingston in an interview on SportsTalk radio Tuesday expects the underclassmen and signees taken in the first 10 rounds of the draft to sign professional contracts. Deadline to sign a pro contract is July 6. The draft will conclude Wednesday with rounds 11-40 beginning at 11:30 a.m. South Carolina MLB draftees Second round 55. Texas Rangers, Owen White, P, Jesse Carson HS (Signee) Third Round 83. New York Mets, Carlos Cortes, INF Fourth round 110. New York Mets, Adam Hill, P Fifth round 150. Tampa Bay Rays, Taj Bradley, P, Redan HS (Ga.) (Signee) Seventh round 223. Cleveland Indians, Cody Morris, P 10th round 287. Philadelphia Phillies, Madison Stokes, SS
  25. South Carolina signee goes in second round of MLB Draft June 05, 2018 South Carolina signee Owen White was taken in the first day of the Major League Baseball Draft on Monday. The Texas Rangers drafted White in the second round, 55th overall. The slot value for the White's pick is $1,257,500. White played at Jesse Carson High School in North Carolina and was named the NC Gatorade Baseball Player of Year last week. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound White went 10-1 record with a 0.22 earned run average in helping Jesse Carson High School to the Class 3A West state tournament semifinals. The senior struck out 101 and allowed 28 hits in 63 2/3 innings while hitting .333 with 10 doubles. White, who has a 4.14 GPA, leaves Jesse Carson High as the school’s all-time leader in hits, runs, RBIs, doubles, wins and strikeouts. The draft continues Tuesday with rounds 3-10 and concludes Wednesday with rounds 11-40.

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