BASEBALL PREVIEW: Gators vs. Gamecocks

The UF/USC series has been among the most competitive in the rugged Southeastern Conference schedule. In forty-six games, the Gamecocks have an advantage of only four. The teams have split six games over the past two seasons. During that span, Carolina's wins have been by two runs or less, with two of them going ten innings. The Gators currently sport a two game winning streak. Both are in the top ten, lead the Eastern Division, and figure to be prominent figures in the NCAA Tournament.


One number that sticks out among the Carolina starters is the woeful batting average that opposing teams have against them. Combine that with an impressive strikeout to walk ratio and you can see why the Gamecocks are 19-3 and ranked seventh in the nation.

Erik Henpy struggled in his most recent performance last Friday night against Auburn. The southpaw allowed two earned runs and issued two walks in five innings on the road. Hempy didn't figure into the decision though, as the Gamecocks bats pummeled the Auburn staff for twelve runs. He was saddled with a loss in his first outing against Elon despite pitching six strong innings in which he allowed no earned runs and no free passes.

Hempy throws a fastball that tops out around 92. He also throws a pretty wicked curveball that has a quick break and a change-up that he locates very well.

Right hander Mike Cisco gave up three earned runs and two walks in 7.1 innings last Saturday as he picked up his second victory of the season. Cisco struck out eight Tigers and helped his teammates by shutting out Auburn in the first four innings. Cisco possesses the most competitive nature on the mound for the Gamecocks. He too has a fastball, curveball, and change.

Forrest Beverly has tremendous control. He has allowed one walk for every ten innings pitched. Unfortunately, the lefty allowed two of those last Sunday in a 7-1 loss to the Tigers. Beverly lasted only 3.2 innings. He allowed five earned runs and struck out five.


  • South Carolina: Arik Hempy, LHP, Jr. (1-1, 3.27 ERA, .198 OppBA, 22 IP, 31 K, 8 BB)
  • Florida: Bryan Ball, RHP, Sr. (4-2, 3.72 ERA, .265 OppBA, 36.1 IP, 29 K, 8 BB)


  • South Carolina: Mike Cisco, RHP, Fr. (2-0, 1.29 ERA, .132 OppBA, 21 IP, 22 K, 4 BB)
  • Florida: Bryan Augenstein, RHP, So. (5-1, 1.49 ERA, .178 OppBA, 48.1 IP, 45 K, 3 BB)


  • South Carolina: Forrest Beverly, LHP, Jr. (4-1, 4.15 ERA, .252 OppBA, 30.1 IP, 28 K, 3 BB)
  • Florida: J. K. LaCoste (2-1, 1.10 ERA, .281 OppBA, 16.1 IP, 3 K, 5 BB ) or Chas Spottswood (1-0, 5.40 ERA, .354 OppBA, 15 IP, 8 K, 3 BB)

Florida has received superb pitching from Bryan Augenstein and Bryan Ball. Both deserved to win last weekend. However, Augenstein didn't get the run support in his outstanding performance against Arkansas.

The problem for Florida has been finding a consistent third starter. For now, it appears that either J.K. LaCoste and Chas Spottswood will get another opportunity to nail down the job. However, Pat McMahon has plenty of other options should he choose to approach them.


The top two hitters in the Carolina order are Chris Brown and Cheyne Hurst. Coach Ray Tanner has used both at leadoff. Brown is currently second on the squad with a .383 average. Meanwhile, Hurst is fourth on the Gamecocks team with a .346 average.

Carolina is led at the plate by third baseman Neil Giesler who is hitting .480. Giesler usually hits third or fourth in the lineup. The Florida pitching staff will have to contend with Brown, Hurst, and Giesler from the onset. The three average .402 and account for 36% of their run production.

Designated hitter Robbie Grinestaff leads the Gamecocks power numbers with five home runs and 24 runs batted in. The low man on the Gamecocks squad is Mark Stanley with a .214 average. Recently, Tanner has protected him in the lineup, hitting amongst the big average hitters. He should see a lot of pitches and hopes to get out of the slump.

South Carolina has only 22 steal attempts. They just don't run an awful lot. Hurst is their leading base threat with three successful steals in five attempts.

Florida is hitting the ball better overall, but still needs consistency. The Gators would love to see Adam Davis, Brian Jeroloman, and Brandon McArthur hit for more than .300. Coach McMahon has to be pleased that Austin Pride, David Cash, Avery Barnes, and Chris Petrie are beginning to adjust and swing the bat well. Their continued development would benefit the team tremendously this weekend.


Carolina enters the series with a .982 mark defensively. Second baseman Chris Brown and shortstop Reese Havens have made five and four errors respectively. They have combined with their infield mates to record 25 double plays.

The Gators will hit the road with a .957 fielding percentage. Shortstop Adam Davis has committed eight errors in 132 chances. Third basemen David Cash (8) and Brandon McArthur (7) must shore up the hot corner. Those fifteen errors were committed on just 98 chances. Both have spent most of their time at third base.

First pitch is scheduled for 7pm at Sarge Frye Field in Columbia, South Carolina.

Fightin Gators Top Stories