The top six: Opening weekend

While there are plenty of candidates for this list who had great starts to the Gamecocks' 2012 season, Gamecock Anthem gives you the top nine from a weekend that saw many newcomers make names for themselves. As the season goes along, we'll probably cut it to a top five, but for now here are the top six from the Gamecocks' weekend.

The Top Six: VMI Weekend
Junior CF Evan Marzilli
Quick Hitter: Evan Marzilli is simply a really good baseball player in all facets, but he hasn't always been consistent in his South Carolina career. He struggled at times last season with strikeouts. Ray Tanner likes to go with veterans at the top of his line-up though, and while a younger player like a Tanner English is probably destined to one day be the Gamecocks' leadoff hitter, Tanner went with Marzilli at the top. If this weekend was any indication, Marzilli's stay there won't be brief. He's tied for the team lead with a .500 average after collecting six hits on the weekend. Marzilli scored three times and also knocked in two RBIs. Most importantly, Marzilli only struck out once while walking once as well. His bunt-for-base-hit also led off the eighth inning in a tight game-one as his run-scored proved to be the game-winner. It was just the start that he needed.

Junior 3B LB Dantzler
Quick Hitter: Dantzler didn't look completely comfortable in the field early in game-one, but those early game jitters seemed to subside pretty quickly and he even had a nice pick or two in game-one and a diving stop and throw out on day-two. Jitters were never a problem at the plate, though. The JUCO transfer delivered the game-winning hit in his first game as a Gamecock, and hit his first homer in game-three. It didn't take many at-bats to notice that Dantzler is going to be an outstanding power bat for the Gamecocks and will be great hitting behind Christian Walker. Dantzler finished the weekend batting .364 with a team-leading five RBIs. He's going to very quickly become a fan-favorite if this type of play continues.
Freshman catcher Grayson Greiner
Quick Hitter: Greiner is no stranger to many who follow high school baseball in the Columbia area, and the Blythewood product's Gamecock debut didn't disappoint. The tall, lanky catcher showed off his cannon when he gunned down a would-be base stealer -- and potential tying run -- in the ninth inning of Friday's 2-1 victory. But Greiner looked like a veteran at the plate as well. He earned a line drive base hit on his first college at-bat and seemed to hit the ball hard even when he wasn't getting hits. Greiner finished the weekend with four hits and a .400 average. While Tanner has said time and time again that there's really no starter between Greiner and fellow catcher Dante Rosenberg as both will play lots of innings, it speaks to how highly thought of Greiner is by the coaching staff that he started the season opener.
Junior Left-hander Tyler Webb
Quick Hitter: Webb joined the South Carolina program with high expectations but at times has struggled to leave up to those standards. The lanky lefty did seem to find a home as a left-hander out of the pen last season, and he filled that role admirably in Friday's close win. Webb came on for All-American Michael Roth and pitched 2.1 scoreless innings, giving up just a single bloop hit in the ninth. Webb also struck out four. While he'll no doubt face tougher opponents later in the season, it was a great start to the year for the junior.


Junior Right-hander Colby Holmes
Quick Hitter: The junior from Conway came up with several key starts in the Gamecocks' national championship run last season, but none of that meant it was going to be easy for Holmes to hold on to his job as the team's Sunday starter with a number of young, talented arms gunning for his spot this year. Holmes showed in the series finally Saturday that he doesn't appear anywhere close to giving up that job. He worked efficiently and gave up just one hit in five innings of work. Holmes also struck out six and VMI hit just .067 with him on the mound.


Junior Right-hander Ethan Carter
Quick Hitter: The junior returned to the Gamecocks after a year in junior college and provided four strong innings in game-one of Saturday's double header (game-two of the series). Not only did Carter prove that he could be effective, but he proved that he could be extended when needed. Carter surrendered just two hits in four innings of work. Carter also struck out six while not walking a single batter.


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