Who's on second?

South Carolina coach Ray Tanner had five positions to replace from last year's National Championship team. While some have emerged at the other positions, after one week there is still a battle for second base between Chase Vergason, Connor Bright, and TJ Costen.

Entering the 2012 season, South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner had to replace nearly every position on the infield from last year's squad that won the second consecutive National Championship for the Gamecocks. The only returning player is Junior Christian Walker at first base. Anybody who knows anything about South Carolina baseball the last four seasons knew which position would be the hardest to replace; second base.

Though struggling offensively for most of his career, Scott Wingo was as good defensively as a second baseman could be for Tanner's team. With Wingo in the major league, second base was up in the air.

After a weekend of play, second base remains the one position still up in the air in the infield. Freshman Joey Pankake has a stronghold on shortstop, JUCO LB Dantzler has powered his way into the clean-up role at third base, and freshman Grayson Greiner has been impressive at catcher and right now will be the primary catcher.

Second base? Not so much.

"Second base is still up in the air for me," Tanner said following Saturday's double header. "A couple of weeks ago, I thought we might go in one direction or another. After this weekend, I'm not sure what we're going to do at second base. Connor Bright started the season as a swing guy at all three positions (second, third and short). Chase Vergason was pretty solid. TJ (Costen) had some ability. He wasn't as quite as efficient as he needed to be."

Vergason got the nod in Friday night's contest, primarily based on his experience as a JUCO player. Though he scored one of two Gamecock runs he was 0-for-3 at the plate.

"Vergason hasn't played as well lately as he did earlier," Tanner said. "He was pretty solid and handled himself a little bit better than those guys offensively and defensively. He was a better quarterback in the middle of the infield than those guys were because he's a little bit older. But it has gotten bunched up a little bit. Those other guys (Costen and Bright) have some ability."

Costen got the start in Saturday's first game and went 0-for-3 before being replaced by Vergason in the seventh. Vergason grounded out to second in his only plate appearance.

All three saw action in the third game of the series. Bright got the start at second, but would eventually move to shortstop. Costen would come in at second when Bright moved to shortstop, but would move to left field late in the game when Vergason replaced Evan Marzilli in the lineup.

Bright went 1-for-4 with an RBI on a bases-loaded walk and scored a run, but struck out twice. Costen went 1-for-1 with a walk and hit a two-run homerun in the eighth after being moved to left field. Vergason did not have a plate appearance.

Who will start this weekend when the Gamecocks host Elon? Even Tanner doesn't know

"After the three games, I'm kind of in the same place," Tanner said. "I don't know who the right guy is for that spot. We have to get a good week of practice and see who gets a chance to play next weekend."

Vergason could get the start based on his experience, but Costen capped off the weekend on a high note with the homerun and Bright is just as capable.

"It's not like neither one of those guys can play," Tanner said. "I'm just not sure which one should be playing right now," Tanner said. "There's still a battle going on. I don't really want that to be a situation going into weeks three, four and five. That's too hard to have a situation at second base that's not settled. I want to get that settled as quickly as possible."

Though Tanner would like to see the three-man battle end this weekend, the fact of the matter is he says that it could extend as far as the Clemson series next weekend.

"Will it be settled this week? I don't know."


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