Tanner: Gamecocks just need to win

South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner knows what it takes to win in the postseason as well as any coach in the country. But his Gamecocks haven't been very good at the SEC Tournament as of late. They'll need to be this year if they're going to solidify a top-eight national seed.

As successful as the last two postseasons have been for South Carolina, the Gamecocks' stays in Hoover at the SEC Tournament both of those years were short.

The Gamecocks went 0-2 in the tournament in 2010 and 1-2 in 2011.

In 2010 South Carolina wasn't a national seed but made it to Omaha by defeating Coastal Carolina in Myrtle Beach in the Super Regional. In 2011 the Gamecocks ran the table through the Columbia Regional, Super Regional and through Omaha for that matter.

Both of those seasons culminated in the Gamecocks winning a national title, but if Carolina wants the road to Omaha to go through Columbia this year, they're likely to need at least a couple of wins in Hoover to solidify a top-eight national seed.

"I'd like to stay in Hoover for a while and play," head coach Ray Tanner says of the now 10-team bracket. "The tournament is drawn up, if I understand it correctly, it looks like it's well-done for a conference tournament. I'd like to stick around there and play as long as we can."

As SEC East Champion and the No. 2 seed in the tournament, South Carolina gets a by until Wednesday night when it will face the low-seed winner out of No. 3 Florida vs. Auburn and No. 5 Vanderbilt vs. No. 8 Georgia.

First pitch is scheduled for 30 minutes after the conclusion of game 7, which begins at 5:30 ET.

The Gamecocks still have some work to do mainly because of a 1-5 start in SEC play. They recovered to win 17 of 23 conference games and came with another win over LSU this past weekend of winning the outright SEC title.

But the Tigers took two of three in Columbia locking up their own national seed in the process and leaving the Gamecocks on the outside looking in.

While Tanner doesn't like to look too far ahead, he does like the current mindset of his team heading into the postseason.

"I think they feel good about who they are right now, and you've got to go make some things happen," he says. "What I believe is the key is a momentum created by a couple of players. An outstanding performance from a pitcher or this is Adam Matthews' time, whatever it may be, I think those kind of things, propel you and give you an opportunity to have some success at the end of the year."

Tanner and the Gamecocks hope that success begins a little bit earlier this season, though they'll certainly take the end result of the previous two seasons any way they can get it.

What do the Gamecocks need to do to this week to solidify the national seed? Tanner says it's simple: win.

"Normally, I don't spend any time at all looking at any of those things, because sometimes the coaches will talk about it, and I won't know a thing about it," he said. "I've never put any time into that.

"It's been a little bit different this year, because Mr. (Athletics Director Eric) Hyman is on the committee and (SID) Andrew (Kitick) and I spent some time just providing some data for him that he can look at.

"Should we be a national eight-seed right now? I think we're close. How do you enhance that? You win. And there's probably three or four other teams at this point that would say the same thing. We've probably got some work to do. We'll see how it all shakes out."

Freshman left-hander Jordan Montgomery will start the tournament opener for the Gamecocks.

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