Fresh off of a three-game sweep of SEC rival Kentucky last weekend, the defending national champion University of South Carolina baseball team is now ranked No. 3 in the nation by Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball and the ESPN/ USA Today Coaches’ poll.
In fact, three of the top four teams in America play in the SEC East … No. 1 Vanderbilt, No. 3 South Carolina and No. 4 Florida.
Carolina’s pitchers dominated the Wildcats last weekend, limiting Kentucky to just three extra-base hits and a .181 batting average. Pitcher Michael Roth – one of the heroes of last year’s national championship team – tossed an eight-inning three-hit gem last Friday, out-dueling Kentucky ace Alex Meyer.
The Gamecocks (22-5, 7-2 SEC) are now in a four-way tie with Alabama, Florida and Vanderbilt atop the SEC. Coach Ray Tanner’s squad will face USC-Upstate on Tuesday night in Columbia before continuing conference play this weekend in Knoxville against the Tennessee Volunteers.
Top-ranked Vanderbilt comes to town …
While the Gamecocks are streaking, their arch-rivals the Clemson Tigers continue to struggle. Once ranked in the Top Ten, Clemson was swept by No. 16 North Carolina last weekend – dropping the Tigers to 14-12 (4-8 ACC) on the season.
Last year’s College World Series championship was USC’s first national title in a major sport – and was such a big deal that the Gamecock flag was raised above the dome of the S.C. State House.