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The third-ranked University of South Carolina baseball team will face its toughest challenge of the year this weekend as it begins Southeastern Conference play on the road against an undefeated foe.

The back-to-back defending national champs will travel to Lexington, Kentucky for a three-game series against the Kentucky Wildcats – the only team in the nation still boasting a perfect record.

While the Wildcats (18-0) have yet to drop a game, they’ve played a soft schedule so far this year that includes only two teams with winning records. That’s why they remain unranked by Baseball America.

The Gamecocks (15-1) have just one blemish on their record – a loss to Clemson in the final game of a three-game series held earlier this month.

Courtesy of the University of South Carolina sports information office, here’s a look at the starting pitchers for this weekend’s series …

Friday (7:00 p.m.)
South Carolina – Michael Roth (Sr. LHP) 2-0, 0.93 ERA, 29.0 IP, 5 BB, 30 SO
Kentucky – Taylor Rogers (Jr. LHP) 4-0, 4.24 ERA, 23.1 IP, 6 BB, 33 SO

Saturday (2:00 p.m.)
South Carolina – Matt Price (Jr. RHP) 2-0, 3.10 ERA, 20.1 IP, 7 BB, 27 SO
Kentucky – Jerad Grundy (Jr. LHP) 3-0, 2.25 ERA, 24.0 IP, 7 BB, 23 SO

Sunday (1:00 p.m.)
South Carolina – Colby Holmes (Jr. RHP) 3-0, 0.93 ERA, 19.1 IP, 7 BB, 22 SO
Kentucky – Corey Littrell (So. LHP)2-0, 1.88 ERA, 24.0 IP, 6 BB, 28 SO

Sunday’s game will be televised nationally by FOX Sports South, incidentally.

The Gamecocks’ pitching staff – which made mincemeat out of its non-conference schedule – will be tested by junior college transfer Cameron Flynn. The Wildcats’ outfielder is hitting .432 with five home runs so far this season, and is one of several newcomers who is having an impact on the Kentucky program.

If the Wildcats can get to the Gamecock pitchers and steal a series win, they would likely become the eighth ranked team from the powerful SEC, joining Florida (No. 1), South Carolina (No. 3), Arkansas (No. 4), Mississippi (No. 12), Louisiana State (No. 13), Georgia (No. 18) and Mississippi State (No. 21).