The Columbia, SC NCAA baseball regional begins on Friday at 12 noon with three in-state powers grouped together. Here are the pitching matchups:
Friday 12 noon: #3 Coastal Carolina - Austin Wallace (5-0, 2.05 ERA) vs. #2 Clemson - Kevin Pohle (6-4, 3.66 ERA)
Friday 4pm: #4 Manhattan - Taylor Sewitt (11-1, 2.40 ERA) vs. #1 South Carolina - Colby Holmes (6-1, 3.39 ERA)
Every game of the Columbia Regional will be televised on ESPNU
Here's some notes from each team heading into the weekend
#1 South Carolina
Grayson Greiner underwent successful arthroscopic surgery on Thursday and could be active if the Gamecocks advance to the Super Regionals. Dante Rosenberg will handle the catching duties this weekend. Ray Tanner elected to go with Colby Holmes in the opener against Manhattan and save #1 starter Michael Roth for a matchup against either Coastal Carolina or Clemson on Saturday. Tanner cited Holmes post-season experience and his last solid outing was at home in the regular season finale series against LSU. Reliever Evan Beal did not practice due to an illness, but hopes to be available for duty this weekend out of the Gamecocks bullpen.
With Kevin Pohle getting the ball against Coastal Carolina, that leaves Dominic Leone and Daniel Gossett for the next two games. Kevin Brady, Clemson's ace during the regular season, is still in relief as he continues to work his way back from a hamstring injury. Jack Leggett and the Tigers players continue to downplay a possible showdown with the Gamecocks as they put all of their focus on the Chanticleers. CCU and Clemson have split the last four meetings with the Tigers winning last year in the NCAA Regional at home in a 12-7 slugfest over the Chants, a regional eventually won by UConn
#3 Coastal Carolina
Gary Gilmore is used to being in the shadow of South Carolina and Clemson, and he knows that until the Chants can knock off one of the two Palmetto State powers on the big stage, things will remain that way. However, CCU can ride into Friday's showdown with the confidence of a 10-7 midweek win at Doug Kingsmore Stadium earlier this season. Lefty Austin Wallace gets the ball on Friday with #1 starter Tyler Herb pushed back to Saturday after being extended in CCU's Big South Tournament win. Coastal's loss of ace Josh Conway may be a major reason that CCU wound up a #3 and shipped to Columbia, but like USC and Clemson, Coastal has plenty of big game experience and are not as much of an underdog as people outside of South Carolina think.
The Jaspers started the season 4-17, but rallied to win the MAAC tournament thanks in large part to Friday's starter Taylor Sewitt. The submarine pitcher threw 296 pitches in the MAAC tournament, a total of 22 innings in picking up three wins and MVP honors. A cinderella story is unlikely -- the Jaspers were swept by TCU, Maryland, High Point and lost three of four to West Virginia.