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Breakdown of the 2024 South Carolina Baseball Schedule

Updated: Dec 29, 2023




By Sinderella


South Carolina is coming off a successful bounce back 2023 season that ended with a Super Regional appearance versus the National Runner-up, the Florida Gators. Head Coach Mark Kingston looks to build off last year's success, as many people around the college baseball world see South Carolina as a potential player in Omaha for the Men's College Baseball World Series. Before the talk about Omaha, though, there are games to be played, and we will break down what many believe will be another successful season for the Gamecocks, including the season Win-Loss predictions.


Let's look at the non-conference schedule first. On paper, it may appear weak compared to some in the past, but when you look closer at how well the 2024 opponents did last season, you see the slate has a great balance of easy and challenging match-ups. Even though there are not a lot of P5 or high-end mid-majors, the schedule still has many schools that will present a tough early challenge for a team with a lot of new pieces. Here are the non-conference opponents and their W-L record from last year:


Miami of Ohio: 21-35

Winthrop: 28-28

Queens: 17-38

Belmont: 27-33

Rider: 36-21

Gardner-Webb: 31-25

Clemson: 44-19

Citadel: 23-31

Davidson: 30-24

Longwood: 23-31

Georgia State: 30-29

USC Upstate: 38-22

Presbyterian: 21-34

Georgia Southern: 27-29

North Carolina: 36-24

East Tennessee State: 26-29


Expectations are high that South Carolina will do well with this schedule, which also should not be a liability if the Gamecocks find themselves fighting for a Top 8 or Regional host spot like a year ago. The hardest opponents from the non-conference schedule seem to be Clemson, North Carolina, Rider, USC Upstate, and Gardner-Webb. If South Carolina can get through this group with only two or three losses, they should be in a favorable spot coming out of non-conference. Best guess record prediction is 22-3.



Now, lets move to conference play, where the SEC is a powerhouse as usual. This league schedule is tough, and we'll learn very quickly how well South Carolina stacks up with the rest of the SEC and country. There is a solid month in the middle of the conference schedule where South Carolina can potentially lose every series or win every series. That's how good the SEC is, and how South Carolina still has key question marks that need to be answered. Here are the SEC opponents, with their W-L record from last year:


@ Ole Miss: 25-29

Vanderbilt: 42-20

@ Alabama: 43-21

Texas A&M: 38-27

@ Florida: 54-17

Arkansas: 43-18

Kentucky: 40-21

@ Missouri: 30-24

Georgia: 29-27

@ Tennessee: 44-22


The stretch of Vanderbilt - Kentucky is one of the hardest month-long gauntlets that any team in the country will have to face. If South Carolina can emerge with at least a .500 record, it would be huge toward competing for a top seed in the SEC and potentially winning the East. It's widely believed that every team on the Gamecocks' SEC schedule has improved over last year, when South Carolina went 16-13 in conference play. Expect them to be around that same mark again. The hardest teams are Arkansas, Florida, Vanderbilt, Tennessee, and Texas A&M. But, the SEC is so deep and so strong, one could make another list of the other five that would still be insanely hard. The positive takeaway here is if South Carolina is as a good as many observers believe they are, this will get them ready for the NCAA Tournament. Conference record prediction is 18-12.



Last year, my personal prediction was South Carolina winning 39 regular season games and making a Super Regional appearance. They won 38 regular season games and made a Super Regional appearance. This year's prediction is 40-15 in the regular season (before even heading to the SEC Tournament at Hoover) and not just making a Super Regional, winning it and advancing to Omaha.


The lineup on paper is one of the best and deepest South Carolina has ever had. The pitching is filled with extremely talented pitchers, but there are several question marks with so many new faces, plus losing the entire starting lineup and some key bullpen arms. I believe new Pitching Coach Matt Williams has brought in some big-time arms and will use them exceptionally well. We will see what happens, but no matter what, this will be a very interesting 2024 season for the South Carolina Gamecocks.


*****


All pictures courtesy of University of South Carolina Athletics

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2 Comments


sigsky
sigsky
Jan 18

Isn't the NCAA standard or limit 56 games during the regular season? Obviously some teams fall short of this due to weather, acts of God, or athletics philosophy but it is a bit unusual to have less than 56 scheduled at pre season. Do you suppose we will add an opponent sometime during the season?

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johnsig
johnsig
Dec 30, 2023

You've got me excited. Looks like we will start out somewhat "under the radar" which I think is always nice. How about support behind Messina at the plate? Will we be able to give him an occasional day off at dh or elsewhere? If we stay healthy we should make some noise.

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