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Can South Carolina Win the Super Regional Rematch?

By Sinderella

South Carolina lost to Florida in a Super Regional last year after sweeping them during the regular season in Columbia. Even though both teams return most of their stars, both teams are very different and have been underwhelming compared to their preseason hype.

South Carolina is currently riding a roller coaster through one of the hardest schedules in the country. After losing a weekend series they felt they should have won versus Alabama, they followed that up with a midweek shutout loss to Georgia State and dropped their first home series to Texas A&M.

Things haven't looked good lately for South Carolina, but a midweek win over a Top 15 North Carolina team has them feeling good going into this weekend series versus a Florida team that has the talent to challenge for a national championship but consistently loses to teams they should handle with ease.

Rotation Matchups:

Friday- Eli Jones (2-1, 3.89) vs. Brandon Neely (1-0, 5.18)

Saturday- Ty Good (4-0, 1.93) vs. Liam Peterson (1-4, 7.88)

Sunday- Matthew Becker (4-1, 3.57) vs. Jac Caglianone (3-0, 3.67)

Florida's offense is led by All-American two-way star Jac Caglianone. Jac looks just as dominant as he did last year. Behind him are some great bats like Ty Evans and power hitter Colby Shelton. Florida has a lineup that can hit home runs, as they have 69 of them, which ranks 5th in the country.

The issue with Florida is they are not hitting for average besides Jac Caglianone and Ty Evans. Florida is hitting .232 in conference play, which comes out to be 2nd-to-last in the SEC. This is the same offense and team that just got swept by Missouri, who is by far and away the worst SEC team, and also got obliterated by in-state rival Florida State.

Florida's pitching staff has been better in-conference than out of conference. They haven't played the hardest of opponents though, and I am not confident with where the staff is right now after this past week's results.

Florida brings in a 5.33 ERA, and most of that is being held down by the bullpen, while the starters are getting hit around more than they would like. This is a pitching staff that an improved South Carolina team can take advantage of early in games and make it difficult for Florida to overcome.

Overall, this Florida team has the talent to beat anyone in the country, but talent alone does not win games, and Florida knows that. I believe this is a vulnerable team, and South Carolina has a great chance to walk away with a series win on the road in the SEC. I believe the difference is the pitching staff and the improved offense of South Carolina, and that is why I am taking South Carolina to win the series 2-1.

(All pictures courtesy of @GamecockBll & @GatorsBB)


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