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Opening Weekend Preview: Miami (OH) vs South Carolina

By Sinderella

This has to be my favorite write-up to date for CBC, because we are now officially in college baseball season! After an incredible season full of highs and lows for South Carolina, that ended in a heartbreaking Super Regional loss to national runner-up Florida, the Gamecocks are looking to build on that and make it to Omaha. Before any of that can happen, though, the Gamecocks have to play the regular season, which starts by going against Miami (OH).

The Redhawks did not have anywhere near the 2023 success the Gamecocks did, finishing 21-35 last year. Looking over the roster, the Redhawks have hit the transfer portal hard, as almost half the team is filled with new upperclassmen faces. Overall, Miami is led by a fantastic outfielder, Ryland Zaborowski, who paced the MAC with 20 home runs last season, but it's still lacking the high-end talent to compete with a Top 25 team. Besides Zaborowski, they are also looking for bounce-back years from David Novak and Zach Maxey, who were both elite in 2022 but had struggling 2023 seasons. The series may have competitive moments, but most expect South Carolina to sweep, as the Gamecocks offense should take advantage of a pitching staff devoid of any hurler with a sub-4.00 ERA last season.

Now it's time to do the really fun stuff, and near impossible, which is project the starting lineup and rotation (not as impossible) for Opening Day. These lineups will change almost every day during the non-conference schedule, as the coaches try to figure out who and where the fits are best. Obviously, it can be pretty upsetting to some when there are guys who don't seem to have a spot, but that is honestly a good thing in the motivation it can generate. I believe we have 13 players for 9 spots, which is going to elicit the highest competitive effort and performance every one of them can deliver. The best lineup will iron itself out during non-conference play, but here would be my starting lineup for Opening Day:

Projected Opening Day Starting Rotation:

Friday: Eli Jones

Saturday: Dylan Eskew

Sunday: Roman Kimball (if healthy) or Tyler Pitzer

Projected Opening Day Starting Lineup:

  1. LF Blake Jackson

  2. CF Dylan Brewer

  3. RF Ethan Petry

  4. C Cole Messina

  5. 1B Tyler Causey

  6. DH Ryan Bakes

  7. 2B Parker Noland

  8. 3B Talmadge LeCroy

  9. SS Will Tippett

Now, lets sit back with some peanuts and Cracker Jacks, a cold one, and PLAY BALL!

(All pictures courtesy of @GamecockBll and @MiamiOHBaseball on X)

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