The #21 South Carolina Gamecocks (20-9, 5-4) visit Dudy Noble for a Thursday-Saturday series in what will easily be Mississippi State's toughest test of 2015 thus far.
The Bulldogs (19-12, 3-6) continued to dig themselves in a hole Tuesday night with a loss on the road at South Alabama. This series is a big opportunity. NCAA tournament chances are fading quickly.
After sweeping Kentucky to start off SEC play, the Gamecocks dropped a series on the road at Missouri and at home to Georgia. All four of their conference losses have come by one run.
The Gamecocks are led offensively by two seniors who can really pound the baseball and on the mound by one of the better one-two punches in the SEC.
Kyle Martin (senior): The big first baseman leads the Gamecocks offensive attack for the second straight year. Martin anchors the middle of the lineup with his team-leading .377 batting average, .632 slugging percentage, six home runs, and 29 RBI's. He has only struck out ten times all season. Martin is also one of the best defensive first basemen in the entire country. He's as good as Wes Rea when it comes to scooping balls out of the dirt and avoiding errors.
Will Crowe (sophomore): After a Freshman All-American season in 2014, Crowe has only gotten better as South Carolina's ace pitcher. He will be one of the best strikeout pitchers MSU has faced all season. In seven starts he has struck out 54 batters, walked 14, and compiled a 2.84 ERA. He's the only pitcher on the team that has thrown a complete game. Crowe is scheduled to pitch in game one against MSU lefty Lucas Laster, who is making his first SEC start of the season.
Elliott Caldwell (senior): Elliot Caldwell is probably not a name like Kyle Martin that a lot of SEC baseball fans have heard of. After transferring from junior college and getting his feet wet at the d-1 level last season, Caldwell has really taken his game to another level as a senior. Playing in the outfield and hitting behind Martin in the lineup, Caldwell is hitting .365 with three triples, a pair of home runs, and 18 RBI's. The two seniors make the middle of the Gamecock lineup as dangerous as any in college baseball.
Jack Wynkoop (junior): Wynkoop is another elite arm that the Gamecocks will send to the mound on Friday. He is 4-2 with a 2.30 ERA in 47 innings of work. Wynkoop has the ability to strike some batters out like Crowe, and he's probably even scarier because of his ability to pound the strikezone. He has struck out 41 batters and only walked six. The runs may be hard to come by for the Dogs in the first two games.