Back in January, we matched USC’s basketball players to the songs that described their season. Now, as the Gamecocks prepare for the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Alabama, it’s time to take a look at some of Carolina’s key baseball players and how their years have progressed to this point. With over 30 players on the roster, it would be nearly impossible to musically describe the play of every Gamecock, but here are the players who have greatly impacted Carolina’s 2013 season. Each player has a specific warm-up song when they hit or pitch, but these are the tunes that should be blaring when these Gamecocks step to the plate or climb the mound.
“Started in Atlanta, then I spread out wit’ it/South Carolina, Alabama, Mississippi…”
Vergason not only took a circuitous route to Columbia, coming from Florida Atlantic to Brevard CC to USC, but he has also made his way around the infield. The former second baseman took over the hot corner this year and has been fairly solid. He has also been a stalwart on an injury-plagued squad, starting 52 games on the year.
“A little bit is better than nada/Sometime you want the whole enchilada…”
Pankake’s game may have one minor issue, but the sophomore is close to being the whole enchilada for USC. His only problem has been the 15 errors he committed, but his bat has been very impressive. If the fielding mistakes get corrected, Pankake could do big things for the Gamecocks.
“Tonight is the night, we’ll fight ’til it’s over/So we throw our hands up like the ceiling can’t hold us…”
Few stadiums around the SEC have been able to hold the blasts from Dantzler’s bat. The senior has hit more homers than any Gamecock since 2009. Despite moving from third base to first, Dantzler also leads the team in doubles, RBIs and slugging percentage.
“Heading down south to the land of the pines/I’m thumbing my way into North Caroline…”
Schrock escaped from UNC-stronghold Chapel Hill and made his way south to Columbia. Schrock found his way into the starting lineup and his play has elevated throughout the season. The freshman has been strong in the field with just six errors on the year. Schrock’s bat may not send balls to New England or Roanoke, but he has done a great job of getting on base. And, yes, the link takes you to Darius Rucker’s version of the song, but you and I both know it’s the best version.
“I live my life like there’s no tomorrow/And all I’ve got, I had to steal…”
A deal with the devil can’t ensure baserunners will be safe with Greiner behind the plate. The sophomore has gunned down 20 runners this season. The catcher is also third on the team in stolen bases.
“You can jump right in/Let the music pull you in…”
The Indiana native has jumped right in to the outfield rotation for Carolina and has provided some stability to a unit that has undergone a myriad of injuries. Saiko is the only player on the USC roster that has started in the outfield in every game he has played this season.
“Get off of my back and into my game/Get out of my way and out of my brain…”
South Carolina was searching for an everyday rightfielder before Bright exploded onto the scene and pushed all competitors out of the picture. The Mount Pleasant native has played error-free ball all season and is pushing .300 at the plate. Bright’s fearless approach in the box has paid off and USC will expect continued productivity from him in the postseason.
“I had a reputation for never staying very long/Just like a wild and restless drifter, like a cowboy in a song…”
English rarely stays in a single spot for very long. English is absolutely explosive coming out of the box and is always a threat to swipe a bag once he’s on the basepaths.
“Some nights I stay up cashing in my bad luck/Some nights I call it a draw…”
The fact that Nolan Belcher’s record is currently 7-5 is an absolute crime. Belcher has struck out 83 batters and walked just 13 in 99.1 innings this season, but has had nights when his teammates have given him little support at the plate or in the field.
“It’s a white flag, it’s a stop sign/It’s a last long drag on a Marlboro Light…”
When the senior closer strides to the mound, the game is over. Webb has made more appearances than any other pitcher in the history of South Carolina baseball and has done the impossbile by filling the shoes of Matt Price. USC’s bullpen has struggled all season, but Webb has been rock solid.
“You got trouble and I got ‘em too/There isn’t anything I wouldn’t do for you…”
Despite the struggles of Carolina’s relief pitchers throughout the year, starting pitchers can breathe easy when Westmoreland comes out of the pen. The big lefthander from Cayce has bridged the gap between USC’s starting rotation and its dominant closer and has been the only reliable reliever on the Gamecock roster.
“Don’t matter what plans I’ve got, I can break them/I can turn this thing around at the next red light…”
You never know when Sullivan is going to be called on, but he always seems to be ready. Sullivan’s numbers are not eye-popping, but the senior has been able to help USC in crucial situations.
“Flew me to places I’ve never been/Now I’m lying on the cold hard ground…”
Colby Holmes has been a major part of South Carolina’s success over the past few seasons, but this year has been one to forget for the former starter. Holmes has struggled mightily, getting into trouble with nearly every appearance and his issues have flummoxed both fans and coaches alike. He has improved in recent weeks and the Gamecocks could certainly use the Holmes of old in the postseason.
A coach who has taken over for a legend and has had to deal with major obstacles in his first season, all while trying to impress a fan base whose expectations have gotten out of control. Plenty of fans have scrutinized his every move this year, despite leading his team to a top-four seed in a ridiculously competitive conference and doing so with a squad that has seen multiple key players go down with injuries.