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2011 NCAA Columbia Super Regional Preview: UConn vs South Carolina

The Columbia Super Regionals features an underdog in UConn taking on the 2010 CWS Champion South Carolina. UConn is coming off four straight wins to grab the Clemson Regional after losing their opener to Coastal Carolina. South Carolina swept through their regional by defeating Georgia Southern and Stetson twice to advance to the Supers.

South Carolina (48-14)

Best Pitcher: Michael Roth (12-3, 1.10 ERA)
Best Hitter: Christian Walker (.361 BA, 9 HR, 58 RBI)

Strength: Bullpen is the biggest strength with the Gamecocks as they have five relievers with 20 or more appearances on the year.

Weakness: Injuries. The Gamecocks have been hampered with injuries all season with Jackie Bradley Jr missing this weekend’s series with a wrist injury and catcher Brady Thomas is fighting through a lower leg injury.

South Carolina will win if…they can either figure out how to beat Uconn’s Matt Barnes or hammer the Uconn pitching staff while overcoming a couple of the nagging injuries which are affecting the team.

South Carolina will lose if…Matt Barnes pitches well and the Gamecocks defense can slow down the Uconn running game.

Uconn (45-18-1)

Best Pitcher: Matt Barnes (11-4, 1.62 ERA)
Best Hitter: Mike Nemeth (.363 BA, 3 HR, 50 RBI)

Strength: Hitting. They are currently hitting .311 as a team led by senior 1B Mike Nemeth who is hitting .363 while 1st roundpick George Springer is right on his heels with a .350 batting average and 12 homers on the year.

Weakness: experience playing on the national stage. Uconn’s players and coaches are not used to the amount of media attention they will get this weekend in Columbia. They also will be playing in front of the largest crowd in recent history for Uconn baseball and 95 percent of the them will be cheering for the Gamecocks.

Uconn will win if…Matt Barnes and George Springer dominate the game like they can do at times. Matt Barnes has the ability to shutdown the S. Carolina offense while Springer can either make a great defensive play or hit a three run homer at a moment’s notice.

UConn will lose if…the crowd gets to them and the national TV appearance. They also need a quality start out of Matt Barnes or they have very little chance of winning the series.