Gamecocks, Chanticleers to reunite on diamond in 2014

Coastal Carolina baseball fans can circle March 26, 2014 on their calendars for a historic meeting with South Carolina.

The Chanticleers and Gamecocks will meet on the diamond on the date for the first time since their memorable showdown in the 2011 NCAA Super Regional at Pelicans Ballpark in Myrtle Beach. South Carolina claimed a pair of thrilling one-run games and advanced to win the College World Series.

Next year’s meeting may not be as meaningful but it is a big step for the CCU program, which had been blackballed from scheduling the in-state rival and national powerhouse. The March 26 mid-week meeting will be CCU’s first appearance at Carolina Stadium.

South Carolina unveiled the meeting Monday when it announced its 2014 schedule, which features 37 home games and 19 games against 2013 NCAA Tournament teams. The Gamecocks open the season on Friday, Feb. 14, hosting a three-game series vs. Bucknell.

South Carolina and Clemson will meet in a unique three-game setting for a fifth consecutive year. The series opens in Columbia on Friday, Feb. 28, with first pitch at 7 p.m. Saturday shifts to the Reedy River Rivalry game at Fluor Field, home of the Greenville Drive, a minor league affiliate of the Boston Red Sox. The series finale concludes on Sunday at Clemson.

South Carolina’s 30-game SEC slate begins Friday, Mar. 14, with Carolina hosting Ole Miss in the Rebels’ first visit to Columbia since the 2010 regular season. South Carolina also hosts Tennessee (Mar. 28-Mar. 30), Florida (April 11-13), Alabama (April 25-27) and Missouri (May 9-11). SEC three-game series opponents on the road are Kentucky (Mar. 21-23), Arkansas (April 4-6), Auburn (April 18-20), Georgia (May 2-4) and Vanderbilt (May 15-17).

Additional in-state contests for the Gamecocks include Charleston Southern, College of Charleston, Furman, Presbyterian, The Citadel, USC Upstate and Wofford.

The Gamecocks have played every program on the 2014 schedule at least once. South Carolina will meet Bucknell for the first time since the 2010 NCAA Regional opener that was a 9-5 South Carolina victory, the first postseason win for the Gamecocks on the way to the 2010 NCAA Division I Baseball Championship.

South Carolina will follow that series up with a three-game set against Eastern Kentucky. The Gamecocks defeated the Colonels 11-3 on Mar. 21, 1982, at Sarge Frye Field in the only previous contest. Stetson will come to South Carolina in early March for a pair of midweek games, the first appearance for the Hatters in Columbia since the 2011 NCAA Regional. South Carolina defeated Stetson twice to advance to the NCAA Super Regional en route to a second straight national title.

Brown is South Carolina’s final three-game series tune-up before SEC play. South Carolina swept Brown in three games in 2010 at Carolina Stadium. Appalachian State and Davidson round out the non-conference opponents for 2014.

The Gamecocks return seven position starters from a year ago. Returnees include junior infielder/outfielder Joey Pankake (.311-11-42), junior catcher Grayson Greiner (.298-4-38), junior outfielder Connor Bright (.288-4-22), junior outfielder Tanner English (.283-1-25), sophomore infielder Max Schrock (.282-6-39), junior first baseman Kyle Martin (.288-2-10) and senior designated hitter Brison Celek (.307-1-18).

Also back from last year’s weekend rotation is junior left-hander Jordan Montgomery (6-1, 1.48 ERA) and freshman left-hander Jack Wynkoop (7-3, 3.09 ERA). Greiner played this past summer for Team USA and was a 2013 second-team All-SEC selection. Schrock and Wynkoop both earned Freshman All-America honors.

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