The Citadel won two of three from rival College of Charleston over the weekend, but at a heavy cost that won't help the Bulldogs against third-ranked South Carolina tonight.
The Bulldogs will likely be without their starting centerfielder, their closer and the freshman pitcher who performed fairly well against the 26-5 Gamecocks on March 30 in Columbia.
"We're a little nicked up and banged up," said Bulldogs coach Fred Jordan, whose team takes a 12-20 record into the 7 p.m. game at Riley Park. "This game is a major obstacle for us."
Centerfielder Nick Orvin, who was 5 for 5 in Saturday's 17-14 victory over the Cougars, banged his shoulder against the outfield wall early in Sunday's 10-5 loss. Closer Drew Mahaffey twisted his lower leg while pitching in the same game. And freshman pitcher Bryce Hines has some tenderness in his shoulder coming off his last start, at Winthrop last week.
"We're going to hold out those three guys for sure," Jordan said.
Hines, from Hanahan High School, started the Bulldogs' 6-4 loss at USC two weeks ago, and shut out the Gamecocks for four innings. He could not get out of the fifth, however, and ended up allowing four runs on three hits and six walks in 4 1/3 innings.
With Hines out, Jordan will likely choose between right-hander T.J. Clarkson (1-2, 4.21 ERA) and lefty Logan Cribb (0-1, 4.70) to start the game.
"We don't decide until (Tuesday), but it will definitely be a bullpen situation," Jordan said. "And we're already thin there because of the amount of runs scored last weekend (against C of C). Our bullpen's had a workout already."
Senior Matt Talley pitched a complete game in a 6-2 win over the Cougars on Friday, but Jordan had to use nine pitchers in the last two games.
Without Orvin, who is batting .271 in the leadoff spot, Jordan will likely play freshman Hughston Armstrong (.214) in left field and Brad Felder (.226) in center.
Despite winning two of three from the Cougars, The Citadel actually slipped in the Southern Conference standings at 7-11, falling behind Appalachian State (6-9) in the race for the eighth and final spot in the SoCon Tournament.
That puts even more emphasis on the Bulldogs' last four SoCon series, starting this weekend at Furman.
The Gamecocks also will have to resist looking forward to the weekend; they host No. 1 Vanderbilt in a huge SEC East series. USC is expected to start junior lefty Steven Neff (2-0, 2.49) against the Bulldogs tonight.
Gamecock Club cookout
The Charleston County Gamecock Club will hold a cookout at Riley Park beginning at 6 p.m. on Doby's Deck. Admission is $15 for adults and $5 for children under 15. Tickets for the game must be purchased separately ($10 adults/$4 children).
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