USC baseball gears up

COLUMBIA – South Carolina’s baseball team will hold its final preseason scrimmages this weekend – at 4 p.m. Friday and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, all at Carolina Stadium.

The Gamecocks, who have won the past two national championships, open the season next Friday against Virginia Military Institute, at home at 3 p.m.

Before the game, USC will raise its 2011 national championship flag. Former players will return to throw out the first pitches, including second baseman Scott Wingo, the Most Outstanding Player of last year’s College World Series.

The season opener is the first of seven low-profile non-conference games USC plays before its first big game of the season – March 2 against rival Clemson at Joe Riley Park, at 6 p.m.

The Gamecocks are trying to become the second team in college baseball history to win three consecutive national championships. Southern California won five straight from 1970-74.