South Carolina dropped yet another series Saturday to the Georgia Bulldogs. Once again, this series ended up feeling like another one Carolina should have won.
In game one, the Gamecocks allowed Georgia to rally back in the 9th inning (serious flashbacks to the Clemson game) to squeak by 3-2. In game two, Kingston decided to bring out Matthew Becker to close out the Bulldogs while Carolina was leading by 5 runs.
Although Kingston stated that Becker would see play time for game 3, he did not pitch once. Aidan Hunter took the start instead, and the Gamecocks lost the game 9-13.
Kington’s decision to play Becker in the 8th inning of game two was an abysmal decision to say the least. Kingston decided to sacrifice the series to guarantee a win in a game that was already looking very good.
I understand having confidence in your pitching by sending Aiden Hunter to start game 3, but how would you not have confidence in them to close out a game where they were already up 5 runs.
These decisions show a “play not to lose” mentality instead of a “play to win mentality.” It is not a winning mentality and it certainly is not a championship mentality.
Furthermore, how do you send out Becker to close in game two and not in game one? Carolina seemed to be in the driver’s seat for most of the contest. Had Becker closed out this game, I believe their chances of winning the series would have been a lot higher.
Sure, sending out a starter to close game one is a risk, especially if he is not able to get the job done, but sending him out to close a game you’re already up in by 5 runs is downright wasteful. The Gamecocks still put up 8 runs in game 3, but the pitching on Sunday was so atrocious that Carolina was kept out of the contest for virtually the entire game.
As I mentioned previously, our relievers have been a serious issue lately, and now Kingston doesn’t confidence in them. Injuries have killed us, but you’ve got to play for the series and not just a single win. Especially in your own ballpark.
Even if he decided to play Becker, I would argue he could have thrown him in later than he did. Perhaps if the game Saturday became a lot tighter than it was. Also, why did he not pitch at all Sunday?
We’ve reached a point in the season where one win in a three game series is not going to cut it if we want any shot at postseason play. So why is Kingston settling for it?
It felt as if South Carolina had a strong possibility to win this series yet they handed it over to Georgia. A scenario that is becoming more and more familiar.
Hats off to Noah Hall and Brandt Belk. Both players did everything in their power to set Carolina up for a series win. The team as a whole just couldn’t get it done this weekend.
South Carolina will play Ole Miss this weekend. Let’s all hope we don’t see the same mistakes.