South Carolina concluded its second of six weekend scrimmages on Sunday afternoon at Carolina Stadium. First-year head coach Chad Holbrook spoke about where is team stands and who stood out in the three games.
Senior Nolan Belcher was one of the handful of standout performers on the mound during the second weekend of scrimmages
It seemed like the pitchers were a little bit ahead of last weekend…
That’s to be expected. Last weekend was more of a fastball, changeup-type deal. Our hitters got some good looks, didn’t have to worry about too many breaking balls, because we are going to be careful with our guys’ arms. The one thing I take away from this weekend on a positive note is how well Nolan Belcher threw, how well Jack Wynkoop threw, Curt Britt threw very well. Colby Holmes was a pro out there today. Tyler Webb was incredible and Joel Seddon had a great weekend. We had a number of guys who pitched really well. Some of the guys were young and some of the guys were old. I’m very encouraged by the depth of our pitching staff.
We had some guys have some good weekends offensively. We didn’t play very good defense this weekend, I didn’t think. We have to shore up this week and throughout the fall and clean some things up. We will. I’m not worried about our guys. I think LB made more errors today than he did in 30 SEC games last year. He also swung the bat well some. All in all, it was a great weekend. Friday we weren’t good. Saturday and Sunday we had a little bit more energy and a little more want-to. We played with a little more heightened awareness, but there are some things to be shored up for sure.
Are there any of the newcomers who are stepping up or is it too early?
It’s not too early. Max Schrock is a professional hitter. He’s going to hit. He may only be hitting .250 for the five scrimmages, but every ball, I think he’s going to hit every time he steps in the batters box. He gives the coach a comforting feeling. He’s just a good hitter. Graham Saiko is a pretty darn good offensive player. We have to find a place for him to play. He runs the bases well. We moved him to the outfield some this week. I think he actually likes it out there, too, and that might be a place - one of those corner spots - he plays quite a bit. Those are two new guys who have a chance to be in the lineup opening day.
DC (Arendas) had a better weekend this weekend. He played well, played better defense, and swung the bat well today. He swung the bat well yesterday, too. Anthony Paulsen a young kid who is going to be a good player for us. I thought he was a year or two away, still may be, but he’s impressive for a young guy. He needs to get stronger but he’s had some good at-bats. We’re encouraged by the young guys, but I feel very comfortable knowing we’ll put some older guys out on the field opening day as well.
Some of the things you wanted to emphasize this year - going the other way and stealing bases - have you seen the guys do a better job of that the first two weekends this year from where they were last year?
We’ve run the bases well. We’ve attempted a lot more steals this year and I just think it makes our pitchers better, makes our catches better, and you don’t learn how to run by not running. We’re going to run, we’re going to run into a few outs, but we hope to run into our outs in the fall and we figure it out by February. The guys are figuring it out. Joey was thrown out at third but he’s trying to learn how to do it. You don’t learn how to do it by getting good secondary (leads), you learn how to do it by trying to steal a base. I’m a believer in that. Our approach has been very good. Our strikeout to walk ratio is not terrible and it’ll continue to get better as we get more confident using the other side of the field.
Erik Payne swung the bat, he’s coming off an injury, and he swung the bat very well today. I think he had an extra base hit yesterday, too. We have to try to find him a spot. I don’t know where we can play him right yet, one, because of his injury and, two, I don’t know where he’s most comfortable. He should be good enough athlete to play a corner outfield spot or first base.
It seemed like one error would lead to another in the same inning …
No, we have good defensive players but we didn’t play good defense this weekend. Chase (Vergason) showed he is a very good defender. Joey (Pankake) had one error in the last, I don’t know, 30 games last year. He played good defense down the stretch. LB (Dantzler) didn’t make an error in conference play. I feel very good about - they say you’re going to be a good defensive team if you’re good up the middle - and I feel very good about our defense up the middle. Our catchers are very good defenders, Tanner (English) has shown he can go get the ball in the outfield, so I think the middle of our field, from a defensive standpoint, is pretty impressive. But you’ve got to go play and we didn’t perform necessarily that well this weekend but I have the utmost confidence we’ll be a good defensive team.
More baseball talk
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