South Carolina hosts the Manhattan Jaspers today at 4 at Carolina Stadium. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU. This is the first game of the NCAA regionals. Each regional consists of 4 teams playing a double elimination tournament. South Carolina is the 1-seed; Clemson is the 2-seed; Coastal Carolina is the 3-seed, and Manhattan is the 4-seed. 1 plays 4, and 2 plays 3. Then the winners play and the losers play.
Who are these Manhattan Jaspers? They're the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference tournament champions. They are right next to that Manhattan, but are actually located in the Bronx. They are 33-25 on the season, including 18-0 at home. They are 11-24 away and 4-1 at neutral sites.
Pitching? They are led by their ace, Senior submariner Taylor Sewitt. Sewitt is 11-1 with a 2.40 ERA. He almost single handedly won the conference tournament last weekend by winning 3 games while throwing 296 pitches over 22 scoreless innings. He started on Friday, threw 2 innings of relief on Saturday night, and then he threw 11 innings of relief on Sunday. That effort earned him National Player of the Week honors from Louisville Slugger.
Sewitt has struck out 83 against only 20 walks, and opponents are only batting .211 against him. The Jaspers will probably try to get a complete game out of him, but if they go to the bullpen, it will probably be Jacob Marchus. Marchus is the closer with 8 saves and a 1.31 ERA. He is the only reliever with a sub-4 ERA.
Batting? The Jaspers are led by centerfielder Anthony Vega who is batting .336 with 5 HR and 31 RBI. 2B Nick Camastro is the only other Jasper batting over .300. He is hitting .319 with 28 RBI. The power hitter in the line up is catcher Ramon Ortega who has 7 HR and a team-leading 51 RBI.
The Jaspers may try to run with Grayson Greiner's injury. Vega has stolen 32 bases in 35 attempts. Camastro has stolen 19 in 25 attempts. The rest of the team isn't as apt to run.
About the Gamecocks…South Carolina has decided to send Colby Holmes to the mound. Usually Michael Roth would be the Friday night starter, but Coach Ray Tanner thought the match-ups with Manhattan and either potential second round game dictated a Holmes start. Holmes has started several post season games and should be ready to go.
Starting catcher Grayson Greiner has a knee injury and will not be able to play this weekend. Dante Rosenberg will be replacing him. Rosenberg should be a familiar name for Gamecocks fans. Early in the season he relieved Greiner for several games. His back up is Erik Payne.
Since the current tournament format was introduced in 1999, here is how South Carolina has fared:
* South Carolina has made the tournament every year. This year will be the 14th year of the format.
* The Gamecocks have been awarded a national seed 5 times (including this year).
* The Gamecocks have won the regional 9/13 years. (.692).
* Of those 9 super-regional appearances, USC has won 5 of them.
* In 5 trips (10 overall) Carolina has won the national title twice.
* Currently, the Gamecocks have won 16 consecutive NCAA tournament games, a NCAA record.
* USC has also won 11 consecutive College World Series games.
* South Carolina is one of 4 teams to host regionals each of the last 3 years (Virginia, UCLA and Florida are the others).
* South Carolina is 8-0 in tournament games held in Carolina Stadium.
Get more great South Carolina analysis over at Leftover Hot Dog.