FAYETTEVILLE, AR (WIS) - It was only two short months ago when South Carolina was reeling and searching for answers in hopes of securing a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Things were looking bleak. The first two weeks of April saw the Gamecocks drop five of eight games and two SEC series against on the road against Kentucky and Arkansas. Even their midweek loss to Presbyterian had fans questioning the fate of this USC squad with just weeks left to turn things around before the SEC Tournament. But they did.
"Everyone's just really tough in that locker room and we all believe in each other," said Gamecocks pitcher Cody Morris. "Nobody gave up when it was really bad. We just stuck together. This team's just really special."
Carolina went on to win five straight series and finish third in the SEC East heading into the regular season. The Gamecocks haven't let up much since dropping that series to Arkansas and, this weekend, they look to continue their successful play when they revisit Fayetteville to meet the Razorbacks.
"They know us and we know them," said Gamecocks head coach Mark Kingston. "It's just a matter of who plays the best baseball. I don't think there's any edge for either side in terms of having played four games together already."
While this series is, without question, the biggest series of the year for the Gamecocks, Kingston and his players have no intention of changing how they prepare or how they look at their best-of-three series against the SEC foe.
"You go about your business the same way you have all year," Kingston said. "You don't change things. You don't create new slogans at this point or new practice plans. You stay with what has gotten you here. You stay consistent. To me, that's what players want. They want consistency. They want to know what to expect. They want to be in a routine. So, we won't change anything about our routine this week."
Arkansas (42-18) is coming off a regional win that saw the Razorbacks take down Oral Roberts, Southern Miss, and Dallas Baptist. While the Hogs are playing some of their best baseball. Carolina understands they'll have to play just as well if they hope to make their 32nd College World Series appearances.
South Carolina and Arkansas begin Super Regional play on Saturday at 6:30 p.m.