COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - If you love baseball, head baseball coach Mark Kingston said ‘Opening Day’ are two magical words.
"Makes the hair on your arms stand up," added Kingston.
On Friday, Kingston eyes his first opening day victory in three tries with South Carolina. Starting pitcher Carmen Mlodzinski will play a vital role in securing one. Kingston wants to see his ace set the tone from the first pitch.
"When you have his stuff, when you're the Friday night guy in the SEC, you need to set the tone," said Kingston. "Set the tone with aggressiveness. Set the tone with your body language."
Last year on Opening Day, Mlodzinski faced 23 batters in 4-1/3 innings pitched. It’s that experience the redshirt sophomore will rely on to ready himself for the moment.
"Learned and a lot from last year and stuff like that on how to handle certain situations," said Mldozinski. "Stuff like that will help me out."
So will his summer ball experience in the Cape Cod Baseball League that restored confidence. He missed the majority of the 2019 Carolina season with a broken foot.
"He dominated," said Kingston. "That gave him new confidence he may never have had."
Carolina's ace appears poised to deliver in 2020. It all starts Friday with the first pitch of the season.
"The whole team is ready to go," added Mlodzinski.
"I love looking out in our stadium... like it is the Major League playoffs," said Kingston.
Game time between South Carolina and Holy Cross set for 4 p.m. at Founders Park on Feb. 14.