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’Hawks head south to face Gamecocks

By Daniel Taylor, For The Miami Student

Miami University baseball is gearing up for its trip to South Carolina for the first weekend series of the season against the University of South Carolina.

Miami manager Danny Hayden is ready for the matchup.

"I'm pumped," Hayden said. "I want to see who the tough guys on our team are."

South Carolina (7-3) enters the game ranked No. 10 in the nation.

The RedHawks (2-5) are coming off a 1-1 weekend trip to North Carolina, with the third game canceled.

Hayden said the team still needs to keep improving.

"There's really not a ton of positives," Hayden said. "We played sloppy in the loss and probably played even sloppier in the win."

Hayden said the biggest factor holding the team back right now is the mental aspect.

"We've got to convince ourselves that we're really good," Hayden said.

One of the bright spots for the RedHawks so far has been senior outfielder Matt Honchel.

"My prior three years I've kind of got off to slow starts," Honchel "Hopefully I can use this fast start and keep trucking through the season."

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Another weapon appeared last weekend in the form of sophomore second basemen Steve Sada, who went 3-4 in Saturday's win.

"He finds a way to try to help you win a game," Hayden said. "He brings the same kind of dirt-bag mentality to the field everyday."

Honchel is excited to get into a more consistent part of the schedule.

Starting Saturday, the team plays a traditional three-day weekend series the rest of the year.

"We'll have scouting reports on all of their pitchers," Honchel said. "We try to get that stuff for the tournaments, but it's just not the same."

The Gamecocks are coming off a bad series, losing two of three to rival Clemson. The lone 4-1 victory was sandwiched between an 11-4 loss and a 7-0 loss.

USC only managed four hits during Monday's 7-0 loss.

Senior outfielder Elliot Caldwell has been off to the hottest start on South Carolina. He is hitting .423 in his nine appearances.

The power for South Carolina has come from freshman outfielder Alex Destino and senior Connor Bright, who have two home runs each.

There are bright spots on the team, but they have not been as offensively powerful as expected. The team enters the weekend with a .274 batting average.

Junior Jack Wynkoop has been the best starter, going 2-1 in his three starts.

Overall, the team has had a solid start off of the mound they have a 3.34 earned run average.

South Carolina is coming off last season's trip to the regional round of the College World Series.

The weekend series starts with a 7 p.m. Friday first pitch. The two squads face off 4 p.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m.

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