South Carolina and Kent State will play their elimination game at 11 a.m. Thursday, setting up a likely doubleheader for the team that wins (playing Arkansas at 8 p.m.).
It was the best option because of the rainy weather, according to the two teams’ coaches. Both agreed that starting the game late Wednesday night — presumably continuing well past 1 a.m. even without additional delays — was not in the best interest of their players.
The rain started falling around 5:30 p.m. Wednesday. The tarp went on the field at around 5:45 p.m. The grounds crew did begin tending to the puddles pooling along the warning track and foul lines after 7 p.m., but the tarp was never removed.
The game was postponed just before 8:45 p.m.
South Carolina coach Ray Tanner said the initial thought, when the rain came, was that the game would be played Wednesday. “But then that other cell showed up on the radar. They were talking about a delay, maybe two delays. I think this is the best decision.”
Said Kent State coach Scott Stricklin: “Playing at midnight’s just not a very good option. That’s what we were looking at, starting the game at best at 10:30. Getting done at 1:30 (a.m.), then we’re getting back at the hotel at 2 a.m. … Just didn’t make a lot of sense to do it.”
As for pitching match-ups… Stricklin said Kent State will stick with Tyler Skulina, the sophomore right-hander who was set to throw Wednesday. South Carolina, slated to start lefty Jordan Montgomery, will reevaluate its lineup Wednesday night, according to Tanner.