Mark Kingston delivers unfortunate news on Gavin Casas’ NCAA Tournament availability

South Carolina coach Mark Kingston announced Thursday afternoon that starting third baseman Gavin Casas will be out for the NCAA Tournament. Casas had surgery Thursday morning on his right hand to repair an injury he suffered in the SEC Tournament last week.

Casas, a senior from Pembroke Pines, Florida, injured his right hand in a win over Kentucky. The SEC Network reported that Casas broke his hamate bone.

That will leave the Gamecocks looking to shuffle the lineup ahead of playing James Madison on Friday at 2 p.m. in the Raleigh Regional of the NCAA Tournament.

Talmadge LeCroy started at third base for the bulk of the season before moving to shortstop to give South Carolina a more offensive-minded lineup. He could potentially move back to third base. Tyler Causey and Lee Ellis are two other options to man the hot corner.

Kingston said he’s decided on a starter at third but said he will not announce it until Friday when he turns in the lineup card.

“Tyler Causey will get a lot of work there this week. He’s an infielder with a lot of power,” Kingston said earlier in the week. “He’s played first, second and third. He’s played all those positions for he’ll get a lot of run there this week. When all is said and done, we’ll make the decision that makes the most sense.”

Starting pitchers. Kingston also announced at Thursday’s pre-tournament press conference that Eli Jones will start the opener. Jones was the Friday night starter earlier in the season. He has a 3-4 record with a 5.32 ERA in 16 appearances, 14 of which were starts. Jones has pitched 64.1 innings with 52 strikeouts and 19 walks.

James Madison will counter with RHP Todd Mozoki. He is 5-1 with a 6.80 ERA. He has pitched 47.2 innings this season with 42 strikeouts and 22 walks. He has allowed nine home runs.

Raleigh Regional schedule

Friday’s games

South Carolina (36-23) vs. James Madison (34-23), 2 p.m. (no TV, streaming on ESPN+)

N.C. State (33-20) vs. Bryant (36-19), 7 p.m. Friday (no TV, streaming on ESPN+)

Saturday’s games

Elimination game, noon (TV TBD, streaming on ESPN+)

Winner’s bracket game, 6 p.m. (TV TBD, streaming on ESPN+)

Sunday’s games

Elimination game, noon (TV TBD, streaming on ESPN+)

Winner’s bracket game, 6 p.m. (TV TBD, streaming on ESPN+)

Monday’s game

If necessary, TBD (TV TBD, streaming on ESPN+)