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April 2010 Archives

Around the web: Morales feature

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morales-state.jpgFrom time to time, Spurs Up Blog will post stories from around the web about our student-athletes, our coaches, or our program that you need to read. The following are a couple about the Gamecock baseball program.

Morales gives Wingo - and team - a lift - GoGamecocks.com

Adrian Morales was expected to challenge starting second baseman Scott Wingo when he joined the South Carolina baseball team.

After Wingo struggled at the plate for the better part of two seasons, USC coach Ray Tanner was hoping Morales, a junior-college transfer from Miami Dade, would provide a push for Wingo.

The move has worked twice as well as expected.More

Gamecocks begin homestretch
Red-hot South Carolina hosts Alabama in another key SEC baseball series
By Travis Haney
The Post and Courier
Friday, April 30, 2010

With two SEC home series and 16 total games remaining, is it fair for South Carolina's baseball team to begin thinking about its postseason?

After all, the red-hot Gamecocks (32-8, 14-4 SEC) are currently in prime position to host their first NCAA regional since 2007 -- and, maybe, its first super regional since 2004. More




Dora & Diego At Saturday Baseball Game

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dora-diego2.jpgNickelodeon characters, Dora and Diego - brought to you by Time Warner Cable, will be at Carolina Stadium on Saturday, May 1st. The characters will be interacting with fans around the stadium and posing for pictures throughout the game.

In addition, the Little Gym of Columbia will be at Carolina Stadium on Saturday, May 1st. Make sure to stop by their display for a chance to win free classes at the Little Gym for your Junior Gamecock.
Blakely Mattern actionThe Athletics Department held its annual Gamecock Gala Monday where student-athletes were presented with awards and honors voted on throughout the department. The big winner of the night was women's soccer senior Blakely Mattern, who was named Female Athlete of the Year, The President's Award winner and an SEC McWhorter Scholarship recipient.

In being named Female Athlete of the Year, Mattern became the first person to ever win the award twice in her Gamecock career. She also earned the honor at the 2008 Gala. In winning three awards Monday night, Mattern also joined elite company as the second person and first woman to earn three awards at one Gala (not including being named a Team MVP). The other person to achieve this feat was men's tennis athlete Tom Eklund who won three awards in 2006. That season, Eklund was named Scholar Athlete of the Year, earned the Gamecock Inspiration Award and was awarded the McWhorter Scholarship as well.

Cocky's Baseball Skit

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For those of you that have been to a Gamecock baseball game this year you have seen the developing feud between Cocky and the stadium DJ. For those that haven't, take a look at the video below as the DJ continues to try and trip up Cocky and his dance routine. Of course, Cocky's feathers are not ruffled and he takes the song-switching in stride.

See Cocky in action this weekend as the Gamecocks host Alabama for a three game series starting Friday at 7 PM. Tickets are still available by clicking here or calling 800-4SC-FANS





Smoak's First Big League Hit - Video

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Last week, former South Carolina baseball player Justin Smoak was called up to the Major Leagues by the Texas Rangers. Below are a few Smoak video clips you might want to check out.

First Big League Hit
MLB Debut
Smoak On Getting the Call
Justin Smoak video page on mlb.com

And don't forget, the Gamecock baseball team returns to Carolina Stadium this weekend against Alabama. Tickets are going fast, click here to order yours today or call 800-4SC-FANS.


The Week Ahead for the Garnet and Black

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Monday

7:00 p.m.: Inside the Roost at Staybridge Suites on Huger St. in Columbia


Tuesday

6:30 p.m.: Union Gamecock Club Spring Meeting hosted by the Gamecock Club at the USC-Union Truluck Gym


Wednesday

7:00 p.m.: Sumter Gamecock Club Spring Meeting hosted by the Gamecock Club at the USC Sumter Nettles Gym.


Thursday

7:00 p.m.: Florence Gamecock Club Spring Meeting hosted by the Gamecock Club. The location will be announced later this week.


Friday

7:00 p.m.: Baseball hosts Alabama in Columbia, SC at Carolina Stadium.


Saturday

1:00 p.m.: Baseball continues the series against Alabama at Carolina Stadium.


Sunday

1:30 p.m.: Baseball closes out the series against Alabama at Carolina Stadium.

Tanner recognized for milestone victories

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hyman-tanner.jpgAt last Wednesday's All-Staff meeting, Athletics Director Eric Hyman presented Coach Ray Tanner with two baseball bats... one recognizing Coach Tanner's 600th win as South Carolina's coach, and a second bat recognizing his 1,000th career overall win.
The Gamecock baseball team had a fantastic weekend by sweeping the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens, Georgia and moving into sole possession of first place in the SEC.

A couple of links you need to see:

Sunday, Neil White from thestate.com wrote USC pitchers have right stuff in '10.

South Carolina Baseball Notebook

Gamecock Outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. Invited To USA Baseball Collegiate National Team Trials

NFL Draft Coverage; Highlight videos

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Defensive standouts Eric Norwood and Clifton Geathers were both drafted during the 2010 NFL Draft held last week. Norwood went to the Carolina Panthers in the 4th Round while Geathers was drafted by the Cleveland Browns in the 6th round.

Below are a few articles from around the web plus a highlight video of each draftee.

Eric Norwood

Norwood lands in Carolina, calls it 'a great fit' - Thestate.com
Audio Interview - Panthers.com
Draft Coverage - Panthers.com
Panthers pick Norwood, South Carolina linebacker - CharlotteObserver.com





Clifton Geathers

Geathers goes to the Cleveland Browns - Thestate.com
Carvers Bay graduate, USC player Clifton Geathers goes to Browns - thesunnews.com
Clifton Geathers transcript - ClevelandBrowns.com
Browns take DE Geathers at No. 186 - ClevelandBrowns.com


General May visits Gamecock football

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Thumbnail image for May.JPGGeneral Bradley May spoke to the Gamecock football team and presented head coach Steve Spurrier with a certificate of appreciation in recognition of the Gamecocks support of the Wounded Warrior Project.









May-Spurrier.JPG

NCAA Tournament Expansion

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ncaa.jpgFull release from the NCAA is below:

INDIANAPOLIS--- The NCAA today announced a new 14-year television, internet and wireless rights agreement with CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., to present the Division I Men's Basketball Championship beginning in 2011 through 2024 for more than $10.8 billion. As part of the agreement, all games will be shown live across four national networks beginning in 2011 - a first for the 73-year old championship.

Additionally, CBS Sports and Turner Broadcasting have been licensed and will collaborate on the NCAA's corporate marketing program.   

Late Wednesday, the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Committee unanimously passed a recommendation to the Division I Board of Directors to increase tournament field size to 68 teams beginning with the 2011 Championship. The recommendation will be reviewed by the Division I Board of Directors at its April 29 meeting.
 
The new agreement sustains the long-term financial stability of the Association.  As with the current contract, approximately 96 percent of the revenue generated from this new agreement will be used to benefit student-athletes through either programs, services or direct distribution to member conferences and schools. Further, the agreement ensures student-athletes across all three NCAA divisions will continue to be supported in a broad range of championship opportunities, access to funds for personal and educational needs, and through scholarships in Divisions I and II.

Beginning with the 2011 championship, opening- , first- and second-round games will be shown nationally on CBS, TBS, TNT and truTV.  CBS and Turner will split coverage of the regional semi-final games.  CBS will provide coverage of the regional finals, as well as the Final Four® including the National Championship Game through 2015. Beginning in 2016, coverage of the regional finals will be split by CBS and Turner with the Final Four and the National Championship game alternating every year between the CBS Television Network and Turner's TBS.

CBS Sports has broadcast the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship since 1982. This year's broadcast of the Championship game earned an average national household rating/share of 14.2/23, up 31% from a 10.8/18 last year, the highest rating in five years.

Under the new rights agreement, NCAA March Madness on Demand®, the Emmy Award-winning video player that provides live streaming video of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship, will continue to be launched from NCAA.com and CBSSports.com.  Turner has also secured the rights for any Time Warner digital property. The player will be operated and developed by Turner and have enhanced digital rights allowing the NCAA to deliver content for multiple Turner and Time Warner platforms.
 
"This is an important day for intercollegiate athletics and the 400,000 student-athletes who compete in NCAA sports," said NCAA Interim President Jim Isch. "This agreement will provide on average more than $740 million annually to our conferences and member schools to help student-athletes in 23 sports learn and compete."

"We're excited this agreement continues our long-standing relationship with CBS, a partner company that has captured the unique spirit of the collegiate model of athletics, and brings a new partner in Turner Broadcasting to the Championship and NCAA basketball," added Isch.

"This agreement with our colleagues at Turner and the NCAA secures CBS's standing as a year-round leader in sports television well into the next decade," said Sean McManus, president of CBS News and Sports. 

"In this agreement, we have created a new strategic partnership that not only makes this prestigious property an ongoing core asset in our stable of major television events, but a profitable one as well.  We look forward to working with our friends at Turner as together we combine our industry-leading media assets to maximize the value of this great NCAA Championship."

"This is a landmark deal for Turner Broadcasting and we're extremely pleased to begin a long-term relationship with the NCAA and our partners at CBS and to have a commitment that extends well into the next decade," said David Levy, president of sales, distribution and sports, Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. "The NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament has a rich tradition and is one of the most talked about sporting events every year highlighted by the Final Four and the National Championship Game."
 
"We are well-positioned to monetize our investment in NCAA programming across three nationally distributed networks.  With the combined linear and digital assets of these two large media companies we'll be able to maximize the exposure of the Tournament, as well as provide incomparable access for viewers. "

Moving forward under the new contract, a committee headed by Harvey Perlman, University of Nebraska-Lincoln chancellor, will study and recommend prospective revenue distribution formulas to the Division I Board of Directors. Under the current contract, 96 percent of all NCAA revenue is returned to membership either in direct payments or in programs and services. The committee will follow principles of the current formula that ensure access to funds by student-athletes for educational, personal and emergency needs; that favor a broad-based approach to sports sponsorship; that continue to encourage more grants-in-aid rather than less; and that promote enhanced academic support of student-athletes.

Additionally, given the NCAA emphasis on academic reform, the committee will examine the need to strike a balance between Division I men's basketball championship performance and academic achievement through either the NCAA's Academic Progress Rate or Graduation Success Rate metrics or both.

ESPN, the long-standing home for NCAA Championships such as the Division I Women's Basketball Championship, College World Series, Frozen Four and others, will continue to broadcast a full complement of events over the coming years as well.
 
"The economic challenges of the day are being felt on campuses across the country. The amount of revenue from this agreement isn't the focus of this moment, rather it is the long-term security it provides as well as what is done with the money. We put our money where our mission is...supporting student-athletes so they can be successful in the classroom and in life," said Isch.


About the NCAA
The NCAA® is a membership-led nonprofit association of colleges and universities committed to supporting academic and athletics opportunities for more than 400,000 student-athletes at more than 1,000 member colleges and universities. Each year, more than 54,000 student-athletes compete in NCAA Championships in Divisions I, II and III sports. Visit NCAA.org and NCAA.com for more details about the Association, its goals and members and corporate partnerships that help support programs for student-athletes. The NCAA is proud to have the following elite companies as official Corporate Champions -- AT&T, Capital One and Coca-Cola -- and the following elite companies as official Corporate Partners -- Enterprise, The Hartford, Hershey's, LG, Lowe's, Planters, State Farm and UPS.

About CBS Sports
CBS Sports, a year-round leader in television sports, broadcasts a portfolio of events on the CBS Television Network, including the NFL's American Football Conference; THE NFL TODAY; college basketball, including the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship; golf, including The Masters® and PGA Championship; college football, including the SEC ON CBS; the U.S. Open Tennis Championships; CBS SPORTS SPECTACULAR, including track & field, auto racing and gymnastics.  In addition, the division directs the CBS College Sports Network, a 24-hour national cable network; produces Inside the NFL for Showtime; and partners with CBS Sports.com in creating a recognized leader among sports Internet destinations.
 

About Turner Broadcasting System, Inc.,
Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., a Time Warner company, creates and programs branded news, entertainment, animation and young adult media environments on television and other platforms for consumers around the world.  Turner Sports, a division of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., presents some of the best and most popular sporting events worldwide and is a leader in televised and online sports programming.  With events airing on TBS and TNT, Turner Sports' television line-up includes coverage of NASCAR, the NBA, MLB and professional golf. The division's digital portfolio consists of NASCAR.COM, PGATOUR.COM and PGA.com.  In addition, Turner Sports and the NBA also jointly manage NBA Digital, which includes NBA TV, NBA.com, NBA League Pass, NBADLeague.com and WNBA.com. 
 
Former catcher Landon Powell is back in the big leagues as he was called up by the Oakland Athletics last night.  Powell is one of three former Gamecocks in MLB right now along with Adam Everett (Tigers) and Brian Roberts (Orioles).

Former first baseman Justin Smoak is off to a hot start at Triple-A in Oklahoma City for the Texas Rangers.  Smoak is batting .326 (15-for-46) with a pair of homers and five RBI.  He has also walked 16 times to just six strikeouts and owns a .500 on-base percentage.  Smoak was also recently featured in Buster Olney's MLB blog on ESPN.com.

Another former first baseman, Steve Pearce, has also been on a tear at Triple-A in Indianapolis for the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Pearce, who has spent some time in "The Show," is batting .404 (21-for-52) with a pair of homers and six RBI as well as eight doubles and two triples.

Senior Dessert and Ring Ceremony

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As the 2009-10 academic year comes to a close, so do the college athletic careers of the class of 2010. Last night senior student-athletes gathered in the Frank McGuire Room at Colonial Life Arena for their Senior Dessert and Ring Ceremony.

The student-athletes spent the first part of the evening sitting at tables eating their ice cream and discussing their college careers, favorite college moments and future plans.

"It's always really fun to hang out with my senior girls," equestrian Carly Babcock said. "I'm really excited to celebrate the last four years we've had together."

Senior pole vaulter Vica Shobe talked about how the senior ring ceremony represents one more step toward graduation, but went on to say how much she will miss her teammates and her college team experiences.

"I want to go on with track, and I want to continue to pole vault," Shobe said. "You don't get the close-knit feeling when you are running professionally like you do on a college team."

Several of the student-athletes mentioned that in their years as Gamecocks they were able to make South Carolina their home. Being a student-athlete for the last four years has created a bond and family-like mentality among the student-athletes that they know they will always be able to return to. Their friends and teammates that sat beside them last night will still be their friends and teammates in the years to come.

Athletics Director Eric Hyman opened the senior ring ceremony by pointing out that receiving a senior ring marks the culmination of a long journey. The senior ring for student-athletes is a gift of appreciation from the University, a thank you for contributing to the athletic program and working so hard for the University of South Carolina. 

"The reason we give them rings is because we are so proud of the way they have represented the University," Hyman said after the ceremony. "Obviously they come in here very young, and they leave as young women and young men. It's so exciting to see them finish up and to be so close to graduation".

Student-athletes listened intently as Hyman, W.J. Jordan, President of the South Carolina Association of Letterman, Aaron Lucas, Assistant Director for the Gamecock Club, and Moe Brown, senior football player all spoke and offered appreciation and advice to the graduating student-athletes.

After the ceremony Brown said, "The ring ceremony was great. It was marking the end of a great career here. It's kind of a bittersweet feeling. Bitter in that I don't want to leave because these have been some of the best four years of my life and probably will be the best four years of my life. The sweet part is you're about to close that chapter and move on to the next one. Being a competitor you always want to see the next challenge. I'm looking forward to it."

All of the student-athletes shared Brown's feelings as they closed the chapter of collegiate athletics in their lives. Everyone admired their rings as they posed for a final picture together as a senior class and left as a close-knit group of friends, knowing that they will always be able to look at their rings and appreciate the journey that led them to wear the Garnet and Black and call the University of South Carolina their home.

Baseball stories and the "cat" video

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After a 4-2 victory last night over USC Upstate, the Gamecock baseball team improved to 29-8 on the season. Next up Carolina heads on the road to face Georgia this weekend in a three-game series beginning on Friday at 6:30 p.m. in Athens.Listen live online by clicking here or on the ISP Radio Network.

Below are a couple of articles on the South Carolina baseball team and one video you need to watch if you didn't see it live last weekend.


No stars, no problem for USC - Neil White from The State

Despite a different formula, Tanner's Gamecocks keep on winning - Brad Senkiw from IndependentMail.com

One-on-one with South Carolina's Ray Tanner - Kendall Rogers with Yahoo Sports

And finally, below is video from the April 16th game when a cat got loose on the field. Carolina went on to defeat Ole Miss 5-0.


Happy Birthday Coach Spurrier

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On April 20, Steve Spurrier turned 65 years young. Below are a couple of articles that get into how he is feeling, his workout regimen, and his expectations for the Gamecocks.

Spurrier: I feel better now than I did when I was 45 - Travis Haney; The Post and Courier

Spurrier 65 and still going strong - Joe Person; The State
In the annual publications contest run by the College Sports Information Directors of America, the 2009 South Carolina Football Media Guide was judged best in the nation. Director of Media Relations Steve Fink and his staff all contributed to the production of the book with Assistant Media Relations Director Emily Feeney taking the lead in working on the major graphic elements of the book. Wes Todd, another Assistant Media Relations Director, worked with Fink on the records section while Fink produced a majority of the written biographies and notes.

While the Media Relations staff has won awards in the past including best media guide in women's tennis and women's basketball, this is the first award received for the 2009-10 year. 

Photos of New Football Lounge

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Thumbnail image for Lounge 6 4-12-10.JPGBelow is an excerpt from an email sent by Athletics Director Eric Hyman concerning the new football recruiting room.

----

I wanted to share with you some pictures of the football recruiting room and players lounge.  The room is about 95% complete and everyone is tremendously excited about it.  It will not really be in "use" until after the football locker room project is finished this summer.  But in the meantime...football recruits will be shown the commitment  South Carolina is making toward having a program that battles for championships.
 
I hope you enjoy the progress being made on our athletics facilities.



Q & A with Coach Early

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GamecocksOnline.com caught up with Orlando Early after joining Coach Horn's staff as assistant coach.

1) What is it that brought you to South Carolina?

It's the direction Coach Horn has the program going. He has a lot of energy and a lot of passion for the game of basketball. We have a lot of the same core values. I've known him over the years and to have the opportunity to join him is tremendous for me.


2) You've coached in the SEC before. What is this conference like?

It's a very good basketball conference. I think it's a little underrated in terms of basketball on both sides. I've coached as an assistant in the West (at Alabama) and know how good some of the teams in the West are. Now to come to the East, the East has a stronger basketball reputation so it's a very good league and competitive league. It's a great challenge.


3) When in your life did you know that you were going to be a coach?

I think it was probably in high school when I really started to think I wanted to get into coaching. I think I veered off that path. I went to college at Gardner-Webb University, played there and got an accounting degree. Then eventually my heart led me back to basketball.


4) You've worked at great places like Gardner-Webb, Charlotte, Western Carolina and UL-Monroe. Who are some of your coaching mentors?

I have to say Bobby Lutz who I worked for at Charlotte was an unbelievable coach. He was the all-time winningest coach in the school's history. Mark Gottfried who I was fortunate to work for at Alabama (was one). His record is tremendous. He won a national championship at UCLA as an assistant and had Alabama ranked No. 1, the only time in the school's history to be ranked No. 1. We made it to the Elite Eight, a game away from the Final Four. Phil Hopkins and Thad Matta I worked with at Western Carolina. They were unbelievable guys to be around and work for. Thad went on to be the head coach at Ohio State, and he's doing a tremendous job there. Then the peripheral guys that I hadn't worked for but had an opportunity to talk to and be around, one is Jim Harrick through my relationship with Mark Gottfried, and Wimp Sanderson through my time at Alabama. All those guys are very close to me, and I was able to pick up a lot from those guys.






5) In your first year at ULM, Katrina struck the state. Being there, was it difficult seeing what the state of Louisiana was going through?

It was a very difficult time. At that time I had three guys on my team from New Orleans and one assistant coach who lost everything. It's kind of hard to explain without actually being there and seeing what the people, the state and the city of New Orleans were going through. It's still not totally back after all this time. It was a very difficult time, but I was proud to see how the city and our players came together to try to get things back to normal.


6) Did you have any nicknames as a player?

I didn't have a nickname as a player. I have a nickname in general. My entire family calls me "Duke". It's funny, when you're around my family, "Orlando" never comes out. It's always Duke.

(Where did that nickname come from?)

I have no idea. It just came up.


7) Most memorable moment as a player.

This is sad to say because I cannot remember the year, but we won the championship one year. I believe it was my sophomore year. I was never a great player in college. I enjoyed playing and played with some great teammates. One of my best friends in life is from McBee, South Carolina, Darrin Sanders, who was the starting point guard ahead of me. He was a great player. The thing that I cherish most outside of winning that championship are just the relationships that I built from playing with those guys.


8) Most memorable moment as a coach.

There's a ton of them. It's funny, in basketball and I learned this once I became a head coach, you're only as good as your last game.  But there are a lot of things. Obviously at Alabama going to the Elite Eight was big. At Western Carolina going to the first ever NCAA Tournament was huge. Being a 16 seed, playing Purdue and having a shot to beat them at the buzzer, we missed it, but there's a ton of memorable moments. Hopefully over the next few years we can create some more at the University of South Carolina.




9) Anything you want to say to the Gamecock fans?

I just want to say I'm very excited about being here. I'm excited about the opportunity that Coach Horn has given me. I can see the blueprint he has for his program. He's building his program to get to a championship level. From talking to him and hearing Mr. Hyman's vision for the athletic department in general and Coach Horn's values, all those aspects match with what I want to do. I want to come aboard and do whatever it takes within our program to help us get to where we can be a championship caliber team.

DeMars Calls Time on Career

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The South Carolina men's tennis team completed their regular season schedule on Saturday on the road at Florida. After the conclusion of the SEC Tournament, head coach Kent DeMars will see his final season at the helm of the program come to an end. Throughout his 37-year career at the collegiate level, DeMars has coached more than 57 All-Americans, an Olympic Gold Medalist Doubles team, as well as former Wimbledon, French Open, U.S. Open and Davis Cup Champions. He was selected the National Coach of the Year in 1989. In May, DeMars will be inducted into the Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame.

Ron Morris of The State recently wrote a story about Coach DeMars' career - click here to read "Charmed life for USC's DeMars."

We spent some time recently with Coach DeMars and asked him about his legacy as a head coach and what he plans to do with his newfound free time.

Spurs Up: What kind of emotions did you feel during your last home weekend? Does it feel bittersweet?

You're so taken up with the matches and you're so busy with everything, it almost wasn't enough time to reflect on the moment. In the back of my mind, I knew it was the last match there, but I haven't really dwelled on it much. We were concerned with the rankings and we've got signing period upcoming, so it's probably good. I think after SECs is when I'll be able to take a breath. I've had a lot of people call and chat about things and so it makes you reflect on stuff. I still have to figure out what I'm going to do with all my stuff. Things will be pretty busy until June.

I'm looking forward to it. I set this in motion three years ago. I spoke with Eric [Hyman] and told him I wanted to give him time to do what he needed to do. I'm 66 years old and I've told people before I don't want to do what JoePa is doing at Penn State. I don't want to go from the gridiron to the nursing home. I'd like there to be a little bit of time in between and use these legs to travel and ski and do things I'd like to do that I haven't been able to do. My golf clubs have quite a few cobwebs on them. I have a new grandchild who will be 1 year old in May and I haven't had the time I'd like to spend with her. It will be nice to be able to set my own agenda. I will miss it but in a way I won't because I've really geared up for this. I haven't really done anything different now than I've done thirty years ago.

What have been some of the most rewarding parts of your career as a coach?

There's a lot of different things. When we went to the semifinals of the NCAAs as a team was an unbelievable highlight and we got the 3rd place national championship trophy. That same year, I was named the National Coach of the Year. I was flown to the U.S. Open and honored at Center Court right before Becker played Lendl. That was a special week and a half where we had the team thing and then the individual accomplishment. I had a player, Guillame Legat, reach the semis of the national tournament so there were a lot of neat matches there. Individual matches like the one year that UCLA was No. 1 in the country and we beat them in the quarterfinals of the national indoors in a very close match. That was a team that it was the only match they lost all year.

Over the course of your career, what are some things you've always tried to instill in your players? What are some things you'd want your players to remember about you?

I really try to take pressure off people. I think pressure is the thing that destroys you whether you're shooting a free throw or anything in sports. If you can be happy with doing the best you can, I think that's the secret. People put so much pressure on themselves to do well and do better. You just have to look in the mirror and be able to say "I tried my best." If I have to go play Roger Federer, can I really evaluate how I played based on winning and losing? No, because I'm going to lose, but I can still try my best. So many people are only happy with winning. The real good ones are able to internalize the pressure and not be so upset whether they win or lose this point.

More than anything else, I don't have a high energy, shouting style. I just try to get people to buy in to what we need to do. I also want to see my players have balance. I want my players to do well in academics and I want them to have somewhat of a social life. I think they realize they can make a mistake and realize that I'm on their side. I think maybe they'd see me as a second father to them where they develop a certain pride for their university, their team, their friends and family. Hopefully, I instilled that pride in them. I would just like to see us do the best they can down to the last day.

What does induction into the Hall of Fame mean to you as a coach and individual?

That's something your peers have a chance to evaluate what you do and it's really a special moment. I don't go too much into that. I let my actions speak and I don't need a award for that, but it will be a special time. A lot of coaches will be there and my family will come and it will be a neat moment. If you're a tennis coach, it's the top award you can get so it's certainly special. I did what I did and made a lot of good friends and that's good enough for me.

What are your plans for the first thing you'll do when you're officially done?

I've left the slate clean on purpose. I have a page in this notebook of my bucket list. I just wanted to get out and decompress for a bit. There's a lot of things I'd like to do. I've never taken a cruise and I have little hobbies like golf, fishing and skiing and I want to do some visiting. I want to spend some time with my grandchild. I didn't set up a cruise at such and such time. I have a home in the Ozarks and my family will come and spend some time with me this summer. I haven't really set up a whole bunch of things, but it will be fun.

Do you plan to stay in the Columbia area?

Both my daughters live here and I think it will be fun. I'm a huge Gamecock fan and I'll be here for every home football game. I'll attend some basketball games and baseball. I'll go to swimming and other sports as well. I'll go to the tennis matches and I think it will be fun just to sit as a spectator and not have a lot of pressure and worry about things. It will be nice to relax.

 

Coach Horn on Inside the Roost Tonight

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Tune to 107.5 FM tonight for "Inside the Roost"  at 7 PM with host Derek Scott from Staybridge Suites on Huger Street in Columbia.

Tonight's guests are Head Men's Basketball Coach Darrin Horn and General Manager of ISP Sports Liz McMillan. You can also listen live on www.1075thegame.com.

If you've got a question you'd like to ask on the show, send an e-mail to roost@ispsports.com, call locally at 404-6100 or 1-866-667-1075. You can also submit your question in the comments section of this post and we'll get it over.

Softball Alumni Weekend

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It was a memorable day at Beckham Field as twenty-eight softball alumni returned to be recognized in between the Gamecocks' double-header Saturday afternoon against Mississippi State. Each former Gamecock was given a shirt with her old number printed on the back to commemorate the day. Current players joined fans in applauding the alumni during a special recognition ceremony.

The day was described by Nancy Crane, 2000-04 center fielder, as a "very surreal" experience. Crane stated that the day brought back, "a lot of emotional things, and a lot of amazing memories." Danielle Quinones, 1999-03 catcher and third baseman, agreed with her former teammate. "Literally, coming in you can remember a hundred stories from practice, to running, to games. It's like I was here yesterday," said Quinones. Carrie Elliot, 1995-98 catcher, described the day as "bittersweet."

 "I always love to come back and see the people that I played with and the people that coached me and made me the person that I am today. I mean, everybody here, especially Joyce Compton has formed me as a person, as a mom, as a nurse, as a softball player. I'm forever grateful," said Elliot.

The alumni have seen a lot of great changes in the program over the years from the stadium to the uniforms. "They're probably the best dressed team in the country," said Quinones.

Even though Gamecock Softball continues to evolve, the one thing that has affected the alumni the most remains the same - the coach.

"Playing softball for four years under Joyce Compton was the best thing that ever happened to me," said Elliot who was also a member of the 1997 team that won the SEC regular season and tournament championships. Coach Joyce Compton is in her 24th season with the Gamecocks, and continues to be an influential part of her players' lives. "Honestly, playing under Joyce Compton was my favorite memory here," said Quinones.

 

The Week Ahead for the Garnet and Black

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Monday

7 p.m. Listen to Inside the Roost with host Derek Scott and Athletics Director Eric Hyman live from Staybridge Suites on Huger Street in Columbia. The show is broadcast on 107.5 FM or www.1075thegame.com and features discussions on current issues and Interviews with coaches and athletics department staff.

Tuesday

7 p.m. Baseball hosts USC Upstate at Carolina Stadium.

Wednesday

6 p.m. Softball hosts Coastal Carolina at Beckham Field for Head Coach Joyce Compton's final game. Kids Run the Bases after the game! Cocky's Inflatable Bounce House will also be there. 

Diamond Dish: Rebel Arms Challenge

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SEC SeriesOleMiss.jpgHow to Follow the Series

Radio: 107.5 FM (Gamecock ISP Sports Network)
Web: Friday Live Stats, Saturday Live Stats, Sunday Live Stats
Television: Friday - SportSouth / Saturday - SportSouth
All-Access:
Listen to the live broadcast of all three games on GamecocksOnline.com with an All-Access package - available for just $9.95 per month. Click here to order.
Twitter: @GamecockBasebll

Series Numbers

-South Carolina leads the all-time series between the schools 27-17
-The Gamecocks have won the last two series, winning two of three in Oxford last year and two of three in Columbia in 2008.
-In the series opener last year, Whit Merrifield had a career day at the plate going 5-for-6 and Justin Dalles went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBI as South Carolina defeated Ole Miss 12-10. Carolina tagged Ole Miss starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz in the first two innings and jumped out to a 9-2 lead on the Rebels. Pomeranz lasted only 1.2 innings and allowed nine runs, four earned, on seven hits with two strikeouts and one walk.

Last Weekend

South Carolina @ Vanderbilt: Friday: 3-2 W; Saturday: 2-8 L; Sunday 2-0 W

Ole Miss @ Georgia: Friday: 4-1 W; Saturday: 4-3 W; Sunday: 3-6 L


Probable Starting Pitchers


Friday
South Carolina: Blake Cooper (Sr. RHP) 6-0, 2.85 ERA, 53.2 IP, 20 BB, 47 SO
Ole Miss: Drew Pomeranz (Jr. LHP) 6-0, 1.57 ERA, 51.2 IP, 20 BB, 80 SO


Saturday
South Carolina: Sam Dyson (Jr. RHP) 2-2, 5.87 ERA, 38.1 IP, 6 BB, 42 SO
Ole Miss: Austin Barrett (Sr. RHP) 6-1, 1.90 ERA, 52.0 IP, 21 BB, 63 SO

Sunday
South Carolina: Jay Brown (Sr. RHP) 2-0, 2.84 ERA, 25.1 IP, 10 BB, 22 SO
Ole Miss: TBA


Team Notes & Numbers

-South Carolina is tied for the lead in league play with Arkansas and one game ahead of Florida in the SEC Eastern Division. The Gamecocks are the only SEC squad to have won all four of its conference series and have won seven consecutive SEC series dating back to 2009.
-The Gamecock pitching staff leads the SEC in opposing batting average with opponents batting just .217 for the season and also leads the league with 319 strikeouts. The staff ranks second in the league in ERA (3.42) and owns five shutouts on the year as well.
-The Gamecocks are batting .293 (330-for-1127) for the season with a .395 on-base percentage and .466 slugging percentage.
-Whit Merrifield is the only Gamecock player to have started all 33 games and is batting .341 (47-for-138) with seven HR and 24 RBI. He has a .414 on-base percentage and a .551 slugging percentage.
-With the 2-0 win at Vanderbilt on Sunday afternoon, head coach Ray Tanner tallied his 1000th career victory. He is the fourth fastest active coach to tally 1,000 Division I victories in games played (Tanner is 1,001-446-3 in Division I, .691 winning percentage). He is 606-273 in 14 years at South Carolina (.689).

What's Happening in the SEC This Weekend

-Georgia (11-22, 3-9) @ Arkansas (28-6, 9-3)

-Auburn (23-11, 7-5) @ Vanderbilt (27-8, 6-6)

-Tennessee (17-17, 3-9) @ Mississippi State (17-16, 3-9)

-Alabama (22-12, 5-7) @ LSU (27-6, 8-4)

-Florida (23-9, 8-4) @ Kentucky (21-12, 4-8)

New MBB Assistant on 107.5 FM Tonight

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Men's basketball head coach Darrin Horn and new assistant coach Orlando Early will be live on 107.5 FM tonight at 6:05 p.m. You can also listen live on www.1075thegame.com.

Early was announced this afternoon as a new member of the men's basketball staff.

Vote for AgSouth Athlete of the Year

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Throughout the school year, Gamecock student-athletes were selected by the athletics department as AgSouth Athletes of the Week for their outstanding athletic accomplishments.

Based on those weekly winners, it's now up to the fans to vote for the 2009-10 AgSouth Athletes of the Year. A male and female student-athlete will be honored based on the votes at the April 30 baseball game versus Alabama at 7 p.m. Voting ends April 27 at 5 p.m. ET.

Click here to place your vote for the 2009-2010 AgSouth Athlete of the Year. 

Pitcher's Duel on Tap for Friday

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Settle into your seats early on Friday night at Carolina Stadium as two of the SEC's best pitchers will face off to open the weekend series between the Gamecocks and the Ole Miss Rebels. South Carolina's Blake Cooper and Ole Miss' Drew Pomeranz will take their unblemished 6-0 records to the mound in a highly anticipated match-up.

Tabbed by Baseball America as the Midseason Pitcher of the Year, Pomeranz has struck out 80 batters this year in 51.2 innings of work. Opponents are hitting a meager .173 against him - best in the SEC.

While Cooper might not have the strikeout total (47 strikeouts) to equal Pomeranz, he has matched the lefty in effectiveness this season. In 53.2 innings, opponents are batting just .195 against Cooper - good for 2nd in the league. Pomeranz has allowed 32 hits this year - Cooper has allowed 36.

Both pitchers rank in the league's top 10 in earned run average, wins, opposing batting average, innings pitched, batters struck out and batters struck out looking.

Chart CoopPom2.gif

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Golfers Challenge for SEC Titles this Weekend

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South Carolina's men's and women's golf teams compete at the SEC Championships this weekend with the men traveling to St. Simons Island, Georgia and the women traveling to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. The men will play at the Sea Island Golf Course and the women will play at the NorthRiver Yacht Club. For coverage, visit GamecocksOnline.com during the weekend. You can also follow @GamecockMGolf and @GamecockWGolf for Twitter updates.

Check out these golf "intro" videos:


Football National Media Round-Up

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I've collected some various items from a few national media appearances the Gamecocks have made this week:

-Coach Spurrier was on The Dan Patrick Show yesterday afternoon
Click here to listen to the interview

-Chris Low of ESPN.com has a video interview with Stephon Gilmore

-Here's Low's video interview with quarterbacks coach G.A. Mangus

Low also wrote a post about Gilmore's role on the Gamecocks:

As a freshman, Stephon Gilmore was something to see.

As a sophomore, you might see even more of him.

Gilmore is raring to take on as much as the South Carolina coaches want to give him.

"Cornerback is my position. That's what I play, and that's my focus," Gilmore said. "But if I can help this team get to where we all want to go by playing some at quarterback, returning punts, wherever they need me to line up, that's what I'm going to do."

Here's his post about offensive line coach Shawn Elliott:

Shawn Elliott doesn't run away from challenges.

In fact, he runs to them.

The third offensive line coach in as many years at South Carolina, Elliott had spent his entire coaching and playing career at one place -- Appalachian State.

He loved it there. It was home. He helped the Mountaineers win three straight Division I-AA national championships from 2005-2007.

But when the South Carolina offensive line job opened after Eric Wolford left to take the Youngstown State head job, Elliott knew he had to pursue it.

He grew up in nearby Camden, S.C., and he used to attend games at Williams-Brice Stadium as a child with his father, Charles, who worked the games as a South Carolina state highway patrolman.

"This was the one job that could have pulled me away from Appalachian State," Elliott said.

 



Team Gamecocks Community Service

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Carolina Girls Auditions This Weekend

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The Carolina Girls will hold auditions for next year's squad this Sunday at noon at the Strom Thurmond Wellness & Fitness Center. For details on the tryout, click here. 


Ron Morris from The State wrote a great article about South Carolina Board of Trustee member Michael Mungo's impact and influence on athletics during his service to the university. Mungo, 82, passed away early Sunday morning. Click here to read Morris' article.

Mungo helped persuade the board of trustees to authorize interim USC president Art Smith to negotiate the deal with the SEC, according to Johnny Gregory, special assistant to the USC president. In so doing, the board did not have to approve either the move or any financial needs to make the move.

As it turned out, according to Gregory, the SEC charged USC only $50 to cover the cost of changing the league's charter.

"It was probably in the history of South Carolina athletics one of the most pivotal decisions ever made," said Eric Hyman, USC's director of athletics. "It was through his leadership and guidance that the University of South Carolina was able to get into the Southeastern Conference, which speaks volumes, and his legacy in that role will go for years and years and years."



Richland Gamecock Club Spring Meeting Recap

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The Richland County Gamecock Club hosted a Spring Meeting last night at Seawell's in Columbia. For more on Gamecock Club Spring Meetings or to find a Spring Meeting near you, click here. Check out a video recap and photos here:





Mangus & Calvi on Inside the Roost Tonight

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Tune to 107.5 FM tonight for "Inside the Roost"  at 7 PM with host Derek Scott from Staybridge Suites on Huger Street in Columbia.

Tonight's guests are assistant baseball coach Mark Calvi and assistant football coach G.A. Mangus. You can also listen live on www.1075thegame.com.

If you've got a question you'd like to ask on the show, send an e-mail to roost@ispsports.com, call locally at 404-6100 or 1-866-667-1075. You can also submit your question in the comments section of this post and we'll get it over.

Spring Football Round-Up

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The Gamecock football team wrapped up spring drills Saturday with the annual Garnet & Black Spring Game at Williams-Brice Stadium.

To review the 2010 Spring Football season, visit our Spring Practice Central page on GamecocksOnline.



Here's a round-up of news stories from the media:

The State - Notebook: Gilmore more concerned with defense

Gilmore, a freshman All-American last season, said improving as a corner is his first priority.

"I'm not the best I can be at cornerback right now. I don't want to be struggling at cornerback, and then try to be somewhere else on offense," he said. "I'll do (passing drills) on my own."

Gilmore hopes to improve on his performance in 2009, when he had eight pass breakups but only one interception.

"I think this year is going to be better than my freshman year tackling-wise and making a play on the ball and (recognizing) where the receivers are lining up."


Since the beginning of spring practice, D.J. Swearinger has drawn the praise of assistant head coach Ellis Johnson.

That continued after the Garnet and Black game Saturday afternoon at Williams-Brice Stadium.

"D.J. has brought a punch," Johnson said. "He has been the most obvious hitter out there. Day in and day out, D.J. is about the only one out there that pops like an SEC football player."


Around the Diamond in the SEC

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While the Gamecocks took two of three on the road at Vanderbilt this weekend, here's what happened around the SEC:

Alabama @ Kentucky (7-6 UK, 8-2 UK, 11-9 Alabama)
-Alabama avoided the series sweep on the road with a win in Sunday's finale.

Arkansas @ Mississippi State (8-3 Ark, 8-5 Ark, 13-3 Ark)
-The Razorbacks take sole possession of first place in the SEC West with a weekend sweep of the Bulldogs. Arkansas is tied with South Carolina for first place overall in the SEC.

LSU @ Auburn (14-10 LSU, 11-7 Aub, 6-5 Aub)
-In one of the more surprising results of the weekend, the Tigers take two from No. 3 LSU and snap the Tigers' streak of seven consecutive SEC series wins. Auburn won the series and Game 3 on a squeeze play in the bottom of the ninth inning - see video below:



Florida @ Tennessee (4-2 UF, 12-4 UT, 9-1 UF)
-The Gators took two of three from the Vols to keep pace behind the Gamecocks in the SEC East.

Ole Miss @ Georgia (4-1 Miss, 4-3 Miss, 6-3 UGA)
-The Bulldogs salvaged a win at home, but dropped the series to the visiting Rebels.

SEC Standings

EASTERN DIVISION     Conference Overall
School W-L Pct. W-L Pct.
South Carolina 9-3 0.750 25-7   0.781
Florida 8-4 0.667 23-8   0.742
Vanderbilt 6-6 0.500 26-8   0.765
Kentucky 4-8 0.333 21-12   0.636
Georgia 3-9 0.250 11-21   0.344
Tennessee 3-9 0.250 16-17   0.485
WESTERN DIVISION     Conference Overall
School W-L Pct. W-L Pct.
Arkansas 9-3 0.750 26-6   0.812
LSU 8-4 0.667 26-6   0.812
Auburn 7-5 0.583 22-11   0.667
Ole Miss 7-5 0.583 23-10   0.697
Alabama 5-7 0.417 21-11   0.656
Mississippi State 3-9 0.250 16-16   0.500

The Week Ahead for the Garnet and Black

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Monday

7 p.m. The Richland Gamecock Club Spring Meeting will be held at Seawells on Rosewood Dr. in Columbia

7 p.m. Inside the Roost at Staybridge Suites on Huger St. in Columbia. Monday's guest is South Carolina's pitching coach Mark Calvi.

 

Tuesday

7 p.m. The Clarendon Gamecock Club Spring Meeting will be held at the Cypress Center

 

Wednesday

5 p.m. Softball heads to Spartanburg, S.C. to take on USC Upstate

7 p.m. Baseball travels to Charleston to play The Citadel

 

Thursday

7 p.m. Carolina Calls with Ray Tanner at Wild Wing Café in the Vista (Columbia)

All Day Women's Equestrian competes in Waco, Texas

 

Friday

7 p.m. Baseball battles Mississippi at home.

All Day Men's Golf participates in the SEC Championship in St. Simons Island, Ga. at the Sea Island Country Club

All Day Women's Equestrian continues to compete in Waco, Texas

All Day Women's Golf participates in the SEC Championship in Tuscaloosa, Ala at the North River Yacht Club

All Day Track heads to Greensboro, N.C. to compete in the International Friendship and Freedom Games

 

Saturday

1 p.m. Men's Tennis competes against Florida in Gainesville, Fla.

1 p.m. Women's Tennis hosts Florida in Columbia. Come get a free drawstring bag!

1 p.m. Softball kicks off Alumni Day against Mississippi State in Columbia. There will be free food for students, and free ice cream cups for the first 100 fans.

3 p.m. Baseball takes on Mississippi at home in Carolina Stadium

3:15 p.m. Softball completes its double-header against Mississippi State in Columbia

All Day Women's Golf continues to compete in the SEC Championship in Tuscaloosa Ala.

All Day Track participates in the International Friendship and Freedom Games in Greensboro, N.C.

All Day Men's Golf continues to compete in the SEC Championship in St. Simons Island, Ga.

All Day Women's Equestrian competes in Waco, Texas

 

Sunday

1:30 p.m. Baseball closes out the series against Mississippi in Columbia

2 p.m. Softball wraps up the series against Mississippi State in Columbia

All Day Men's Golf continues to compete in the SEC Championship in St. Simons, Ga. At the Sea Island Country Club

All Day Women's Golf continues to compete in the SEC Championship in Tuscaloosa, Ala. at the North River Yacht Club

 

Five Good Things about the Spring Game

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To review all of 2010 Spring Practice, take a visit to our Spring Practice Central page.

5) Positive moments from both the offense and the defense

"Today was more about fundamentals and I think it will be a good film for the most part. I thought both sides of the ball got something out of it which is sometimes very difficult to do in a spring game." - Ellis Johnson

"Overall, I think it was a decent game the way we do these games nowadays. All the quarterbacks did some good things today." - Steve Spurrier

IMG_9478.JPG4) Both units avoided the injury bug on Saturday and stayed healthy as they progress into summer workouts and eventually preseason camp in August. 

3) Fans lined up early for their chance to purchase an authentic Gamecock football jersey. Over 300 jerseys from the last decade of Gamecock football were on sale for fans to buy. Here's a shot of the line when gates opened:

IMG_9438.JPG
IMG_9437.JPG


2) A strong crowd of nearly 22,000 Gamecock fans was in attendance at today's spring game.

IMG_9454.JPG"Good to see the crowd. It was an excellent crowd." - Coach Spurrier

1) There's just 145 days to go until the regular season kicks off again at Williams-Brice Stadium when the Gamecock face Southern Miss on September 2nd.






After the conclusion of Sunday's men's tennis match against No. 4 Tennessee, head coach Kent DeMars will have coached his final home match at the helm of the South Carolina program. After 37 years of collegiate coaching and 26 in charge of the Gamecocks, DeMars will retire at the end of the 2010 season.

DeMars is the all-time winningest coach at South Carolina and an inductee in the South Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame. In May, DeMars will be one of 10 inductees to the Collegiate Tennis Hall of Fame.

Make it out to Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. to celebrate the careers of DeMars and the team's three seniors - Pedro Campos, Ivan Cressoni and Diego Cubas.

Demars_031910_035.jpg

Gamecock Football Desktop Wallpaper

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Visit our Desktop Wallpaper page to add the new 2010 Football Poster to your desktop! The actual posters will be available at the Gamecock Gear store at the Garnet & Black Spring Game tomorrow afternoon.

Gamecock Football & Wounded Warrior Project

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Athletics Director Eric Hyman presented the South Carolina Football team with a signed football on Wednesday autographed by Coach Spurrier, Urban Meyer, President Barack Obama, and Vice President Joe Biden. Hyman told the team about emails he received from vets showing their appreciation for South Carolina's support of the Wounded Warrior Project.


Downey Portsmouth Update

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Devan Downey's squad dropped their opening game in the Portsmouth Invitational yesterday, but will continue play this afternoon at 3:15 p.m. in the consolation bracket. Click here for the tournament schedule. 

Here was Downey's line in the tourney's opening game:

## Player             p fgm-fga fgm-fga ftm-fta off-def tot pf tp a to blk stl min

03  DOWNEY, Devan  6-14        0-2        1-2       1-4      13   1   28 

Neil White of The State previews the Vandy series and talks about the upcoming stretch of ranked opponents the Gamecocks will face in SEC action. Click here to read more.

The No. 11 Gamecocks (23-6, 7-2 SEC East) have positioned themselves well heading into tonight's 7 p.m. game at Hawkins Field in Nashville. The Commodores (25-6, 5-4) are 20-1 at home.

USC coach Ray Tanner calls this the start of a wicked second-half stretch that will also include No. 15 Ole Miss, No. 24 Alabama, No. 10 Arkansas and No. 8 Florida.

"I know we have 21 games left in the league, and a lot can happen. They're all big," Tanner said. "We want to do well on the road. (Vanderbilt) wants to do well at home. They want to get back in the mix a little bit. There's always a lot at stake. That's why SEC baseball is what it is."


Garnet & Black Spring Game Need to Know

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South Carolina's annual Garnet & Black Spring Game kicks off tomorrow at 4 p.m. at Williams-Brice Stadium. Here's some key info about the event for you:

-Click here for gameday parking information

-Free Admission

-Stadium Gates Open at 2:30 p.m.

-Authentic Gamecock Football Jersey Sale begins at 2:30 p.m. at merchandise location at Gate 3 of stadium - click here for details

-Live band Modern Disruption playing in northwest corner of the Williams-Brice parking lot from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

-Bouncehouse and cheerleaders at same location as the band

-Official 2010 Football t-shirt available at Gamecock Gear store located in the North Endzone

-2010 schedule poster available at Gamecock Gear store

-Visit our Spring Practice Central page to print out the spring roster and spring guide

Great story on Gamecock men's golfer Paul Woodbury by Chris Dearing in today's edition of The State - click here to read more.

For the casual observer, Paul Woodbury's strong play of late would be a case of someone playing beyond their means.

But to anyone close to the Gamecock men's golf program, the senior from Lake City is finally capitalizing on the potential they have seen on the practice range for years.

"Since the time he arrived here, he's gotten a little bit better each year," USC coach Bill McDonald said. "People that have watched him play really aren't surprised at what he's accomplished this year. In the past, it's always just been a case that we were so deep he had a hard time breaking into the lineup."


Diamond Dish: Gamecocks Hit NashVegas

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SEC SeriesVandy.jpg
How to Follow the Series

Radio: 107.5 FM (Gamecock ISP Sports Network)
Web: Friday Live Stats, Saturday Live Stats, Sunday Live Stats
Television: None
All-Access:
Listen to the live broadcast of all three games on GamecocksOnline.com with an All-Access package - available for just $9.95 per month. Click here to order.
Twitter: @GamecockBasebll

Series Numbers

-South Carolina leads the all-time series against the Commodores 43-18.
-The Gamecocks swept the Commodores at Carolina Stadium last season, but lost to Vanderbilt in the SEC Tournament.
 
Last Weekend

South Carolina vs. Miss State: Friday: 10-2 W; Saturday: 7-8 L; Sunday 14-2 W

Vanderbilt @ Florida: Friday: 2-3 L; Saturday: 3-7 L; Sunday: 7-0 W


Probable Starting Pitchers


Friday
South Carolina - Sr. RHP Blake Cooper: 5-0, 3.11 ERA, 46.1 IP, 16 BB, 44 SO
Vanderbilt - So. RHP Sonny Gray: 4-3, 2.33 ERA, 46.1 IP, 21 BB, 46 SO

Saturday
South Carolina - Jr. RHP Sam Dyson: 2-1, 4.79 ERA, 35.2 IP, 6 BB, 39 SO
Vanderbilt - So. RHP Jack Armstrong: 4-0, 3.93 ERA, 36.2 IP, 14 BB, 26 SO

Sunday
South Carolina - TBA
Vanderbilt - Jr. RHP Taylor Hill: 3-2, 3.95 ERA, 41.0 IP, 14 BB, 31 SO

Team Notes & Numbers

-The Gamecocks are batting .305 as a team with a .972 fielding percentage and a 3.46 team ERA.
-South Carolina's pitching staff ranks second in the SEC with a 3.46 ERA and leads in the conference in strikeouts (294) and opposing batting average (.217).
-Junior Whit Merrifield has hit safely in 28 of 29 games this year and currently owns a 16-game hitting streak. He's the only player to have started all 29 games and is batting .350 with 6 HR and 22 RBI. Merrifield leads the league in runs scored with 39.
-Merrifield has 211 career hits (16th all-time) as a Gamecock and needs just five more to pass Reese Havens on the all-time list. He is 20 hits away from reaching the Top 10.
-Sophomore Jackie Bradley, Jr batted .444 against Mississippi State and had an on-base percentage of .667 and scored six runs. For the season, Bradley is batting .360 with 2 HR and 13 RBI.

What's Happening in the SEC This Weekend

-Alabama (17-7, 2-4) @ Kentucky (17-8, 4-2)

-Arkansas (22-6, 6-3) @ Mississippi State (16-13, 3-6)

-LSU (24-4, 7-2) @ Auburn (19-10, 5-4)

-Florida (21-7, 6-3) @ Tennessee (15-14, 2-7)

-Ole Miss (21-8, 5-4) @ Georgia (10-18, 2-7)

Gamecock Hometowns: Track & Field

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Continuing our series of Gamecock Hometowns - here's a map showing the hometowns for the Gamecock Track & Field team:



View 2010 Track & Field Roster in a larger map

The South Carolina track team includes athletes from five different countries and three continents. The bulk of the team comes from the east coast of the United States. Tamra Stanish comes from the farthest location west (Salado, TX).

Carolina Calls with Ellis Johnson Tonight

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Carolina Calls with Ellis Johnson will air live on the Gamecock ISP Sports Network tonight from Wild Wing Cafe in the Vista at 7 p.m. Coach Johnson and host Derek Scott will discuss spring football practice and Saturday's spring game.

Fans are encouraged to ask questions live in attendance or call in at 877-477-7201 (404-6100 in Columbia).

Downey Invited to Portsmouth Invitational

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Devan Downey has been invited to participate in the Portsmouth Invitational this week in Portsmouth, Va. The tournament is one of the oldest amateur tournaments in the U.S. and is the only postseason camp conducted for NCAA seniors. It is also the first of two NBA pre-draft camps.

Only 64 players are invited to the event usually attended by over 200 NBA representatives. The players are divided into eight teams of eight. The four-day tournament consists of 12 games. For more on the Portsmouth Invitational, click here.

Here's a look at Downey's team:

Coaches : Dennis Koutoufas & Ben Moore
# Last Name College Pos Ht Wt PPG RPG APG SPG BPG FG% 3PT% FT%
45 Eglseder, Jordan Northern Iowa C 7' 0" 280 11.8 7.2 0.6 0.4 0.9 52.9 25 72.7
33 Ekperigin, Laurence LeMoyne F 6' 7" 235 21.6 12.1 1.5 1 2.6 64.2 0 71.3
41 Lowhorn, Dior San Francisco F 6' 7" 230 18.4 6.5 0.6 0.7 0.5 46.9 28.6 81.1
11 Robertson, Theo California F 6' 6" 230 14.2 4.7 2.2 0.6 0.1 49.8 45.3 79.7
5 Dennis, Stephen Kutztown G 6' 6" 185 26.4 5.8 4.5 2.1 1.2 48.3 32.1 75.2
3 Downey, Devan South Carolina G 5' 9" 175 22.5 3.3 3.5 2.7 0 40 34.2 83.4
1 Kool, David Western Michigan G 6' 3" 208 21.6 4.1 2.6 1.8 0 44.9 35.8 89.7
13 Ubiles, Edwin Siena G 6' 6" 204 15.3 3.7 2.2 1.1 0.2 47.2 39.7 65.9

Cheer & Dance Teams Head to Nationals

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The South Carolina Cheerleaders and the Carolina Girls departed Columbia today for NCA/NDA College Nationals in Daytona Beach, Florida. Both teams hosted a showcase on Saturday as a final rehearsal of their routines. Here's some video interviews with cheerleading head coach Erika Goodwin and Carolina Girls head coach Lindsay Sprague.


Spring Game Parking Information

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Here's the parking information for the Garnet & Black Spring Game on Saturday. Stadium gates open at 2:30 p.m. and the game will begin at 4 p.m.

-The Fairgrounds will open Gate 6 for entry at 1 PM and will have 4,000 spaces available for $10.
-The Farmers Market will have 80 spaces available in the front for $10 and will open at 8 AM.
-ETV Lots will open at 8 AM and will have 800 spaces for $10.
-The Key Road Lot will open noon and will have 600 spaces available for free.
-Seawells on Rosewood will open their grass parking lot at 10 AM and will have 500 parking spaces available for $5.
-A limited number of handicapped parking spaces will be available on the North East side of the stadium off of George Rogers Blvd.

Winning Design for 2010 Football T-Shirt

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After three days of the voting, the fans have selected their favorite design for the 2010 Gamecock Football T-Shirt. With over 47% of the votes, Option 3 was the clear winner. The t-shirt will be available at the Gamecock Gear store for $17.98 at the Garnet & Black Spring Game on Saturday at 4 p.m.


Baseball At-Bat Songs

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We've had several requests to post the at-bat and intro songs for the baseball team. Without further ado:

Player Name Song (Artist then Title)
Adrian Morales 50 Cent- You Don't Know Instrumentals
Robert Beary Chevelle-The Clincher
Whit Merrifield Skillet-Hero
Jeffery Jones Unknown-Walk With A Swag
Richard Royal Black Sabbath-Iron man
Scott Wingo Earth Wind and Fire-Let's Groove
Anthony Iacomini Jay-Z-Empire State of Mind
Christian Walker Living Colour-Cult of Personality
Kyle Enders Roy Jones Jr.-Can't Be Touched
Jackie Bradley Jr. Michael Jackson-Bad
Bobby Haney 2Pac-Ambitionz As A Rida Instrumentals
Brison Celek Keith Anderson-Pickin' Wildflowers
Adam Matthews Darius Rucker-Alright
Michael Roth Thousand Foot Crutch-Fire It Up
Evan Marzilli T-Pain-Maybach Music Part 2 Instrumentals
Brady Thomas Scorpions-Rock You Like A Hurricane
Parker Bangs Twisted Sister-I Wanna Rock
Nick Ebert AC/DC-Thunderstruck


Jimmy Revan Stone Temple Pilots-Dead and Bloated
John Taylor Metallica-The Unforgiven III
Jose Mata Pitbull-Shut It Down
Blake Cooper Montgomery Gentry-What Do You Think About That
Michael Roth Eric Prydz-Call On Me
Ethan Carter The Lion King-Circle of Life
Jordan Propst The Black Keys-Your Touch
Parker Bangs Avenged SevenFold-Almost Easy
Colby Holmes Senses Fail-Bite to Break Skin


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Gamecock Hometowns: Men's Golf

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I've always loved looking at maps. I thought it would be cool to look at the hometowns of Gamecock student-athletes on a map and see where these players come from to form a team. Over the next few days, we'll take a look at the spring sports and show you a map of the player hometowns. Here's the men's golf team:



View 2010 Men's Golf Roster in a larger map


The men's golf team has the smallest radius of any of the spring sports as just two states (South Carolina & Georgia) are represented. Just by eyeballing it, I'd say Dean Hester (Dalton, GA) has the farthest drive home.

The Week Ahead for the Garnet and Black

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Tuesday

5 p.m. Softball hosts USC Upstate at Beckham Field. It is Team Picture Day as well as Faculty/Staff Day. Come out to support the Gamecocks and have some fun bouncing around in Cocky's Inflatable Bounce House!

Wednesday

7 p.m. Baseball hosts College of Charleston at the Carolina Stadium. They will be going into the game at 14-2 after beating Mississippi State on Sunday. The game will be covered on TV's SportSouth network.

All Day Track participates in the Gamecock Open Meet hosted at home.

Friday

2 p.m. Men's Tennis matches up against the Georgia Bulldogs. The match will take place at the Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center. Fans will receive free Drawstring Backpacks.

5 p.m. Women's Tennis faces the Georgia Bulldogs in Athens, Ga.

7 p.m. Baseball is on the road to Nashville, Tenn. to take on Vanderbilt. 

All Day Track competes in the Spec Towns Invitational hosted in Athens, Ga.

Saturday

1 p.m. Softball is on the road to Lexington to take on the Kentucky Wildcats.

3 p.m. Baseball is in Nashville, Tenn. competing in their second game against the Commodore's. 

4 p.m. Football participates in the Garnet & Black Spring Game set for Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium. Admission to the game is free to the public - The stadium gates will open at 2:30 p.m. and the annual spring football awards will be presented at approximately 3:45 p.m. Actual kickoff is set for 4 p.m.

All Day Track competes in the Spec Towns Invitational hosted in Athens, Ga.

Sunday

1 p.m. Women's Tennis travels to Knoxville to match up against Tennessee. 

1 p.m. Men's Tennis hosts Tennessee at the Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center. It is "Senior Day" - Coach DeMars will recognize the team's seniors.

2 p.m. Softball finishes the series against Kentucky.

2 p.m. Baseball closes out their series against Vanderbilt. 

Mack to Play with RiverDogs This Season

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Former Gamecock outfielder DeAngelo Mack will begin his 2010 season as a member of the Class A Charleston RiverDogs. Here's a blurb from the release the team put out today:

Mack, a native of West Columbia, S.C. and a popular Gamecock, enjoyed a fabulous debut season with the New York-Penn League (NYPL) champion Staten Island Yankees after being drafted by the Yankees in the 13th round of the 2009 First-Year Player Draft.  The 23-year-old raked at a .306 clip in 66 games with seven home runs and 41 RBI in being named to the league's midseason All-Star team.  He ranked second in the NYPL in extra-base hits (30), tied for third in total bases (119), placed fifth in slugging percentage (.513) and sixth in average.

Mack and former Clemson pitcher Graham Stoneburner were the first players announced on Charleston's 2010 roster. For the full release on the RiverDog's site, click here.


Around the Diamond in the SEC

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Here's what happened in the SEC this weekend as the Gamecocks took two of three from visiting Mississippi State:

Alabama @ Auburn (10-5 Bama, 6-5 Bama, 7-1 Auburn)
-Auburn won Game 3 of the weekend series to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Crimson Tide.

Vanderbilt @ Florida (3-2 UF, 7-3 UF, 7-0 Vandy)
-Gators took two of three from the Commodores in Gainesville to keep pace behind the Gamecocks in the SEC East.

Tennessee @ Ole Miss (7-3 Ole Miss, 5-2 UT, 10-6 UT)
-Vols picked up their first SEC wins of the season and took a road series win in Oxford against the Rebels. 

Kentucky @ Arkansas (12-8 UK, 10-1 Ark, 17-16 Ark)
-Razorbacks won two of three against the Wildcats in a high-scoring series.

Georgia @ LSU (4-3 LSU, 12-6 UGA, 15-5 LSU)
-LSU won its 7th straight SEC series, winning two of three at home against the visiting Bulldogs.


SEC Standings

EASTERN DIVISION    Conference Overall
School W-L Pct. W-L   Pct.
South Carolina   7-2 0.778 22-6   0.786
Florida   6-3 0.667 20-7   0.741
Vanderbilt
  5-4 0.556 24-6   0.800
Georgia   2-7 0.222 10-17   0.370
Kentucky   2-7 0.222 18-11   0.621
Tennessee   2-7 0.222 15-14    0.517
WESTERN DIVISION     Conference Overall
School W-L Pct. W-L Pct.
LSU    7-2 0.778 23-4   0.852
Arkansas    6-3 0.667 22-6   0.786
Auburn    5-4 0.556 18-10   0.643
Ole Miss    5-4 0.556 21-8   0.724
Alabama    4-5 0.444 19-8   0.704
Mississippi State    3-6 0.333 15-13    0.536



Vote for your favorite Football T-Shirt Design

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Click here to vote for your favorite design for the 2010 Gamecock Football T-Shirt! The winning design will be revealed on Thursday and the shirt will be available for purchase at the Garnet & Black Spring Game on Saturday at Williams-Brice Stadium.


The athletics department will hold an authentic South Carolina football jersey sale this weekend at the Garnet & Black Spring Game. Here's the details:

 
·        The sale will begin when the gates are open at 2:30 p.m.

·        There are 300 jerseys available

·        $60 each

·        Credit card and cash only

·        Sold at the merchandise location closest to Gate 3

·        First come, first served

·        Limit 2 per person
       

Click here to view the jersey numbers available Get Acrobat Reader


Visit the South Carolina Auctions page this week to bid on the chance to be one of the first in line and have the first pick of the jerseys.

Gamecocks on Opening Day

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Two former Gamecocks will be on Opening Day rosters as the 2010 Major League Baseball season gets underway today.

Adam Everett begins his season with the Detroit Tigers today at 4:10 p.m. on the road against the Kansas City Royals.


Brian Roberts starts his 2010 campaign with the Baltimore Orioles tomorrow night at 7:10 p.m. on the road against the Tampa Bay Rays.


Baseball Weekend Fan Photos

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It was a beautiful weekend for baseball at Carolina Stadium this weekend as the Gamecocks won the series against Mississippi State with wins on Friday and Sunday. Check out the slideshow for some fan photos from Saturday's game:


Stop by the Gamecock Basketball Practice Facility on Saturday at 2 p.m. as the Carolina Girls Dance Team and the Carolina Cheerleaders perform the routines that they will take to NCA/NDA College Nationals in Daytona Beach, Florida. The event is free and open to the public.

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Diamond Dish: Bulldogs Visit Carolina Stadium

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How to Follow the Series

Radio: 107.5 FM (Gamecock ISP Sports Network)
Web: Friday Live Stats, Saturday Live Stats, Sunday Live Stats
Television: Saturday's game will be televised on SportSouth and Sunday's game will be televised on ESPNU. 
All-Access:
Listen to the live broadcast of all three games on GamecocksOnline.com with an All-Access package - available for just $9.95 per month. Click here to order.
Twitter: @GamecockBasebll

Series Numbers

-South Carolina leads the all-time series 28-24.
-The Gamecocks have won four consecutive series against Mississippi State in Columbia.
-The Bulldogs did take last year's series, winning two of three games in Starkville.

 Last Weekend

South Carolina vs. Auburn: Friday: 11-5 W; Saturday: 2-0 W; Sunday 10-6 L

Miss. State vs. Georgia: Friday: 9-8 W; Saturday: 4-7 L; Sunday: 11-10 W


Probable Starting Pitchers


Friday
South Carolina - Sr. RHP Blake Cooper: 4-0, 3.32 ERA, 38.0 IP, 15 BB, 37 SO
Miss. State - Fr. RHP Kendall Graveman: 1-1, 6.20 ERA, 24.2 IP, 14 BB, 9 SO

Saturday
South Carolina - Jr. RHP Sam Dyson: 2-0, 4.15 ERA, 30.1 IP, 6 BB, 36 SO
Miss. State - Fr. RHP Chris Stratton: 2-3, 3.48 ERA, 31.0 IP, 14 BB, 36 SO

Sunday
South Carolina - Sr. RHP Jay Brown: 1-0, 3.38 ERA, 16.0 IP, 8 BB, 17 SO
Miss. State - TBA

Team Notes & Numbers

-The Gamecocks are batting .302 as a team with a .970 fielding percentage and a 3.41 team ERA.
-The team has a .406 on-base percentage and has 54 doubles, six triples and 28 homers.
-South Carolina's pitching staff ranks third in the SEC with a 3.41 ERA and leads in the conference in strikeouts (263) and opposing batting average (.216). In SEC games, the team has a 3.06 ERA - good for best in the league.
-Senior Blake Cooper moved into 12th place on the South Carolina career win list last weekend, earning his 25th career victory with Friday's win over Auburn.
-Junior Whit Merrifield became the 23rd player in school history to record 200 or more hits last weekend. Merrifield has 204 career hits, 99 shy of all-time leader Mac White's 303. He needs just 27 hits to break into the Top 10.
-Merrifield has hit safely in 24 of 25 games this year and is batting .350 with five HR and 19 RBI. He is currently on a 12-game hitting streak.
-Junior Sam Dyson pitched seven scoreless innings last Saturday to help the Gamecock clinch the series with a 2-0 win. Dyson struck out nine batters and walked none. Relievers Michael Roth and Matt Price combined with Dyson to shut out the Tigers. It was the first time Auburn had not scored at home since March 1, 2005 (a span of 166 games).
-Junior Scott Wingo ranks fourth in the SEC with a .516 on-base percentage and is 11th with a .662 slugging percentage.

Quotes from Thursday's media session


"I don't look at any team in this league as a.500 team. Every team is really good and anybody can beat you. There's not a wide range of disparity between teams. We'll go into this weekend like any other weekend." -Coach Tanner

"Jay has been one of those guys who has sort of been "that guy" when we've had some issues. He's gone into the game to keep it in check. He's been maybe one of the unsung heroes for us. I felt like Jay should get the opportunity to start based on the contribution he's made." Tanner on Jay Brown getting the Sunday start (his first of the season)

"I've had a hard time recently putting together the middle of the order. I've tried to do some match-ups based on last couple of games and last couple of practices. The good news is that I've got some choices to make. I'm not sure what our best lineup is." -Tanner on the changing lineups

"I don't think that I've ever had as many lineups as I've had to this point through 25 games. I like having a pretty consistent lineup. The middle of our order is where our changes have been coming and that's a bit of a concern. We're getting some quality years from the guys at the top and the bottom. The middle of the order is really where the gaps have been and that's led to the different lineups." Tanner

"For many years, I've said you better play every game like it's the last one. You never know when you're playing "that game." As I explain to our players, you're going to win some games and you're going to lose some games, but what do you do with the others that you play?  I always stress you have to play with heightened awareness. It's got to be a very important game. You can't look back and say "woulda, coulda, shoulda." They're all the same. They all count." - Tanner

"It's exciting. As the season has gone on, I've told him I've been willing to throw whenever. I'm excited to throw Sunday." - Jay Brown on getting the Sunday start

"I try not to ride the rollercoaster. Baseball is a game of failures and so you can't get too high when you're throwing well and you can't get too low when you're not throwing as well. You try to stay level-headed and go from there." - Brown on the pressure of being the Sunday starter

"You have to throw like you know how to throw. You have to know the gameplan and throw strikes. I don't think you can approach an SEC team differently from a mid-week team because against any player in Division I, if you make a mistake, you're going to pay." - Brown


What's Happening in the SEC This Weekend

-Alabama (17-7, 2-4) @ Auburn (17-8, 4-2)

-Vanderbilt (23-4, 4-2) @ Florida (18-6, 4-2)

-Tennessee (13-13, 0-6) @ Ole Miss (20-6, 4-2)

-Kentucky (17-9, 1-5) @ Arkansas (20-5, 4-2)

-Georgia (9-15, 1-5) @ LSU (21-3, 5-1)
Men's basketball coach Darrin Horn will be on CBS College Sports From The Final Four today at 2:30 p.m. CBS College Sports can be found on Channel 150 on Time Warner Cable and on Channel 613 on DirecTV.

Horn will also introduce Country Music Association New Artist of the Year Darius Rucker for the Coca-Cola Zero Countdown at the Big Dance Concert Series that's in celebration of the NCAA Men's Final Four.


UPDATE (2:52 p.m.): Here's a shot of Coach Horn from today's show (courtesy of @SEC_Hoops)


Throwing out the first pitch on Saturday at the Strikeout Cancer event at Beckham Field will be a local leukemia survivor, Hannah Bilton. In February 2006, Hannah's mother Wendy was diagnosed with breast cancer. Nine days later, Hannah (five years old at the time) was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (Cancer of the Blood) at Palmetto Health Children's Hospital.



Hannah and her mother Wendy went through the experience together, undergoing chemotheraphy, losing their hair together as well as enduring several blood and platelet transfusions. During her treatments, Hannah had over twenty spinal taps. Now after two years of treatment and surgical procedures, both Hannah and Wendy are healthy and cancer free.

But, to use her father Jason's words, "good things can come out of something so bad." Hannah was chosen as the 2009 South Carolina Children's Miracle Network Champion through the Champions Across America Program. In March of last year, the family traveled to Disney World to attend the annual Children's Miracle Network celebration. Hannah was serenaded by country singer Mark Wills, did a commercial with Hannah Horne and former NFL QB Steve Young, attended a private concert by Julianne Hough and met Miss America Katie Stamm.

The family also traveled to Washington, DC to tour the White House and met with President Obama on the back lawn. After meeting the children, Obama invited them to play on his daughters' new playground. Hannah's sister Savannah ran over to the president to shake his hand, producing this picture that was on national news and made it into a book about the First Family:



After the DC trip, Children's Miracle Network did a fundraiser with Kelloggs and Food Lion and Hannah ended up on the back of a Frosted Flakes Box.

To read more about Hannah's story, you can read the Bilton family's blog here.




    

Gamecocks Strikeout Cancer This Weekend

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South Carolina's softball team will host its annual Strikeout Cancer Weekend at Beckham Field as the Gamecocks welcome the Tennessee Volunteers to town for a three-game series.

Friday's game starts at 5 p.m. and the teams will play a doubleheader on Saturday at 1 p.m. and 3:15 p.m. On Friday, fans will receive free "Go Gamecocks" fan banners (while supplies last). On Saturday, kids in attendance can participate in an Easter Egg Hunt. In addition, a silent auction will be held including signed helmets & jerseys from the softball team, as well as balls signed from other Gamecock sports including a basketball signed by Darrin Horn and a pink basketball signed by the women's basketball team and coaching staff. The first pitch on Saturday will be thrown out by leukemia survivor Hannah Bilton. For more on Hannah's story, read here.

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Coach Tanner on Carolina Calls Tonight

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Carolina Calls with Coach Tanner will air live on the Gamecock ISP Sports Network tonight from Wild Wing Cafe in the Vista at 7 p.m. Listen in to hear host Andy Demetra and Coach Tanner discuss Gamecock baseball.

Fans are encouraged to ask questions live in attendance or call in at 877-477-7201 (404-6100 in Columbia).