Columbia, S.C. -
College baseball's premier rivalry is this weekend as South Carolina (6-1) meets Clemson (5-2) for three games in three different sites. The series opens on Friday at Clemson with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m. at Doug Kingsmore Stadium. Game two of the series shifts to Greenville and the Reedy River Rivalry contest at Fluor Field with first pitch at 2:05 p.m. The series concludes in Columbia on Sunday at 3 p.m. at Carolina Stadium.
LIVE COVERAGE Radio: Gamecock Radio Network affiliates/Flagship WNKT FM 107.5 "The Game" in Columbia. Andy Demetra and Tommy Moody will call the action. Television: Saturday - MeTV WOLO.4 (MeTV) Columbia, WMYA-TV (MyNet) Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville, WTAT-TV (Fox) Charleston, WFXB-TV (Fox) Myrtle Beach/Florence, WJCL-TV (Fox) Savannah & (MeTV) Augusta Internet: Additional coverage on Twitter @GamecockBasebll and Facebook/Gamecocksonline
Carolina has had success against Clemson in recent years with a 15-6 record vs. the Tigers in the last five seasons. South Carolina won four of five games last year in the series with four of the five contests also decided by just one run. Carolina won two of three in March as well as a pair of games in the NCAA Regional.
All three games can also be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station 107.5 FM "The Game." Derek Scott and Tommy Moody will have the call for Friday and Saturday with Andy Demetra and Moody calling the Sunday contest.
Friday's game will be streamed live at clemsontigers.com. Saturday's game at Fluor Field in Greenville will be televised on six TV networks in the states of South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia. TV affiliates televising the game are as follows: WMYA-TV (MyNet) Greenville/Spartanburg/Asheville, WTAT-TV (Fox) Charleston, WFXB-TV (Fox) Myrtle Beach/Florence, WJCL-TV (Fox) Savannah & (MeTV) Augusta, MeTV WOLO.4 (MeTV) Columbia. For Columbia residents, Me-TV is available over the air on Channel 25.4 and Time Warner Cable channel 106. It is not available on U-Verse, DIRECTV or DISH Network. Sunday's game will be streamed live at GamecocksOnline.com on the All Access Channel.
PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
South Carolina - Jordan Montgomery (So. LHP) 2-0, 1.64 ERA, 11.0 IP, 5 BB, 10 SO
Clemson - Daniel Gossett (So. RHP) 1-0, 0.77 ERA, 11.2 IP, 3 BB, 12 SO
South Carolina - Nolan Belcher (Sr. LHP) 1-1, 3.86 ERA, 11.2 IP, 1 BB, 16 SO
Clemson - Scott Firth (Sr. RHP) 2-0, 0.60 ERA, 15.0 IP, 3 BB, 9 SO
Clemson enters with a 5-2 record with all seven games played at home this season. The Tigers return four position starters from last year including junior second baseman Steve Wilkerson. He currently leads Clemson in hitting with a .429 average (12-for-28) with five runs scored, a homer and seven RBI. Freshman outfielder Steven Duggar has a .320 average (8-for-25) with seven runs scored as well as three doubles. Junior third baseman Shane Kennedy leads the Tigers with nine RBI and a homer as well. On the mound, Clemson starts the weekend with sophomore right-hander Daniel Gossett, who has a 1-0 record with a 0.77 ERA in 11.2 innings with three walks and 12 strikeouts. Senior right-hander Scott Firth has two starts as well and is 2-0 with a 0.60 ERA in 15.0 innings with three walks and nine strikeouts. Junior right-hander Matt Campbell has been one of their arms out of the bullpen. He is 0-1 with two saves in three appearances with three strikeouts in 2.1 innings.
PRICE & BRADLEY AWARDS
Following the conclusion of this weekend's series, the Tom Price Award and Bob Bradley Award will be presented to the respective MVP's from South Carolina and Clemson for the series. Both Bradley and Price served as Baseball SIDs at their respective schools for decades and were important in the promotion of collegiate baseball across the state and in the country. Bradley passed away in 2000, while Price passed away on February 1, 2008.
GAMECOCKS IN THE RANKINGS
South Carolina is ranked for the third straight week. The Gamecocks are No. 7 by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball and No. 8 in the USA Today coaches' poll.
A LOOK BACK
Freshman left-hander Jack Wynkoop hurled 5.1 scoreless innings in his first career start and seventh ranked South Carolina scored three runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to break a scoreless tie as the Gamecocks defeated Furman 5-2 on Tuesday afternoon in non-conference baseball action at Carolina Stadium.
Scoreless entering the bottom of the fifth, the Gamecocks made their move. Max Schrock doubled with one out, Graham Saiko walked and LB Dantzler singled to load the bases. Erik Payne would drive in Max Schrock on a RBI fielder's choice. On the play, Saiko's grounder was fielded cleanly by Furman third baseman Chris Ohmstede. He would get one out by tagging third base but a throwing error trying to nab Payne at first for the double play allowed both Schrock and Dantzler to score and give the Gamecocks a two-run lead. Grayson Greiner followed and made it 3-0 on a RBI single.
LAST WEEK'S RECAP
South Carolina continued the 2013 season with a weekend sweep of Albany at Carolina Stadium. The Gamecocks defeated Albany 8-3 in the opener followed by victories of 14-1 and 6-4 on Sunday in a doubleheader. South Carolina is now 5-1 on the year and will next be in action on Tuesday hosting Furman at 4 p.m. The Gamecocks will meet Clemson this weekend in a three-game series with Friday's contest at Clemson, Saturday's game at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C. and Sunday's series finale in Columbia.
Sunday's 14-1 victory featured a combined no-hitter by Colby Holmes, Forrest Koumas and Josh Knab. It is the first no-hitter by a Gamecock team in 38 years since March 26, 1975 when Ray Lavigne hurled a no-hitter in an 8-0 win over George Mason. It is the seventh no-hitter in school history and the first combined no-hitter as well.
Holmes opened the outing with six innings of work allowing just one walk and an unearned run. He struck out three batters. Koumas followed with two scoreless innings in which he walked three and struck out one. Knab closed out the no-hitter with a perfect ninth inning inducing three consecutive groundouts. Holmes is now 1-0 with a 1.46 ERA in a team-high 12.1 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting just .077 against him.
DANTZLER NAMED SEC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Senior infielder LB Dantzler continues to swing a hot bat. Dantzler went 9-for-13 (.692) at the plate with two doubles, two homers, six runs scored and 10 RBI. He had 17 total bases for the weekend with a .733 on-base percentage as well as a 1.308 slugging percentage.
Dantzler is hitting .542 (13-for-24) for the season with three homers and 13 RBI as well as a .625 on-base percentage and a 1.000 slugging percentage.
In Friday's 8-3 win, Dantzler tallied a career-high four hits and career-high five RBI with a home run. He followed that up with a 2-for-4 game with three runs and four RBI in the 14-1 win and closed out the weekend 3-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI in the 6-4 victory.
MORE ON DANTZLER
Dantzler tied three Carolina Stadium records for a three-game series with 17 total bases, nine hits and six runs scored. It is the most hits in a three-game series at Carolina Stadium since Jackie Bradley Jr. tallied nine in a three-game series vs. Vanderbilt (May 1-3, 2009). It's the most total bases since Nick Ebert finished with 17 vs. Georgia (May 14-16, 2009) and the most runs since Jackie Bradley Jr. had six vs. Mississippi State (April 2-4, 2010).
MONTGOMERY WITH A CONVINCING START
Sophomore left-hander Jordan Montgomery improved to 2-0 on the year with a win in the 8-3 victory over Albany. Montgomery worked five innings and allowed two runs on five hits with three walks and five strikeouts. Montgomery had a streak of 17.2 consecutive innings without allowing a run snapped in the top of the fourth when he yielded a solo home run. Along with two victories, he has a 1.64 ERA in 11.0 innings pitched with 10 strikeouts as well.
Montgomery was also effective in his first start of the season to earn a win on Opening Day. Montgomery pitched six scoreless innings and allowed just five hits and two walks while striking out five batters in the 4-3 win.
SAIKO LEADS IT OFF
Junior outfielder Graham Saiko reached base in all five plate appearances in the 8-3 victory. He went 2-for-2 with two runs scored, a RBI and three walks.
Saiko is hitting .318 (7-for-22) for the season with six runs scored and a .500 on-base percentage as he leads the Gamecocks with nine walks for the season.
Tyler Webb MAKES HIS MARK
Senior left-hander Tyler Webb tallied his third save of the year with a scoreless inning of relief in the 5-2 win over Furman. Webb made his fourth appearance of the season and the 82nd of his Gamecock career, surpassing Kip Bouknight (1998-01) for seventh all-time in school history. The record is 102 set last year by Matt Price (2009-12). Webb has four strikeouts in 2.2 innings of relief.
102 Matt Price 2009-10-11-12
94 Michael Roth 2009-10-11-12
88 Rob Mosser 1990-91-92-93
87 Aaron Rawl 2002-03-04-05
87 Jason Pomar 1996-97-98-99
86 Jamie Poston 1997-98-99-00
82 Tyler Webb 2010-11-12-13
ENGLISH IS A HIT
Sophomore outfielder Tanner English has hit safely in six of seven games this year. English is hitting .348 (8-for-23) for the season with seven runs scored and a .483 on-base percentage. English went 3-for-4 with two runs in the 14-1 win over Albany.
BRITT MAKES A STATEMENT
Freshman right-hander Curt Britt earned his first career save in his first career stint on the mound. Britt worked four innings of relief in the 8-3 victory over the Great Danes and allowed just one run on two hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
ON BASE WITH CHASE
Senior infielder Chase Vergason launched his second career home run in the 14-1 win over Albany. His previous homer came on May 5, 2012 at Arkansas. Vergason finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI. The three runs batted in were a career-high with the three hits tying a career-high as well.
Vergason is hitting .412 (7-for-17) with a .565 on-base percentage. He has scored six runs.
Senior left-hander Nolan Belcher improved to 1-1 for the season with a win in the 6-4 victory. Belcher allowed two runs on eight hits in six innings with no walks and seven strikeouts. Belcher leads the Gamecocks with 16 strikeouts in 11.2 innings of work.
SCHROCK DRIVES THEM IN
Freshman infielder Max Schrock drove in at least one run in all three games last weekend. Schrock was 2-for-5 with two RBI and two runs scored in the 14-1 win and followed that up with a 2-for-4 game with a triple in the 6-4 victory. Schrock has seven RBI for the year, second highest on the team and leads the Gamecocks with three stolen bases as well.
Sophomore infielder Joey Pankake had a RBI in each game as well this weekend. Pankake is hitting .353 (6-for-17).
A BRIGHT SPOT
Sophomore outfielder Connor Bright made his first start of the season in the 14-1 win and went 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored.
NINE TO FIVE
Carolina's nine-run total in the bottom of the 5th inning vs. Albany was the most runs in an inning by the Gamecocks since 10 on March 9, 2010 in the bottom of the third of a 12-4 win over Valparaiso.
1977 GAMECOCKS HONORED
Before last Saturday's game vs. Albany, the Gamecocks honored members of the 1977 National Runner-Up squad. June Raines' first club was recognized for their achievements and presented College World Series rings. Former players that returned were: William Allen, Jamie Chakales, Ronnie Crapps, John Hinkel, Hal Hutchens, Mark Kish, Randy Martz, Chuck McLean, Richard Ness, Robbie Parrish, Don Repsher, David Small, Michael Toalson and Mookie Wilson. Steve King's daughter also accepted her father's ring. Athletic trainer Daryl Driggers, assistant coach Johnny Hunton and June Raines attended as well.
The Gamecocks had six players see action for the first time in the Garnet & Black in the weekend series vs. Liberty. Curt Britt, Shon Carson, Ahmad Christian, Graham Saiko, Max Schrock and Jack Wynkoop made their debuts for the Gamecocks.
South Carolina has totaled 36,500 in attendance for its first five dates of the 2013 season, an average of 7,300 fans at Carolina Stadium. Opening Day featured a sellout crowd of 8,242 fans, the 27th sellout in Carolina Stadium history.
PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
Head coach Chad Holbrook
It's a great time to be a college baseball coach at South Carolina or Clemson, or to be a player at South Carolina or Clemson. It is a great series; it is what college baseball is all about. I think this series showcases college baseball from the emotions, to how important the series is, to the way the games are played. You have two terrific programs playing each other in the same state. Three stadiums will all be sold out. It is a great showcase for college baseball and it is a lot of fun to be a part of this rivalry. We are looking forward to starting the series against Clemson. We are very fortunate and we are looking forward to the weekend. It is a great deal for the state of South Carolina and college baseball in general.
On Joey Pankake's status...
Very hopeful, not much has changed since Tuesday. He is feeling better. He is not a shoe in to play right now, but he is not doubtful either. We are very hopeful that he can have a good practice today. I think I will know a little bit more after practice today. If he can't move laterally I'm not against DH'ing Joey. He could be in the lineup as a DH or a shortstop. I think he is that important.
On having a winning record against Clemson the last few years...
I think we have been very fortunate, there have been some very good games, and we have had some bounces go our way. They have great players, great coaches and they have been a great team for a long time; we have a pretty good tradition as well. Baseball is a game of breaks, we have had some diving breaks, and they have hit some balls right on the nose that we have caught. We have just been fortunate that we have been on the good side of that. When you get two really good teams and programs some one is going to lose and we have been fortunate to be on the good side of things the last couple of years, but it is not because we have been that much better. It is because they have been close, the games have been in the balance and we have made a critical play here or there, a critical pitch here or there to win a game.
Our players, you will find 35 guys in that locker room that are excited about playing and you will find 35 guys in Clemson's locker room that are excited about playing. When you come to play at South Carolina you look forward to these games. When you are coaching at South Carolina you look forward to it and it is no different at Clemson. I don't know if I can put my finger on why we have had success. They have beaten us too. Somebody asked me today, about that game in Omaha in which we won to go to the National Championship. That game could have gone either way, [Christian] Walker made a diving play, it has been things like that. We have the utmost respect for Clemson, their players, their coaches and their program. It is a great showcase for college baseball for our two teams to play.