March 1, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The Gamecocks are back in action this weekend as college baseball's premier rivalry takes center stage. South Carolina (7-0) and Clemson (4-2) will meet in a three-game series beginning on Friday night at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park in Charleston, S.C. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. Saturday's contest is in Columbia at Carolina Stadium with first pitch scheduled for 2 p.m. Sunday's series finale at Doug Kingsmore Stadium in Clemson will begin at 2 p.m. also and will be broadcast live on ESPN3. All three games can also be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station 107.5 FM "The Game." Andy Demetra, Derek Scott and Tommy Moody will have the call. Saturday's game from Columbia will be streamed live on GamecocksOnline.com as well.
PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
DID YOU KNOW???
PRICE & BRADLEY AWARDS
RECAPPING LAST YEAR'S SERIES
Roth, who hurled a complete game vs. the Tigers in 2010 at the College World Series, was effective again as he allowed three runs, all unearned, on seven hits with six strikeouts and three walks in seven innings pitched. Gamecock right-hander Matt Price hurled 1.2 perfect innings of relief and struck out the side in the top of the ninth for a save. Clemson starter Scott Weismann suffered the loss. He went five innings and allowed four runs on six hits with three strikeouts and a walk.
Clemson broke ahead 3-0 in the top of the second inning with three unearned runs off of Roth. Richie Shaffer opened up the frame with a leadoff walk and the Tigers got their second base runner as John Hinson reached base on a fielding error on shortstop Peter Mooney. With two outs and runners on second and third base, Phil Pohl ripped a double down the left field line to score both runners. He would then score on a RBI single up the middle off the bat of Jason Stolz.
South Carolina answered in the bottom half of the second as Brady Thomas delivered with a two-run homer to cut the Clemson lead to 3-2. Thomas homered after Christian Walker led off with a hit by pitch.
It would remain that way until the bottom of the fifth when Walker delivered with his third home run of the season. With two outs and Evan Marzilli on second base, Walker drilled an 0-1 pitch from Weismann over the left-centerfield wall giving the Gamecocks a one-run lead.
Roth faced a moment of truth in the bottom of the sixth as the Tigers loaded the bases with two outs. Facing Jason Stolz and with a 3-2 count, Roth was able to induce a strikeout against the Tiger hitter bringing the packed house on to its feet as the Gamecocks remained ahead by a run. After Richie Shaffer led off the top of the eighth inning with a hit by pitch, the Gamecock bullpen battled as Bryan Harper came in to strike out John Hinson with Price relieving Harper then and getting Spencer Kieboom to roll into a 6-3 double play keeping the Gamecocks ahead 4-3.
Carolina received some much needed insurance in the bottom of the eighth then as Wingo drilled a two-run homer to right field to give Carolina a three-run cushion.
Clemson 10, South Carolina 5
A back-and-forth affair, the Gamecocks stormed back from a 3-1 deficit in the seventh inning with four runs to take a 5-3 lead on the Tigers thanks to a solo home run by Christian Walker, a RBI ground out by Michael Roth, a wild pitch and a RBI single off the bat of Evan Marzilli. With a 5-4 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth, the Gamecocks went with closer sophomore right-hander Matt Price. The Tigers got into scoring position as Jason Stolz led off with a single followed by a sacrifice bunt by Chris Epps. With Stolz in scoring position, Brad Miller knocked a single in the hole between short and third base. On the play, shortstop Peter Mooney bobbled the hard chopper that allowed Stolz to score and tied the game at 5-5. With Miller still on first base, Jeff Schaus drilled a RBI double to the gap in right-center scoring Miller and giving the Tigers a one-run lead. With two outs and runners on first and second base, Spencer Kieboom drew a bases loaded walk that brought Will Lamb to the plate. Lamb turned on a 1-2 pitch from Price that scored both Miller and Schaus increasing Clemson's lead to 9-5. Clemson pinch hitter Jon McGibbon added a RBI single that gave Clemson the 10-5 lead.
Clemson reliever Joseph Moorefield took the victory. He worked two scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Price suffered the loss. He allowed six runs on four hits with two walks in 0.2 innings pitched.
South Carolina broke ahead 1-0 in the bottom of the first inning as Jackie Bradley Jr. drilled a two-out solo home run to left-center, his third home run of the season. Clemson strung together three consecutive two-out hits in the bottom of the third including a RBI double by Jeff Schaus that went off the glove of first baseman Christian Walker and down the first base line scoring Chris Epps and Brad Miller to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead. Clemson made it 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth when Miller drew a bases loaded walk to give the Tigers a two-run cushion.
Carolina made its move in the top of the seventh inning. Walker gave the Gamecocks a boost as he drilled a homer to center field. Walker finished the night 2-for-4. After Brady Thomas reached base on a strikeout swinging with a wild pitch, Adrian Morales drew a walk to give the Gamecocks a pair of runners with no outs. After Peter Mooney's sacrifice bunt, the Gamecocks elected to go to pinch hitter Michael Roth who drilled a hard ground ball to first baseman Richie Shaffer that scored Thomas and tied the game at 3-3. After a walk to Scott Wingo put runners on the corners, Morales scored on a wild pitch by reliever David Haselden that put Carolina on top by a run. Marzilli kept the momentum going as he knocked a RBI single to right-center scoring Wingo and increasing the Gamecock lead to 5-3. Clemson would get an unearned run in the bottom of the seventh that cut Carolina's lead to one run before the eighth inning.
South Carolina (5) Clemson (4)
The Gamecocks got four runs in the seventh after struggling offensively through the first six innings. A leadoff walk to Christian Walker led to a sacrifice bunt from Brady Thomas, moving Walker to second. A single from Adrian Morales put runners at the corners with one out, and then Peter Mooney hit a high chopper to first that was mishandled by the first baseman, scoring Walker to tie the game at 1-1.
Junior Jake Williams then made the most of a pinch-hit opportunity, blasting a three-run home run - the first of his Carolina career - over the "Green Monster" in left field scoring Morales and Mooney to give the Gamecocks their first lead of the game at 4-1.
With one out in the eighth, junior Jackie Bradley Jr. poked one through the right side and stretched it into a double after the right fielder hesitated on his throw back to the infield. That led to Walker ripping a base hit up the middle to score Bradley from second and give the Gamecocks a 5-1 lead. Walker would then steal second and move to third on a groundout, and a walk to Morales would put runners at the corners, but the threat for more runs ended when Mooney hit a hot shot to right field but directly to the fielder to end the inning.
Clemson would not go quietly in the ninth. Brad Miller and Jeff Schaus led off the inning with back-to-back singles, and a walk to Richie Shaffer loaded the bases with no out, leading to a call to the bullpen for Friday starter Michael Roth. However, Roth would give up a single to the only batter he faced as John Hinson drove in Miller to make it 5-2. Closer Matt Price would then relieve Roth, inducing a 4-6-3 double play that scored Schaus from third to make it 5-3 with two out. Clemson center fielder Will Lamb then laced one into the right field corner for an RBI triple, cutting the deficit to 5-4 and putting the tying run 90 feet away. But Price would bear down and catch pinch-hitter Jon McGibbon looking at strike three to end the ballgame.
The first six innings were a pitchers' duel as Carolina's Adam Westmoreland allowed just one run on four hits through 5.1 innings, and Tiger starter David Haselden hurled six shutout innings while striking out five. The Tigers' lone run in the first eight innings came on a solo home run by Shaffer in the fourth.
Freshman Forrest Koumas (1-0) earned his first collegiate victory, pitching 2.1 innings of strong relief as he struck out three of the nine batters he faced, giving up three runs on three hits. Price earned his fourth save of the season, giving up just one hit and striking out one. Clemson's Alex Frederick (0-1) was charged with the loss as he surrendered three earned runs on two hits while facing just two batters in the seventh.
Offensively, the Gamecocks were led by Bradley, Morales and Mooney with two hits apiece. Walker's RBI single in the eighth extended his hitting streak to 15 games, dating back to last season's College World Series.
Williams earned the Tom Price Award as the South Carolina MVP of the 2011 Carolina-Clemson series. The Bob Bradley Award for the Clemson MVP went to catcher Spencer Kieboom.
Junior left-hander Nolan Belcher earned his first win since May 11, 2010 with 2.1 scoreless innings of relief. He allowed just one hit and struck out three batters. After junior right-hander Ethan Carter hurled 2.1 scoreless innings it would be junior left-hander Tyler Webb that would close the game out as he retired the final batter of the game on a fly out to earn his first save of the season.
A CALL TO ARMS
Last weekend against Elon, the staff allowed just three runs, one earned, on seven hits in 27 innings of work with 32 strikeouts vs. the Phoenix.
LET'S GET IT STARTED
ACTION FROM THE `PEN
Sophomore right-hander Forrest Koumas picked up his second save of the season in last Saturday's 3-2 win over Elon. With runners on first and second base and two outs, Koumas struck out the final out to end the Phoenix's threat and seal the Gamecock win. Koumas picked up his first career save in the 2-1 win on Opening Day. Koumas had 0.2 perfect innings with a strikeout to end the game.
Junior right-hander Ethan Carter and freshman right-hander Evan Beal combined for three perfect innings to close out the 6-0 win over Elon. On the first weekend, Carter returned to the mound for the Garnet & Black for the first time since 2010 and picked up a victory in relief of Matt Price in the 3-2 win over VMI. Carter's four innings are the most ever in his career with the Garnet & Black and he delivered with just two hits allowed while striking out six of the 13 batters he faced.
IF YOU BUILD IT - THEY WILL COME
Opening Day was sold out with a crowd of 8,242 in attendance. The three-game series vs. VMI totaled 23,253 for an average of 7,751 per contest.
South Carolina set a record for season tickets sold this year with a total of 5,580 sold in the preseason, surpassing the previous record of 5,414 set last year. South Carolina's total attendance of 297,279 for 40 games last year at Carolina Stadium was second highest in the country.
The Gamecocks own a 99-19 (.839) record since opening the facility on Feb. 21, 2009.
WALKER PROVIDES A PUNCH
Walker had a combined four hits in the doubleheader on Saturday vs. VMI. In the 13-1 victory he drove in a pair with a RBI single in a seven-run fourth inning and he also scored a run.
ENGLISH HAS A KNACK
English also factored in all three victories of the VMI series. He tallied two hits in the opener vs. VMI, had a RBI base hit in the 3-2 victory and capped that off with two runs scored and a RBI in the 13-1 win in the series finale.
Pankake was productive in the Elon series. He was 2-for-4 with a triple and three runs scored in the 8-1 win in the opener. He had two walks in Saturday's victory and a hit and a run scored in the Sunday series finale. Pankake is hitting .273 (6-for-22) with six runs scored.
LB LIGHTS IT UP
MARZILLI LEADS IT OFF
Marzilli returned to the leadoff role and was effective in the first weekend vs. VMI as he hit .500 (6-for-12) with a .538 on-base percentage. Marzilli had a 3-for-4 day at the plate on Opening Day. He scored the game-winning run in the opener and also was effective in the 13-1 victory as he went 2-for-4 with a triple, run scored and two RBI.
AT THE PLATE & ON THE FIELD
ROTH A CANDIDATE FOR THE LOWE'S SENIOR CLASS AWARD
Roth is in his second straight year as captain for the baseball team. He is a Preseason All-America selection and was a 2011 consensus All-American and CollegeBaseballInsider.com's National Player of the Year. Last year, Roth was named to the College World Series All-Tournament Team and was a first-team CoSIDA Academic All-American as well. He also earned the NCAA Elite 88 award as the student-athlete with the highest GPA of all student-athletes in the 2011 College World Series.
Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the Senior CLASS Award® winner during the 2012 NCAA College World Series, which will be held June 15-26 in Omaha. The 30 candidates will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, Division I head coaches and fans who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition. For more information on all the candidates, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.
DYNAMIC DUO BEHIND THE DISH
Junior catcher Dante Rosenberg played a pivotal role in the 3-2 win over VMI on Saturday. Rosenberg was 2-for-4 with two doubles, a run scored and a RBI including the game-winning RBI hit in the bottom of the sixth inning in the victory.
SOUTH CAROLINA IN THE RANKINGS
TJ SHOWS SOME POWER
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