COLUMBIA, S.C. -
South Carolina (18-1) heads on the road for a Tuesday non-conference tilt at The Citadel (8-12). First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park. The game can heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station 107.5 FM, "The Game," with Andy Demetra and Tommy Moody on the call. Live gametracker stats are also available at GamecocksOnline.
South Carolina is ranked No. 1 by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball as well as No. 2 by Perfect Game and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll.
LIVE COVERAGE Radio: Gamecock IMG Radio Network; Flagship 107.5 FM The Game.
Internet: Additional coverage on Twitter @GamecockBasebll and Facebook/Gamecocksonline
PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
South Carolina - Evan Beal (Jr. RHP) 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 0.0 IP, 0 BB, 0 SO
The Citadel - Austin Mason (So. RHP) 0-0, 6.75 ERA, 6.2 IP, 5 BB, 4 SO
A LOOK BACK
South Carolina defeated Furman 5-0 in midweek action and followed that up with a pair of wins in a weekend series vs. 12th ranked Ole Miss to open SEC play. The Gamecocks are 18-1 on the year with a 2-1 record in league action.
South Carolina's pitching staff pitching staff leads the league with a 1.36 ERA. The Gamecocks have 167 strikeouts in 172.0 innings. Opponents are hitting .206 against the Gamecocks. The South Carolina bullpen continues to impress with a scoreless inning streak of 61.1 innings without allowing a run; the last run given up by the pen was Opening Day vs. Bucknell on Feb. 15, 2014.
SEDDON SEALS IT
Leading the way in the bullpen efforts is junior right-hander Joel Seddon. Seddon worked a scoreless inning of relief in the 10th inning of a 5-4 win over Ole Miss in game one of a doubleheader and followed that up with 0.2 scoreless in the nightcap for his sixth save of the season. Seddon is 1-0 on the year with just two hits allowed in 11.1 innings as well as 16 strikeouts to just two walks. He has made 10 relief appearances. His six saves is tied for the highest in the league.
MINCEY WITH AN APPEARANCE
Also with 10 relief appearances is junior right-hander Cody Mincey. Mincey pitched three scoreless innings of relief in the 3-1 win over Ole Miss in the rubber game with just one hit allowed and four strikeouts. Mincey has 22 strikeouts to just four walks in 14.0 innings pitched. He has yielded only five hits on the year.
SCOUTING THE CITADEL
The Citadel enters the contest with an 8-12 overall record. The Citadel brings a strong resume to the table with a win over Louisville in the Homewood Suites Tournament to open the 2014 season as well as two of three wins vs. Nebraska in early March.
The Bulldogs are hitting .276 (181-for-655) as a team. Mason Davis leads The Citadel at the plate with a .338 average (26-for-77). Bo Thompson is the team's leading power hitter with four homers and 19 RBI. Tyler Griffin has three homers and 15 RBI as well.
Sophomore right-hander Austin Mason will make his third start of the season against the Gamecocks. He has a 6.75 ERA in 6.2 innings with five walks and four strikeouts. The Bulldogs leading arm in the bullpen is Skylar Hunter, who is 1-2 with a 2.25 ERA and four saves in nine appearances. He has 13 strikeouts in 12.0 innings pitched.
LAST TIME VS. THE CITADEL Joey Pankake led off the bottom of the ninth inning with a walk-off homer to left-center to lift eighth ranked South Carolina to a 6-5 win over The Citadel on April 9, 2013 at Carolina Stadium.
Pankake's homer was his sixth of the season. After The Citadel rallied for three runs in the top of the ninth inning to tie the game, Pankake quickly responded for the Gamecocks as he launched a 1-0 pitch to left-center from Bulldog right-hander David Rivera to set off the celebration.
Right-hander Curt Britt earned the win after 0.1 innings of work allowing just one hit.
The Citadel grabbed a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Mason Davis led off with a single and stole second base. After a groundout, Joe Jackson would walk to give the Bulldogs a pair of runners. On Seddon's 1-0 pitch, Bo Thompson knocked a RBI double past Gamecock third baseman Chase Vergason and down the left field line to score both runners.
South Carolina tied it at 2-2 in the bottom of the fifth inning. Dante Rosenberg led off the inning with a home run, his first career homer as a Gamecock. The Gamecock catcher knocked the first pitch he saw from Austin Livingston over the wall in left field. The inning continued with Tanner English reaching base on an infield single as he beat out the throw to first by the shortstop. A failed pickoff attempt moved English over to second base. After a deep flyout to center by Saiko advanced English to third base, Carolina would tie it on Vergason's sacrifice fly to center.
The Gamecocks took a three-run lead in the bottom of the seventh inning. Vergason would jumpstart the inning with a one-out base hit. With two outs, LB Dantzler drew a walk to put a pair of runners on base. The chess match then began as the Gamecocks sent up pinch hitter Kyle Martin. With Martin being a left-handed bat, The Citadel went to the pen for left-hander James Reeves. One more time, Carolina countered, as Brison Celek entered for Martin to give the Gamecocks a right-handed bat. On a 1-0 pitch, Celek delivered with a RBI single up the middle scoring Vergason. After a Connor Bright hit loaded the bases, Grayson Greiner drove in a pair of runs with a double.
The Citadel didn't waver though and scored three times to tie the game at 5-5 in the top of the ninth inning. Hughtson Armstrong reached base with a one-out base hit. A single by Joe Jackson followed to bring the tying run to the plate. The Gamecocks would bring in right-hander Evan Beal, who got the second out of the inning as he coaxed Thompson into a popup. However, the Bulldogs loaded the bases with a base hit by Jason Smith. A walk to Drew DeKerlegand allowed Armstrong to score and cut Carolina's lead to a pair of runs. With Britt on in relief, Johnathan Stokes laced a two-run single into left field to tie the game. Britt worked out of the inning recording the third out on a popup by Brett Bullard.
Vince Fiori had a quality outing out of the pen for Carolina. He pitched 4.1 scoreless with just two hits allowed.
South Carolina finished with 13 hits while The Citadel tallied 11 for the game. Bright went 3-for-4 with Pankake, Greiner, Rosenberg and English all with two apiece. Joe Jackson was 3-for-4 with Davis and Stokes each recording two hits for The Citadel.
MAX IT OUT
Sophomore infielder Max Schrock had a flair for the dramatic last weekend. Despite a sprained ankle, Schrock came on in a pinch-hit role and without taking batting practice before the game, launched a two-out two-run homer to right field in the bottom of the 9th to help the Gamecocks rally to a 5-4 10-inning win over the Rebels. The previous day, Schrock tied a career-high with four hits including a homer as well as two RBI and two runs scored in the 6-4 loss. Schrock is hitting .354 (17-for-48) on the year with a team-high four homers and 10 RBI. He has a .467 on-base percentage and a .625 slugging mark. His four homers is tied for third-highest in the SEC.
South Carolina's 16-game winning streak to open the year was the best start for South Carolina since the 2004 season when the Gamecocks opened with an 18-0 record.
CROWE MAKES AN IMPACT
Freshman right-hander Wil Crowe improved to 4-0 on the year with a win in the 3-1 rubber game victory over Ole Miss. Crowe limited the Rebels to just one run on six hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 5.1 innings. Crowe owns a 1.10 ERA in 32.2 innings with 23 strikeouts to four walks. Opponents are hitting .196 against him.
Crowe was honored twice by the Southeastern Conference in the first two weeks of the regular season. On February 24, he earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors after working 6.1 scoreless innings in a 6-0 win over Eastern Kentucky with just four hits allowed and one walk to pick up his second win of the season.
The first week, Crowe was SEC Pitcher of the Week. He had an impressive debut as he hurled 6.1 hitless innings in his first career start. Crowe walked just one and hit one batter while finishing with five strikeouts to earn his first career win in a Gamecock uniform. Bucknell had just one runner reach second base and none reach third base while Crowe was on the mound. Crowe retired 13 consecutive batters in a row before coming out of the game as he reached his pitch count total.
A BRIGHT SPOT
Junior outfielder Connor Bright leads the Gamecocks and is tied for the SEC lead in hitting with a .417 average (30-for-72). He has 17 runs scored and 18 RBI and leads the team with 10 doubles. Bright also has a .458 on-base percentage. He was 2-for-4 with a run scored in the 3-1 win over Ole Miss as well as 2-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored in the 5-4 win.
Freshman right-hander Reed Scott was key in the 5-4 win over Ole Miss. With the Gamecocks trailing 4-0 entering the top of the fourth, Scott kept the Rebels at bay as he pitched a career-high six scoreless innings of relief with just three hits allowed and no walks while striking out a career-high six batters to help Carolina to the 5-4 rally. Scott also had a scoreless inning of relief with a strikeout in the 5-0 win over Furman last Tuesday.
Junior catcher Grayson Greiner was named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List for the top catcher in college baseball.
Greiner is hitting .354 (23-for-65) with a team-high 20 runs scored and a team-high 20 RBI as well as three homers and four doubles. He ranks fourth in the SEC in runs and fifth in RBI. Greiner also had a team-high 11 walks. Greiner scored the game-winning run in the 5-4 win over Ole Miss and followed that up with a RBI in the 3-1 win.
Greiner hit .455 (5-for-11) in the Brown series with six runs scored and a RBI. With five hits and a walk, Greiner scored all six times he reached base in the Brown series.
Greiner won the Tom Price award as the MVP for South Carolina in the weekend series vs. Clemson. Greiner hit .400 (4-for-10) for the weekend with four runs scored. His grand slam homer helped lift South Carolina to a 9-6 win. He had a team-high four walks on the weekend as well.
WIDENER PICKS UP FIRST CAREER WIN
Freshman right-hander Taylor Widener won his first collegiate start in a predetermined split as he pitched 3.1 scoreless innings in the 5-0 win over Furman. Widener had allowed just five hits and two walks in 7.2 innings with six strikeouts. Opponents are hitting .179 against him.
CALDWELL WITH THE ASSIST
Junior outfielder Elliott Caldwell came up big in left field in both games of the doubleheader vs. Ole Miss. Caldwell threw out two runners at home plate in the 5-4 win and followed that up with another outfield assist in the nightcap. Caldwell had two hits in the 5-4 win and had three hits in the 5-0 win over Furman. Caldwell is hitting .288 (15-for-52) on the year. His two assists in the 5-4 win tied a USC single-game record.
Sophomore left-hander Vince Fiori was stellar in relief in Friday's loss. Fiori pitched 2.2 scoreless innings with just two hits allowed and one walk while striking out two batters. Fiori has pitched 8.1 scoreless innings of relief with nine strikeouts in six relief appearances.
IN A PINCH WITH BRISON
Senior Brison Celek is 3-for-3 (1.000) in a pinch-hit role this year. Celek tallied another big pinch-hit last week as his game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning lifted South Carolina to a 5-4 win over Ole Miss. Celek had a big pinch-hit single in a 5-3 win at Clemson with two outs in the ninth inning that kept the inning and game alive as well.
REAGAN SUPPLIES RELIEF
Freshman left-hander Josh Reagan was effective in relief of Taylor Widener vs. Furman. Reagan pitched 2.2 scoreless with a pair of strikeouts in the 5-0 win. He is 2-0 on the year with a 0.00 ERA in five appearances. Reagan has 11 strikeouts in 11.1 innings pitched.
A LITTLE BIT OF ENGLISH
Junior outfielder Tanner English's numbers continue to rise with a .339 batting average (21-for-62) and a .431 on-base percentage. He was 1-for-2 with a RBI and a run scored in the 5-0 win over Furman, 2-for-4 with a run scored in the 5-4 win over Ole Miss and a perfect RBI bunt with two outs to score the go-ahead run in the 3-1 win over Ole Miss.
PANKAKE ON THE RISE
Junior infielder Joey Pankake owns a seven-game hitting streak. Pankake is up to a .286 (18-for-63) batting average. He went 2-for-4 with a RBI in the 3-1 win over Ole Miss and was 2-for-5 with a run scored in the 5-4 victory over the Rebels. Pankake has a .403 on-base percentage with nine walks and four hit by pitches to just six strikeouts. He has scored 19 runs this year.
Junior first baseman Kyle Martin continues to be among the team's leaders in hitting with a .343 average (24-for-70). Sophomore infielder Marcus Mooney is also doing well at the plate with a .304 average (21-for-69) and a .400 on-base percentage.
The Gamecocks are 17-0 on the year when allowing five runs or less in a game. Additionally, South Carolina is 9-0 when scoring six or more runs. South Carolina is 7-1 in games decided by three runs or less.
AT THE PLATE & IN THE FIELD
South Carolina is hitting .315 (203-for-645) as a team with a .396 on-base percentage and a .442 slugging percentage. All three of those marks are second highest in the SEC. South Carolina has fielded .980 as a team with only 14 errors.
South Carolina's 13-0 victory over Brown featured a team-high 18 hits. The 18-hit total is third highest by the Gamecocks in a game in the Chad Holbrook era. South Carolina has reached double-digit hit totals in 10 of 16 games this year.
MONTGOMERY GETS IT STARTED
Junior left-hander Jordan Montgomery is 3-1 with a 3.14 ERA in 28.2 innings with a team-high 30 strikeouts to 11 walks.
MOONEY LEADS IT OFF
Sophomore infielder Marcus Mooney is hitting .304 (21-for-69) with nine runs scored and 10 RBI. Nine of his 10 RBI this year have come with two outs.
Mooney was Carolina's top hitter two weeks ago. Mooney hit .474 (9-for-19) vs. Stetson and Brown with a run scored and four RBI.
JACK OF ALL TRADES
Sophomore left-hander Jack Wynkoop is 4-0 on the year after earning a win vs. Brown. Wynkoop pitched eight scoreless innings allowing just four hits and no walks with five strikeouts. His eight innings pitched tied a career-high he set as a freshman vs. Kentucky.
Wynkoop has a 1.84 ERA in 29.1 innings with 25 strikeouts to three walks.
Wynkoop pitched 7.1 scoreless innings and struck out a career-high 10 batters in a 2-0 win over Eastern Kentucky on February 22. He allowed just three hits and one walk.
HOME SWEET HOME
South Carolina has two sellouts this year and 32 in school history at Carolina Stadium. South Carolina has totaled 125,610 in attendance in the first 17 home games for an average of 7,388 per contest.
South Carolina is 171-33 in all-time games at Carolina Stadium, a winning percentage of .838. That is the best winning percentage of all 14 SEC schools since opening the facility.