March 20, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina (18-1, 2-1 SEC) returns to SEC action this weekend with a three-game series at Kentucky (15-6, 1-2 SEC). First pitch for the opener on Friday is 6:30 p.m. Game two is scheduled for 2 p.m. and will be televised on FOX Sports South. Sunday's series finale is set for 1 p.m. and will be streamed on ESPN3. All three games can be 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.
Television: Saturday only. FOX Sports South - Tom Werme and Larry Conley call the action.
Internet: Sunday's game streamed live on ESPN3. Additional coverage on Twitter @GamecockBasebll and Facebook/Gamecocksonline
PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
A LOOK BACK
SEDDON SEALS IT
MINCEY WITH AN APPEARANCE
Kentucky leads the SEC with a .323 batting average (241-for-746) at the plate as well as 18 homers, a .433 on-base percentage and a .475 slugging percentage. Senior catcher Micheal Thomas is the team's leading hitter at .431 (28-for-65) with three homers and 24 RBI. Junior pitcher/first baseman A.J. Reeds is one of the top power hitters in the country with a .403 average (29-for-72) with nine homers and 31 RBI. Junior center fielder Austin Cousino is also hitting .409 (38-for-93) with 28 runs scored, nine doubles, two triples and a pair of homers.
Reed is the probable starter on the mound on Friday night. He is 3-1 with a 1.91 ERA in 33.0 innings pitched. Junior right-hander Chandler Shepherd is expected to start on Saturday. He is 4-0 with a 2.41 ERA in 33.2 innings with 26 strikeouts and six walks.
LAST TIME VS. KENTUCKY
The Gamecocks had a balanced attack on the offensive side in the Kentucky series with seven different Gamecock players driving in at least one run as well as seven different players scoring at least one run. South Carolina hit .318 (35-for-110) for the weekend with a .372 on-base percentage. On the mound, the Gamecocks were solid as well with a 2.17 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 29 innings pitched.
Sophomore shortstop Joey Pankake hit .500 (7-for-14) against Kentucky with a homer, a pair of RBI and three runs scored. He went 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored in the 3-1 win in the series finale. The day before he had three hits in the 7-6 win and opened the series with a homer and two hits in the 5-2 win over the Wildcats.
In the first game of the doubleheader, trailing by two runs, Carolina rallied with four runs in the bottom of the sixth and added an insurance run in the seventh to defeat Kentucky 5-2. After spotting Kentucky a pair of runs in the top of the 6th, South Carolina answered with four runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 4-2 lead. Back-to-back home runs from Joey Pankake and LB Dantzler tied the game. With one out, Pankake drilled a 0-1 pitch from Reed over the wall in left field for his eighth home run of the season. Dantzler followed with his 11th homer of the year as he launched the first pitch he saw from Reed over the right field wall. The hit parade continued with Max Schrock, who knocked a double off the wall in right field. He would score on Brison Celek's RBI single to left-center. The Gamecocks took advantage of a UK miscue to score the fourth run of the inning. Connor Bright knocked a two-out double to left field. On the relay into the infield, UK shortstop Matt Reida threw past second baseman J.T. Riddle, allowing Celek to score from third to home. The Gamecocks added a run in the seventh.
In game two of the doubleheader, Brison Celek's RBI single in the bottom of the 11th inning lifted South Carolina to a 7-6 win.
Trailing 6-5 entering the bottom of the eighth, Grayson Greiner reached base on a fielding error by the Kentucky third baseman Max Kuhn to start the inning. After Connor Bright sacrificed him into scoring position, Greiner advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored on Graham Saiko's two-out RBI single to right field.
In the bottom of the 11th the Gamecocks rallied and secured the victory in walk-off fashion. Pankake and Kyle Martin opened the inning with consecutive singles and set the stage for Celek who knocked a 3-1 pitch to left field and drove in Pankake for the winning run.
Jack Wynkoop earned SEC Freshman of the Week as well. Wynkoop hurled a career-high eight innings to pick up his fifth win of the season in the 3-1 win over Kentucky to sweep the series. In only his third start vs. a SEC team, Wynkoop scattered nine hits and allowed just one run, unearned, while not walking a batter and striking out three.
MAX IT OUT
CROWE MAKES AN IMPACT
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
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
CALDWELL WITH THE ASSIST
IN A PINCH WITH BRISON
REAGAN SUPPLIES RELIEF
A LITTLE BIT OF ENGLISH
PANKAKE ON THE RISE
AT THE PLATE & IN THE FIELD
MONTGOMERY GETS IT STARTED
MOONEY LEADS IT OFF
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
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 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.
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