COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina (18-3, 2-1 SEC) returns to action this weekend hosting a three-game series vs. Arkansas (14-7, 1-2 SEC). First pitch for the opener on Friday is set for 7:30 p.m. with the game being televised live on CSS with live streaming available at ESPN3. Columbia residents with Time Warner Cable can access the game on channel 506 as well. Saturday's game is scheduled for 3:15 p.m. and will be televised live on Fox Sports South and Fox Sports Carolinas with live streaming available at ESPN3. Sunday's series finale is 1:30 p.m. with live video streaming at GamecocksOnline.com on the All Access Channel. All three games can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station, 107.5 FM, "The Game."
LIVE COVERAGE Radio: Gamecock Radio Network affiliates/Flagship WNKT FM 107.5 "The Game" in Columbia. Andy Demetra & Tommy Moody have the call.
Television: Friday - CSS & Columbia Time Warner Cable Channel 506 (Matt Stewart & Rod Delmonico). Saturday - FS South/FS Carolinas (Dave Neal & Larry Conley)
Internet: Live Gametracker stats at GamecocksOnline.com. Additional coverage on Twitter @GamecockBasebll and Facebook/Gamecocksonline
South Carolina - TBA
Arkansas - Randall Fant (Sr. LHP) 1-0, 1.12 ERA, 16.0 IP, 0 BB, 13 SO
Overall: Arkansas Leads 32-28
LAST 5 YEARS
Date Winner Score Site
6/22/12 SC 3-2 Omaha
6/21/12 SC 2-0 Omaha
6/18/12 ARK 2-1 Omaha
5/6/12 SC 10-7 Fayetteville
5/5/12 ARK 7-6 Fayetteville
5/4/12 SC 8-6 (10)Fayetteville
5/15/11 SC 7-1 Columbia
5/14/11 SC 6-5 Columbia
5/13/11 ARK 6-2 Columbia
5/16/10 SC 5-3 Fayetteville
5/15/10 SC 5-0 Fayetteville
4/5/09 ARK 7-4 Columbia
4/4/09 SC 9-1 Columbia
4/3/09 ARK 6-4 Columbia
5/11/08 ARK 4-2 Fayetteville
5/10/08 ARK 6-3 Fayetteville
5/9/08 ARK 12-11 Fayetteville
GAMECOCKS IN THE RANKINGS
South Carolina is ranked for the sixth straight week. The Gamecocks remain No. 5 by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball and No. 6 in this week's USA Today coaches' poll. Arkansas is ranked as No. 17 in the USA Today coaches' poll as well as No. 21 by Baseball America and No. 28 by Collegiate Baseball.
A LOOK BACK
South Carolina belted three home runs and freshman left-hander Jack Wynkoop allowed just two runs on five hits in 5.1 innings to earn his fourth win of the year as the Gamecocks defeated The Citadel 9-5 at Riley Park in front of 5,838 fans on Tuesday evening.
Grayson Greiner tallied a two-run homer in the third inning, LB Dantzler added a solo shot in the fourth inning and Joey Pankake hit a two-run homer in the ninth to help lead the Gamecocks to a win. Both Greiner and Pankake drove in three runs as well.
Wynkoop is now 4-0 on the year. He struck out five batters and walked just one. Senior left-hander Tyler Webb pitched two perfect innings of relief with two strikeouts to pick up his eighth save of the season. The Citadel starting pitcher Logan Cribb suffered the loss and is 1-2 for the season. He lasted only 3.2 innings and allowed three runs on four hits with three walks and a pair of strikeouts.
BELCHER BRINGS IT
Senior left-handed pitcher Nolan Belcher has pitched 26.1 consecutive scoreless innings on the mound for the Gamecocks. Belcher worked 8.1 scoreless innings in the 2-0 victory vs. Missouri on Saturday afternoon. He did not allow a runner to reach second base in the entire contest. Belcher limited the Tigers to just five hits and struck out six batters while walking none. He has not allowed a walk since the Liberty game on opening weekend, a span of 31.1 innings. For the season, Belcher is 4-1 with a 1.25 ERA in 36.0 innings pitched. He has 36 strikeouts to just one walk on the year. Opponents are hitting .206 against him.
Belcher pitched the first complete game shutout of his career in the 8-0 victory vs. Clemson. Belcher allowed just three hits and no walks while striking out seven batters in the win. Only one base runner reached third base the entire game for the Tigers. It is the first complete game shutout by a Gamecock pitcher since Sam Dyson on May 15, 2010 in a 5-0 win at Arkansas. Belcher's complete game shutout was also the first by a Gamecock pitcher in the Clemson series since May 4, 1986 when Rodney Richey hurled a four-hit complete game shutout in a 5-0 victory vs. the Tigers at Sarge Frye Field.
TJ TOPS THE LIST FROM LAST WEEK
Sophomore outfielder TJ Costen was the Gamecocks' top hitter last week. Costen hit .429 (6-for-14) in five games with a pair of doubles, two RBI and four runs scored. Costen had a key two-run single and a pair of hits in the 4-1 win over Missouri last Friday. He also went 3-for-4 with two doubles and three runs scored in the 12-3 win over USC Upstate. The hits, doubles and runs scored were all career highs.
Tyler Webb MAKES HIS MARK
Senior left-hander Tyler Webb worked two perfect innings to tally his eighth save of the year in the 9-5 win at The Citadel.
Webb has pitched 26.2 consecutive innings of relief without allowing a run dating back to last year when he allowed a run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning in a win over Clemson in the NCAA Regional. Since he recorded the final out of that game, Webb has gone on to pitch 17 consecutive relief appearances without yielding a run.
Webb has eight saves in 11 appearances on the year and has not allowed a run in 13.1 innings with just three walks and five hits allowed while striking out 20 batters. Opponents are hitting just .119 against him.
Webb has 89 appearances in his Gamecock career, third all-time in school history. The record is 102 set last year by Matt Price (2009-12). He has pitched in relief in 77 of those appearances, with 62relief appearances without allowing a run (80.5 percent). In career relief appearances he is 8-1 with 11 saves.
Sophomore right-hander Evan Beal was stellar in his second consecutive Friday night start. Beal allowed just one run on eight hits in 6.1 innings of work with one walk and a career-high 10 strikeouts in the 4-1 win over Missouri. Beal's 10 strikeouts are also the most by a Gamecock pitcher this season. Beal is 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA in 16.0 innings with just three walks to 21 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting .203 against him.
Beal was effective in his first start of the year and only his second career start as a Gamecock. Beal worked six scoreless innings in the 2-0 win y over Rider with just one hit and two walks allowed while striking out six batters. At one point in the contest, he retired 14 consecutive batters.
Sophomore shortstop Joey Pankake continues to raise his season average. Pankake had a key two-run homer as well as three RBI in the 9-5 win over The Citadel.
Last week, he went 6-for-17 (.353) with four runs scored and three RBI in five games. Pankake is the team's second best hitter on the year with a .343 average (23-for-67) with five homers, 16 runs scored and 20 RBI. He reached base in all five plate appearances in the 12-3 win over USC Upstate with three hits and two walks as well as a RBI and two runs scored. Pankake has reached base safely in 14 straight games.
Pankake was named "Louisville Slugger's" National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball and was also named SEC Player of the Week on March 11. Pankake belted four homers, scored seven runs and knocked in nine runs for the Gamecocks the week of March 4-10 and he hit .438 (7-for-16).
Pankake was the second Gamecock player this year to earn SEC Player of the Week honors. LB Dantzler was an honoree by the conference on Feb. 25.
GREINER NAMED TO JOHNNY BENCH AWARD WATCH LIST
South Carolina sophomore catcher Grayson Greiner is one of 48 catchers in the nation to be named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List as announced by the Greater Wichita Sports Commission and presented by BaseballSavings.com.
Greiner homered and drove in three runs in the 9-5 win over The Citadel. He also homered, tallied two hits and had two runs scored as well in the 4-1 win over Missouri. Greiner is hitting .241 (14-for-58) with seven runs scored and 13 RBI. He has 134 putouts, eight assists, no errors and 14 starts behind the plate.
The watch list will be narrowed down to the semifinalists, whom will be announced May 16, 2013. Ballots will be sent to the national voting panel at the end of May for a vote to determine the three finalists. The finalists will be announced June 4, 2013. A final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series. All finalists will be brought to Wichita and the winner will be announced at the 15th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 27, 2013.
JACK OF ALL TRADES
Freshman left-hander Jack Wynkoop improved to 4-0 on the year with a win at The Citadel on Tuesday night. He allowed just two runs on five hits in 5.1 innings.
He retired the first 16 batters in the 10-0 win over Ball State. Wynkoop allowed just two hits in six innings of work with no walks and struck out five batters to earn the win.
The 5-2 win over Furman featured the first career start and victory for Wynkoop. Wynkoop hurled 5.1 scoreless innings, scattered five hits with no walks while striking out a pair of batters.
Wynkoop is 4-0 with a 1.40 ERA in 19.1 innings pitched with 13 strikeouts and three walks.
SCHROCK DRIVES THEM IN
Freshman infielder Max Schrock is hitting .260 (20-for-77) for the season with 15 runs scored and 16 RBI. Schrock was 2-for-3 with three RBI and a pair of runs in the 12-3 win over USC Upstate. He followed that up with another 2-for-3 day and two runs in the 12-4 win over Davidson. Schrock leads the Gamecocks with seven multi-hit games.
DANTZLER AT THE BAT
Senior first baseman LB Dantzler continues to lead the Gamecocks at the plate with a .351 batting average (26-for-74) for the season with a team-high seven homers and 24 RBI as well. Dantzler had a pair of homers and six RBI in the 12-4 win over Davidson. It was Dantzler's first two-homer game at South Carolina and a career-high in RBI as well. It is also the most RBI by a Gamecock player in a game this season.
Dantzler was named SEC Player of the Week after the Albany series when he 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. In an 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.
ON BASE WITH CHASE
Senior third baseman Chase Vergason hit a key solo homer in the 2-0 victory over Missouri. Vergason is hitting .303 (20-for-66) with 11 RBI and 14 runs scored. He has three doubles and three homers. He has a .446 on-base percentage as well.
AT THE PLATE & ON THE FIELD
South Carolina is hitting .286 as a team (193-for-676) with 19 homers and 139 runs scored. The team has a .391 on-base percentage with 108 walks and 20 hit by pitches to 123 strikeouts. The team is fielding .979 as a team with just 16 errors for the season. South Carolina did not commit an error in the Missouri series and has 12 errorless games for the season.
ON THE MOUND
The Gamecock pitching staff owns a 2.18 ERA in 186.0 innings pitched with 183 strikeouts to 52 walks. Opponents are hitting .215 against the Gamecock pitching staff.
South Carolina has allowed five runs or less in 19 of 22 games played this season. The Gamecocks are 17-2 when allowing five runs or less with a 17-0 record when leading after the sixth inning. South Carolina is 8-2 in games decided by three runs or less.
BRITT SHOWS VERSATILITY
Freshman right-hander Curt Britt earned his first career victory in the 12-4 win over Davidson. Bright worked two scoreless innings of relief without allowing a hit. Britt is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA in 9.2 innings of work. Opponents are hitting just .182 against him. He also had a pinch-hit single in the final game of the Missouri series.
SEDDON SETTLES IN
Sophomore right-hander Joel Seddon was stellar in his first start of the year as the Gamecocks defeated Davidson. He pitched four scoreless innings with just two hits allowed while striking out a career-high six batters. Seddon is 1-0 with a 2.84 ERA on the year in 6.1 innings with 10 strikeouts.
WESTMORELAND EFFECTIVE IN RELIEF
Senior left-hander Adam Westmoreland earned his first career save in the 9-5 win over Ball State. Westmoreland worked 3.2 scoreless innings without allowing a hit and walking just one while striking out three batters.
He is 1-0 with one save in six relief appearances with a 1.06 ERA. He has 16 strikeouts in 17 innings. Opponents batting average against him is .200.
A BRIGHT SPOT
Sophomore outfielder Connor Bright has 15 starts this year. Bright hit a solo home run in the 9-5 win over Rider. He is hitting .289 (13-for-45) with seven runs scored, two doubles, a triple, a homer and five RBI.
The 8-0 win at Carolina Stadium vs. Clemson was played in front of a sellout crowd of 8,242 fans, the second sellout of the season for the Gamecocks. South Carolina owns a 22-6 record in 28 career sellouts at Carolina Stadium since its opening in 2009.
A BIT OF ENGLISH
Sophomore center fielder Tanner English is hitting .324 (11-for-34) with 10 runs scored. He has a .500 on-base percentage.
Quotes form Head coach Chad Holbrook Opening Statement...
Obviously this is a big weekend for us, and it's a big weekend for Arkansas. We think the world of Arkansas' program, obviously they were preseason No. 1 in most all polls, and they return an incredible pitching staff led by [Ryne] Stanek, [Barrett] Astin, and [Brandon] Moore. They have some young guys in there too that are throwing well. I told our guys yesterday that we are going to face three Friday night starters this weekend, and I certainly believe that. We feel like we are in a good spot as well, we're getting more healthy as every day goes by, but we're not quite there yet. Our kids have played well. This is why you come to play in the SEC at programs like South Carolina and Arkansas, to be a part of weekends like this.
On Sunday's starter...
I might not know until Saturday night, I'm not leaning in any direction. Obviously [Jack] Wynkoop threw the ball well, but if we have to use Wynkoop or Colby Holmes to help us win on Saturday, we might just do it. That's the main reason for the TBA on Sunday. We try to win our next game around here, and that's what we're going to try to do. We feel good about who we'll be able to put out there on Sunday, and I certainly think that there is a strong possibility that it will be either Wynkoop or Holmes.
On what he remembers most from the last time South Carolina played Arkansas in the College World Series...
The games were incredible. What sticks out the most to me is that we won, but we have the utmost respect for Arkansas and those games were incredible games. We couldn't score off of them, they struggled to score off of us, and there were some incredible defensive plays. What really sticks out is just two really, really good baseball programs. I think they enjoy playing us and we enjoy playing them, there's mutual respect on both sides. They play the game the way it's supposed to be played. I know Coach [Ray] Tanner has always had the utmost respect for Arkansas' program as well and our players know they're really good. I think for our players' sake, for those that were involved in those games in Omaha and even in Fayetteville last year, they know how good they are and that we have a heck of a challenge ahead of us.