Gamecocks ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation this week
March 24, 2014
South Carolina-College of Charleston Game Notes
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina (19-3) begins a six-game homestand on Tuesday hosting College of Charleston (16-7). First pitch is 7 p.m. The game 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 and video stream are also available at GamecocksOnline.
South Carolina is ranked No. 2 by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball as well as No. 3 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll and No. 4 by Perfect Game.
Radio: Gamecock IMG Radio Network; Flagship 107.5 FM The Game. Andy Demetra and Tommy Moody call the action.
Internet: Additional coverage on Twitter @GamecockBasebll and Facebook/Gamecocksonline
Follow @GamecockBasebll on Twitter
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUP
South Carolina - Taylor Widener (Fr. RHP) 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 10.0 IP, 2 BB, 9 SO
CofC - Tyler Thornton (Fr. RHP) 0-1, 4.71 ERA, 21.0 IP, 6 BB, 12 SO
DID YOU KNOW??
Joey Pankake is hitting .385 (15-for-39) during his current 10-game hitting streak with a .455 on-base percentage.
A LOOK BACK
South Carolina won one of three games at Kentucky in a weekend SEC baseball series. The Gamecocks are 19-3 on the year and 3-3 in the SEC.
The Gamecocks also have a midweek contest on Wednesday vs. Coastal Carolina at 7 p.m. with the game televised live on FOX Sports South. SEC action resumes over the weekend with a three-game series vs. Tennessee. The homestand concludes on Tuesday, April 1 vs. Appalachian State.
SCOUTING COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
College of Charleston enters with a 16-7 record. The Cougars will have their final tuneup on Tuesday vs. the Gamecocks before opening its first conference series in the Colonial Athletic Association with a three-game set vs. Northeastern.
Sophomore third baseman Blake Butler is the team's leading hitter with a .344 average (33-for-96) with 19 runs scored. Senor left fielder Brandon Murray has four homers and 19 RBI and the team's best slugging percentage at .513. Junior second baseman Gunnar Heidt played with Tanner English at St. James HS. He is hitting .256 (21-for-82) with 21 runs scored, three homers and 16 RBI.
College of Charleston will send freshman RHP Tyler Thornton to the hill vs. the Gamecocks on Tuesday. Thornton is 0-1 with a .471 ERA in 21.0 innings. This will be his fourth start and 10th appearance for the Cougars.
Head coach Monte Lee is in sixth season at the helm of the Cougars. Lee served as Volunteer Assistant under Ray Tanner at South Carolina from 2003-08 and was part of a pair of College World Series teams in the Garnet & Black as well as six NCAA Regional squads.
LAST TIME VS. COLLEGE OF CHARLESTON
South Carolina pounded out 14 hits including home runs from Connor Bright, Joey Pankake and Graham Saiko as the Gamecocks defeated College of Charleston 10-6 on April 16, 2013 in non-conference action at Carolina Stadium.
Vince Fiori earned his first win of the season after pitching 2.1 innings of relief. He allowed one run, unearned, on two hits and struck out two batters. Patrick Sullivan and Adam Westmoreland each pitched 1.2 scoreless innings of relief with Sullivan allowing only one hit and striking out a batter while Westmoreland allowed no hits, with one walk and two strikeouts. College of Charleston starter Player Loving suffered the loss and falls to 1-2 on the year. Loving pitched one-plus inning, allowed five runs on five hits and walked one.
The Gamecocks took a quick 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first. With one out, Chase Vergason was hit by a pitch for a team-leading 10th time this season. Joey Pankake then hit a ball hard up the middle to put runners on the corners for LB Dantzler who drove in Vergason with a single to left-center.
Carolina scored four runs in the bottom of the second to go ahead 5-0. Grayson Greiner drew a four-pitch walk to open the frame setting it up for Bright, who hit his fourth homer of the season, crushing a ball over the left field wall. Back-to-back singles by Tanner English and Graham Saiko followed by a walk to Vergason loaded the bases and a pair of sacrifice flies off the bats of Pankake and Dantzler would bring home English and Saiko respectively.
The Cougars responded with a four-run inning of their own to cut the Gamecocks' lead to 5-4. Devon Reed was hit by a pitch to start the top of the third, Carl Wise singled to put runners on the corners for Gunnar Heidt, who then drilled a ball past Pankake to bring home Reed and put the Cougars on the board. Brandon Murray sent a 2-1 pitch to deep left center field scoring Wise and a sacrifice fly off bat of Ben Boykin would bring in Heidt. With Murray in scoring position, pinch hitter Cody Martin knocked a double to the gap in right center field, driving in Murray and leaving South Carolina with a one-run lead.
The Gamecocks tallied two more runs in the bottom of the third to take a 7-4 lead over the Cougars. After Max Schrock drew a leadoff walk, Bright hammered a double to left-center, bringing home Schrock and tying a career-high with three RBI's in a game. Bright would come home when Saiko sent a ball soaring over the College of Charleston second baseman for a RBI single.
The Cougars added another run in the top of the fourth cutting the Gamecocks' lead to two runs. Reed reached base on an error, advanced to third on Butler's double down the left field line and came home when Wise grounded out to Pankake.
A pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth increased the South Carolina lead to 9-5. Saiko doubled to the gap in right center field and then with two outs Pankake came to the plate and launched a 1-0 pitch over the left field wall for a two-run homer. Pankake tied a season-high with three hits in a game as well as a season-high three RBI's in a game for the fourth time.
In the bottom of the eighth Saiko hit his first career homer for the 10th run of the game. He had a career-high four hits as well.
In the top of ninth, College of Charleston tacked on one more run to cut South Carolina's lead to 10-6. Heidt hit a two-out double off the wall in left field and he scored on Brandon Murray's RBI single.
PANKAKE WARMING UP
Junior infielder Joey Pankake owns a 10-game hitting streak. Pankake went 2-for-5 with a three-run homer and two runs scored in the 8-3 win on Sunday vs. Kentucky. He also homered in Friday's loss to the Wildcats. Pankake is hitting .307 (23-for-75) for the year with 12 RBI and a team-high 24 runs scored. He also has a .411 on-base percentage and a .480 slugging mark. Pankake also is batting a team-best .417 (10-for-24) in SEC action with two of his three homers in SEC play. He has six runs scored and six RBI as well.
SEDDON SEALS IT
Leading the way in the bullpen efforts is junior right-hander Joel Seddon. Junior right-hander Joel Seddon worked a perfect 2.1 innings of relief for his seventh save of the year in the 8-3 win over Kentucky. Seddon struck out four of the seven batters he faced. Seddon has not allowed a run in 11 relief appearances and just two hits in the 13.2 innings he has pitched. He has 20 strikeouts to just two walks; opponents are hitting .045 against him. His seven saves are tied for the league lead.
Sophomore infielder DC Arendas homered for the third time of the season and scored two runs in the 8-3 win at Kentucky. He also went 2-for-4 with a double in the 2-1 loss on Saturday. Arendas has three homers and 13 RBI as well as 11 runs scored. He is hitting .262 (16-for-61) for the season.
A BRIGHT SPOT
Junior outfielder Connor Bright is the Gamecocks' leading hitter with a .398 average (33-for-83) with 10 doubles, 19 RBI and 19 runs scored. Bright has a team-best .436 on-base percentage and a .518 slugging percentage. Bright went 2-for-4 with a RBI and two runs scored in Sunday's 8-3 win over Kentucky. He has 10 multi-hit games. Bright is hitting .333 (8-for-24) in SEC games with three RBI and four runs scored.
CROWE MAKES AN IMPACT
Freshman right-hander Wil Crowe improved to 5-0 on the year with a win in the 8-3 victory at Kentucky. Crowe did not allow a hit until the fifth inning. He went six-plus innings and allowed three runs on four hits with a pair of walks and two strikeouts. For the season, Crowe is 5-0 with a 1.63 ERA in 38.2 innings with 25 strikeouts to six walks. Opponents are hitting .197 against Crowe.
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.
Junior first baseman Kyle Martin has hit safely in five consecutive games and also reached base in 10 straight games. Martin is hitting .346 (28-for-81) with 13 RBI and 20 runs scored. He has a .417 on-base percentage and a .506 slugging mark. His .346 average is second-best on the team just behind Bright.
JACK OF ALL TRADES
Despite a loss, sophomore left-hander Jack Wynkoop had a quality start in the 2-1 loss at Kentucky. Wynkoop allowed two runs on five hits with a walk and nine strikeouts. His nine strikeouts was one short of a career-high he set earlier this year vs. Eastern Kentucky. For the season, Wynkoop is 4-1 with a 1.98 ERA in 36.1 innings pitched. Wynkoop has 34 strikeouts to four 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.
MINCEY WITH AN APPEARANCE
Junior right-hander Cody Mincey did not allow a run in two relief appearances and has not allowed a run in a team-leading 12 relief appearances. Mincey is 2-0 on the year in 15.2 innings pitched with 24 strikeouts to five walks. Opponents are hitting .135 against him.
WIDENER SHOWS VERSATILITY
Freshman right-hander Taylor Widener pitched 2.1 innings of relief with just one unearned run allowed on one hit with no walks and three strikeouts in Friday's loss. Widener also was the starting designated hitter in Sunday's 8-3 win and finished with a RBI. Widener is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in six relief appearances. He has nine strikeouts to a pair of walks in 10.0 innings pitched.
Junior catcher Grayson Greiner was named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List for the top catcher in college baseball.
Greiner owns a .338 average (25-fo-74) at the plate with 20 runs scored and a team-high 22 RBI. Greiner has a .427 on-base percentage and a .514 slugging percentage; both are second best on the team.
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.
A LITTLE BIT OF ENGLISH
Junior outfielder Tanner English had a sacrifice fly in the 8-3 win over Kentucky. He also had hits in both of Friday's and Saturday's games. English is hitting .324 (23-for-71) with 10 runs scored and 15 RBI. English's on-base percentage is .402 with a .437 slugging percentage.
MAX IT OUT
Sophomore infielder Max Schrock had a flair for the dramatic in the Ole Miss series. 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.
Three Gamecock players have started all 22 games this year, junior right fielder Connor Bright, junior first baseman Kyle Martin and junior center fielder Tanner English.
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.
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 .276 (16-for-58) 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.
MONTGOMERY GETS IT STARTED
Junior left-hander Jordan Montgomery is 3-2 with 4.99 ERA in 30.2 innings with a team-high 32 strikeouts to 12 walks.
MOONEY LEADS IT OFF
Sophomore infielder Marcus Mooney is hitting .284 (23-for-81) with 10 runs scored and 10 RBI. Nine of his 10 RBI this year have come with two outs.
Mooney was Carolina's top hitter vs. Stetson and Brown. Mooney hit .474 (9-for-19) vs. Stetson and Brown with a run scored and four RBI.
The Gamecocks are 18-1 on the year when allowing five runs or less in a game. Additionally, South Carolina is 10-0 when scoring six or more runs. South Carolina is 8-2 in games decided by three runs or less. The Gamecocks are also 16-1 on the year when scoring first in a game and 17-2 when out-hitting the opponent.
AT THE PLATE & IN THE FIELD
South Carolina is hitting .304 (226-for-743) as a team with a .384 on-base percentage and a .431 slugging percentage. All three of those marks are among SEC leaders. The pitching staff leads the league with a 1.87 ERA. The Gamecocks have 193 strikeouts in 197.0 innings. Opponents are hitting .213 against the Gamecocks. South Carolina has fielded .978 as a team with only 18 errors.
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.