Columbia, S.C. -
South Carolina (16-6, 4-2 SEC) gets back into SEC action with a three-game series vs. Kentucky (21-2, 4-2 SEC) at Sarge Frye Field beginning on Friday night at 7 pm. Both teams sit in a tie for second place in the Eastern Division.
This is the second consecutive year that both teams meet in Columbia. Carolina won two of three games vs. the Wildcats last year to win the series. The Gamecocks lead the all-time series with a 33-25 career record vs. UK. All three games can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network with Mike Morgan and Tommy Moody on the call.
Live video broadcast for Friday and Sunday's games will be available at gamecocksonline.com. Due to SEC regulations, video broadcast for Saturday's game will be available on a tape delay basis in the evening.
SC Mike Cisco, Jr. (RHP) 4-0, 2.45 ERA, 33.0 IP, 23 K, 5 BB
KY Chris Rusin, Jr. (LHP) 3-2, 2.33 ERA, 27.0 IP, 26 K, 2 BB
SC Will Atwood, Jr. (LHP) 2-0, 3.10 ERA, 20.1 IP, 18 K, 12 BB
KY Scott Green, Jr. (RHP) 2-0, 2.70 ERA, 26.2 IP, 37 K, 8 BB
Freshman right-handed pitcher Sam Dyson worked his longest outing of his career and struck out eight batters as the Gamecocks defeated College of Charleston 5-3 on Wednesday evening. Reese Havens homered for a second consecutive game with Kyle Enders adding two hits and two RBI as well. Brandon Todd picked up his second save of the year with a scoreless ninth inning of relief.
A LOOK CLOSER AT LAST WEEK'S MSU SERIES
The Gamecocks outscored MSU 23-4 in the three wins over the weekend. The team batted .313 (30-for-96) in the three games with the Gamecock pitching staff recording a team ERA of 1.67. outh Carolina has won five straight series vs. the Bulldogs (2002, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2008).
South Carolina continues to be impressive in 16 victories this season with a total of 161 runs in those wins. That averages to 10.0 runs per contest. 10 of the 16 wins on the year have featured at least 10 runs scored by the Gamecock offense. Carolina has also hit .346 in the wins with the team ERA at 2.39 as well.
A CRISP RETURN
Junior Andrew Crisp continues to be a spark at second base since returning from injury. He currently owns a 15-game hitting streak and is among the team's leading hitters with a .355 average (22-for-62). Crisp was 1-for-3 with a RBI in Wednesday's win vs. College of Charleston
GAMECOCKS AT THE PLATE & ON THE MOUND
As a team, Carolina is batting .315 (246-for-782) with 179 runs scored, 35 HR and 170 RBI. Carolina has homered in 21 of 22 games this year. The pitching staff has an ERA of 3.50 in 203.1 innings of work with 192 strikeouts.
HAVENS AT THE FRONT OF THE LINE
Gamecock junior shortstop Reese Havens continues to lead the team in hitting with a .396 average (36-for-91) after 22 games. That average put him at fifth in the SEC. He also leads the team in hits (36) and RBI (32). He has spent all 22 games this year at the front of the lineup as the leadoff hitter. Havens has homeres in two consecutive games vs. Furman and College of Charleston. Havens also had a two-hit game on Sunday vs. Mississippi State as well as a two-run single in Saturday's win vs. the Bulldogs.
Havens earned SEC Player of the Week honors following his performance on opening weekend vs. East Carolina. Havens was 7-for-14 (.500) for the series with a pair of homers, six RBI and seven runs scored. His five hits in the season opener tied his career-high and he set a career-high as well with five RBI in the 22-5 win over the Pirates.
A LOOK AT THE POLLS
Carolina is a consensus top 10 team this week with a ranking of No. 9 (USA Today/ESPN coaches) as well as a ranking of No. 10 (Baseball America/Collegiate Baseball).
All four of Carolina's wins last week featured quality starts from the Gamecock arms.
Senior RHP Nick Godwin got things started last Tuesday in the Lowcountry with a career-high eight innings pitched in the 13-1 win. He allowed just one run on two hits while striking out six and walking two batters. The six strikeouts tied a career-high for Godwin as well.
Junior RHP Mike Cisco kept things going for Carolina on Friday night in a 9-1 victory vs. MSU. Cisco improved to 4-0 in 7.2 innings of work limiting MSU to one run on five hits with five strikeouts and one walk.
Junior LHP Will Atwood followed suit on Saturday tying his career-high in innings pitched with a seven inning stint vs. MSU. He allowed just one run on four hits to pick up his second straight win vs. an SEC team.
Sophomore RHP Blake Cooper closed the weekend out for Carolina with eight innings of work in Sunday's win vs. Mississippi State. Cooper scattered 10 hits and allowed just three runs to pick up the win.
Saturday's 4-1 win vs. MSU also featured the first career save for Brandon Todd. The senior right-hander pitched two hitless innings of relief. He owns 12 strikeouts in 6.2 innings of work. Carolina relievers Craig Thomas and Parker Bangs also had scoreless outings of relief out of the pen for the Gamecocks. Thomas has 12 strikeouts in 12 innings pitched and Bangs has set down 16 batters by strikeout in 9.1 innings.
DARNELL DRIVES THEM IN
South Carolina junior third baseman James Darnell tied a South Carolina single-game record with three home runs in last Tuesday's win over College of Charleston. The last player to accomplish the feat was Landon Powell in a win at Georgia (5/23/04). Darnell also set a career-high with five hits and had five RBI.
All five of Darnell's home runs have come in the last two weeks. He hit a grand slam home run vs. Yale and added a home run in the 16-7 win at Vanderbilt.
He currently owns a 10-game hitting streak and is the team's leading hitter in conference play through six SEC contests with .407 batting average.
BREAK OUT THE BATS
Last Tuesday's 19-hit performance vs. the College of Charleston tied Carolina's season high for hits in a game as well as home runs. The Gamecocks also had 19 hits and five home runs in the season opener vs. East Carolina. All nine starters recorded at least one hit vs. College of Charleston.
GODWIN IS GOOD
Senior right-hander Nick Godwin had his best performance to date in a Gamecock uniform last week as he limited the College of Charleston offense to one run on two hits in a career-high eight innings. Godwin struck out six while walking just two as well.
Godwin had a no-decision in Tuesday's loss to Furman although he did strike out a career-high seven batters. He is 2-2 on the year with a 2.86 ERA as well as a team-high 27 strikeouts in 28.1 innings of work. Godwin also recorded a win the 12-0 victory vs. UNC Asheville.
SMOAK MOVES UP THE CHARTS
Junior first baseman Justin Smoak is now four home runs shy of the school record (48-Hank Small) as his home run in Saturday's win vs. Mississippi State gives him 44 in his career at Carolina. Smoak is tied with Landon Powell (2001-04) for fourth on the All-Time list as well as for the school record for home runs by a switch hitter.
Home Runs Career List
48 Hank Small (1972-73-74-75)
47 Garrett Carter (1985-86-87-88)
45 Jeff Parnell (1990-91-92-93)
44 Landon Powell (2001-02-03-04)
44 Justin Smoak (2006-07-08)
THE CISCO KID
Junior RHP Mike Cisco kept things going for Carolina last Friday night in a 9-1 victory vs. MSU. Cisco improved to 4-0 in 7.2 innings of work limiting MSU to one run on five hits with five strikeouts and one walk. Cisco on the year is 4-0 with a 2.45 ERA in 33 innings pitched. He has worked at least five innings in all five starts this year.
THE WILL TO WIN
Junior LHP Will Atwood has won both his starts vs. SEC teams and is 2-0 on the year with a 3.10 ERA. Atwood tied his career-high in innings pitched with a seven inning stint vs. MSU. He allowed just one run on four hits to pick up the win.
HANGING WITH MR. COOPER
Sophomore RHP Blake Cooper closed the weekend out for Carolina with eight innings of work in Sunday's win vs. Mississippi State. Cooper scattered 10 hits and allowed just three runs to pick up the win. He is 3-2 with a 3.41 ERA on the year.
DISHER SHOWS STRENGTH Phil Disher showed off the power this weekend vs. Mississippi State with a pair of home runs in the series. Disher was 3-for-3 with a solo shot on Friday and added his fourth career grand slam in the Sunday win over the Bulldogs. He leads the team with six home runs and also has 19 RBI. He is at a .343 slugging percentage.
Disher had a strong season opener for the Gamecocks as he collected three hits with a pair of homers and five RBI in the 22-5 win over East Carolina. Disher's two homers marked the first multi-homer game of his career and his five RBI total was a career-high.
CUJO OUT FOR REMAINDER OF 2008 SEASON
South Carolina senior right-handed pitcher Curtis Johnson is expected to miss the remainder of the 2008 season due to an injury to his right arm. Johnson has a torn labrum and rotator cuff. Johnson plans to apply for a medical redshirt and return for the 2009 regular season. Johnson had compiled a 1-0 record and one save with a 1.83 ERA in five relief appearances this season. He had 17 strikeouts in 19.2 innings pitched.
ENDERS CONTINUES TO CONTRIBUTE
Carolina sophomore catcher Kyle Enders is also swinging a solid bat with a .333 average (30-for-90). He had two hits and two RBI in Wednesday's win vs. College of Charleston.
The sophomore from Riverside HS came up big in the clutch for the Gamecocks in a 7-6 rally over East Carolina as his two-run single with the bases loaded and one out gave Carolina a one-run victory and clinched the series.