COLUMBIA, S.C. -
South Carolina (19-6, 2-4 SEC) continues SEC action beginning a three-game series on Thursday night with Texas A&M (18-8, 5-1 SEC) at Carolina Stadium. First pitch for the opener is 7:30 p.m. with the game televised live on ESPNU as the SEC Game of the Week. Dave Neal and Kyle Peterson will have the call. Friday's contest is scheduled for 7 p.m. with Saturday's series finale at 1:30 p.m.
All three games can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station, 107.5 FM, "The Game," with Andy Demetra and Tommy Moody behind the microphone. Friday and Saturday's games will be streamed live at GamecocksOnline.com on the All Access Channel.
PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
South Carolina - Evan Beal (So. RHP) 2-1, 4.12 ERA, 19.2 IP, 7 BB, 27 SO
Texas A&M - Grayson Long (Fr. RHP) 3-0, 2.35 ERA, 23.0 IP, 12 BB, 24 SO
South Carolina - Nolan Belcher (Sr. LHP) 4-2, 1.45 ERA, 43.1 IP, 1 BB, 42 SO
Texas A&M - Kyle Martin (Sr. RHP) 2-3, 4.33 ERA, 35.1 IP, 7 BB, 32 SO
South Carolina - Jack Wynkoop (Fr. LHP) 4-0, 2.25 ERA, 24.0 IP, 5 BB, 17 SO
Texas A&M - Daniel Mengden (So. RHP) 4-1, 1.79 ERA, 40.1 IP, 6 BB, 34 SO
Overall: South Carolina leads 1-0
Date Winner Score Site
6/19/11 SC 5-4 Omaha
Texas A&M enters in a tie for first place in the SEC with Vanderbilt and LSU after two weeks of action. The Aggies swept a three-game series at home vs. Georgia and won two of three games last week at Ole Miss. Head coach Rob Childress is in his eighth season as head coach for the Aggies.
Carolina has met Texas A&M once on the baseball diamond. The Gamecocks defeated Texas A&M 5-4 at the College World Series in 2011 at TD Ameritrade Park.
GAMECOCKS IN THE RANKINGS
South Carolina is ranked for the seventh consecutive week. The Gamecocks are No. 14 by Collegiate Baseball and in the USA Today coaches' poll with a No. 17 ranking by Baseball America. Texas A&M enters this weekend's series ranked No. 13 by Collegiate Baseball.
A LOOK BACK Colby Holmes worked 7.1 innings and allowed just one run on four hits with a season-high eight strikeouts and 14th ranked South Carolina scored twice in the first inning on the way to a 3-1 win over College of Charleston on Tuesday evening at Patriots Point.
Holmes was in control from the opening pitch as he scattered just four hits throughout his outing. His eight strikeouts are the most since he tallied a career-high nine last year in the NCAA Regional vs. Manhattan. Holmes earned the win and is now 2-2 on the year. Both relievers Vince Fiori and Patrick Sullivan struck out both the batters they faced and senior left-hander Adam Westmoreland hurled a perfect ninth inning to pick up his second save of the season.
Carolina wasted no time getting on the scoreboard with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. With one out and Chase Vergason on first base, the Gamecocks executed the hit and run as Joey Pankake knocked a base hit through the right side putting runners on the corners. The Gamecocks then kept attacking as LB Dantzler jumped on the first pitch from Helvey for a double to right field scoring Vergason, South Carolina would go ahead 2-0 on a Grayson Greiner RBI groundout to the third baseman.
College of Charleston cut Carolina's lead to one run in the bottom of the third inning. Morgan Phillips drew a leadoff walk. With two outs and Phillips on second base, Tyler Jackson laced a first pitch from Holmes to the gap in right-center for a double and the Cougars' first run of the game.
The Gamecocks manufactured a run in the top of the sixth inning to go ahead 3-1. College of Charleston reliever Drew Freie entered and struggled with his control early as he hit both Max Schrock and Connor Bright to open the frame. The two hit by pitches were the first two of the season for Freie. After a sac bunt by Erik Payne moved up both runners, Dante Rosenberg drove in Schrock with a sac fly to right field.
Tyler Webb MAKES HIS MARK
South Carolina senior left-hander Tyler Webb allowed his first runs of the season and saw a streak of 31.0 consecutive innings dating back to last year without yielding a run snapped in Sunday's 5-3 loss in 11 innings vs. the Razorbacks. Webb was valiant in relief with 4.2 innings of work and allowed two runs on four hits with three walks and six strikeouts. For the season, Webb is 0-1 with a 1.00 ERA in 12 relief appearances with eight saves. He leads the conference with his eight saves. He has 26 strikeouts in 18.0 innings pitched with opponents hitting only .150 against him.
Webb has 90 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 78 of those appearances, with 62relief appearances without allowing a run (79.4 percent). In career relief appearances he is 8-2 with 11 saves.
BELCHER BRINGS IT
Senior left-hander Nolan Belcher pitched well despite a loss in Saturday's 4-2 contest to the Razorbacks. A streak of 31.2 consecutive innings without allowing a run this year was snapped when Arkansas scored in the sixth inning against him. Belcher went 7.1 innings allowing four runs on nine hits with six strikeouts. With the loss, Belcher is now 4-2 on the year. He has a 1.45 ERA in six starts with 43.1 innings pitched on the year. Belcher leads the nation in strikeout-to-walk ratio with 42 strikeouts and just one walk. Belcher has gone a span of 38.2 innings without allowing a walk. His ERA is fourth best in the SEC.
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.
Sophomore right-hander Evan Beal was stellar in a start at Missouri. 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 2-1 with a 4.12 ERA in 19.2 innings with just seven walks to 27 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting .243 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 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 has reached base safely in 17 consecutive games and has seven multi-hit games, tied for first on the team, as well three multi-RBI contests. Pankake hit a two-run homer and drove in three runs in the 9-5 win over The Citadel last Tuesday night. He is hitting .337 (28-for-83) with five homers and 20 RBI. He has also scored 18 runs.
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 to be named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List as announced by the Greater Wichita Sports Commission and presented by BaseballSavings.com.
Sophomore catcher Grayson Greiner homered and drove in three runs in the 9-5 win over The Citadel. Greiner reached base four times as well in Sunday's 5-3 loss to the Razorbacks with a single and three walks. He has not made an error in 17 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 made two starts last week and earned a win and a no-decision on the mound. Wynkoop is 4-0 with a 2.25 ERA in 24.0 innings pitched with five walks to 17 strikeouts. He allowed two runs on five hits in 5.1 innings in the 9-5 win over The Citadel. In a no-decision vs. Arkansas, he went 4.2 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits with four strikeouts and a pair of walks.
DANTZLER AT THE BAT
Senior first baseman LB Dantzler is the only Gamecock player to have started all 25 games this year. Dantzler had two doubles and a RBI in the 3-1 win at College of Charleston. He hit his team-leading seventh home run of the season in Tuesday's 9-5 win over The Citadel. Dantzler leads the Gamecocks with a .345 average (30-for-87) with a team-high seven homers and 27 RBI as well.
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 infielder Chase Vergason is among the team leaders in on-base percentage with a .396 mark. He has 14 walks and six hit by pitches and is hitting .250 (20-for-80) as well.
AT THE PLATE & ON THE FIELD
South Carolina is hitting .268 (216-for-805) as a team with a .373 on-base percentage. Carolina ranks second in the SEC with 19 home runs. The Gamecocks have a .978 fielding percentage with just 20 errors for the season.
ON THE MOUND
The Gamecock pitching staff boasts a 2.69 ERA in 224.0 innings with 225 strikeouts and 67 walks. Opponents batting average is .223 against the Gamecocks. The Gamecocks lead the league with 12 saves.
South Carolina is 18-0 this season when leading after six innings and 14-0 on the year when out-hitting the opponent. Carolina has allowed five runs or less in 22 of 25 games played this season. The Gamecocks are 18-4 when allowing five runs or less. South Carolina is 9-4 in games decided by three runs or less.
BRITT SHOWS VERSATILITY
Freshman right-hander Curt Britt hurled 1.2 scoreless innings of relief in the 5-3 loss to Arkansas. He yielded just one hit and one walk and struck out a pair of batters. For the season, he is 1-0 with a 2.38 ERA in 11.1 innings. Opponents are hitting .184 against him.
Britt earned his first career victory in the 12-4 win over Davidson. Bright worked two scoreless innings of relief without allowing a hit.
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 5.00 ERA on the year. He has 12 strikeouts in nine innings pitched.
WESTMORELAND EFFECTIVE IN RELIEF
Senior left-hander Adam Westmoreland worked 1.2 scoreless innings with a pair of strikeouts in the 4-2 loss to Arkansas on Saturday. He is 1-0 with a 0.92 ERA in eight relief appearances with two saves. He has 19 strikeouts in 19.2 innings. Opponents are hitting .189 against him.
A BRIGHT SPOT
Sophomore outfielder Connor Bright has 19 starts this year with 18 in the outfield. He is hitting .259 (15-for-58) with nine runs scored, two doubles, a triple, a homer and six RBI.
A BIT OF ENGLISH
Sophomore center fielder Tanner English is hitting .283 (13-for-46) with 10 runs scored. He has a .459 on-base percentage.
Freshman left-hander Vince Fiori has been productive from the left side out of the bullpen. Fiori in his past two relief stints at The Citadel and at College of Charleston struck out the lone batters he faced. For the season, Fiori has five strikeouts in 3.1 innings.
IN A PINCH WITH MARTIN
Sophomore Kyle Martin continues to be a hot bat off the bench as he had a pair of quality pinch-hit base hits last week. Martin had a key pinch-hit double in the 9-5 win over The Citadel as well as a single in the 5-3 loss to Arkansas. He is batting .292 (7-for-24) for the season.