COLUMBIA, S.C. -
South Carolina (21-3, 3-3 SEC) returns to SEC play this weekend with a three-game series vs. Tennessee (19-4, 3-3 SEC) at Carolina Stadium. First pitch for Friday's opener is 7 p.m. with Saturday's game set for 4 p.m. and Sunday's series finale scheduled for 1:30 p.m. 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 with live video streaming on the All Access Channel.
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 and the NCBWA. Tennessee is ranked No. 20 by Perfect Game, No. 21 by Collegiate Baseball and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' poll, No. 22 by Baseball America and No. 23 by the NCBWA.
LIVE COVERAGE 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
PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
South Carolina - Jordan Montgomery (Jr. LHP) 3-2, 4.99 ERA, 30.2 IP, 12 BB, 32 SO
Tennessee - Nick Williams (Sr. RHP) 3-2, 1.88 ERA, 38.1 IP, 8 BB, 25 SO
South Carolina - Jack Wynkoop (So. LHP) 4-1, 1.98 ERA, 36.1 IP, 4 BB, 34 SO
Tennessee - Hunter Martin (Fr. RHP) 2-1, 0.98 ERA, 18.1 IP, 6 BB, 10 SO
South Carolina - Wil Crowe (Fr. RHP) 5-0, 1.63 ERA, 38.2 IP, 6 BB, 25 SO
Tennessee - Andrew Lee (So. RHP) 3-0, 3.94 ERA, 32.0 IP, 9 BB, 19 SO
DID YOU KNOW??
South Carolina has 10 shutouts on the year. The school record of 14 was set in 1974.
A LOOK BACK
Four Gamecock pitchers accounted for a one-hit shutout as second-ranked South Carolina tallied its 10th shutout of the season with a 4-0 victory over Coastal Carolina on Wednesday night.
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Curt Brit picked up his first win of the season after three scoreless innings of work. Britt allowed just one hit and two walks while striking out four batters. Junior right-hander Evan Beal made his first appearance of the year in a start and hurled four hitless innings and struck out three batters. Coastal Carolina starter Dalton Moats suffered the loss and is 0-3 for the year. He allowed three runs on five hits in three innings with four walks and a strikeout.
A two-run double by Marcus Mooney in the bottom of the second gave South Carolina a quick 2-0 lead over Coastal Carolina. Designated hitter Brison Celek drew a walk to open the frame and DC Arendas followed with a base hit to right field. After Logan Koch advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt, Mooney knocked the first pitch he saw from Moats down the left field line to score both runs.
The Gamecocks added to their lead scoring runs in both the third and fifth innings. With two outs in the bottom of the third, Connor Bright drew a walk, swiftly stole second and came home on double off the bat of Celek. Kyle Martin led off the bottom of the fifth with a single through the right side and would score South Carolina's fourth and final run of the game on Arendas' RBI base hit.
Tennessee enters this weekend 19-4 and 3-3 in the SEC under third-year head coach Dave Serrano. The Volunteers come to Columbia after winning one of three games vs. Auburn last week at home. Tennessee opened the SEC slate winning two of three games at Missouri.
Freshman Nick Senzel has been Tennessee's top hitter with a .352 average (25-for-71) with 19 runs scored, four doubles, a triple, a homer and 21 RBI. His on-base percentage is also .460 with a .479 slugging mark. UT's top power hitter currently is Scott Price, who is batting .348 (31-for-89) with three homers and 20 RBI. Sophomore outfielder Christin Stewart enters with a 10-game hitting streak. His average is .322 (28-for-87) with 19 runs scored, six doubles, three triples, three homers and 17 RBI. He has a .563 slugging percentage. Sophomore shortstop A.J. Simcox was ranked the No. 5 best prospect in the SEC for the 2015 MLB Draft. He has lived up to his billing this season with a .341 average (28-for-82) and eight stolen bases.
The Vols pitching staff is led by senior right-hander Nick Williams, who will get the ball on Friday night. He is 3-2 with a 1.88 ERA with a team-high 38.1 innings pitched. Opponents are batting just .172 against him. He has 25 strikeouts to eight walks. He has allowed nine runs, eight earned, on 22 hits. He is followed up by freshman right-hander Hunter Martin, who is 2-1 with a 0.98 ERA in five games. Sophomore right-hander Andrew Lee is the Sunday starter with a 3-0 record and a 3.94 ERA in 32.0 innings.
LAST TIME VS. TENNESSEE
South Carolina swept a three-game series at Tennessee in last year's meeting. Carolina finished the weekend with 36 runs and 45 hits in three games vs. the Volunteers. Max Schrock's weekend performance in Knoxville with a .583 batting average (7-for-12), five runs scored and seven RBI earned him SEC Freshman of the Week honors. His game-winning RBI double in the top of the ninth inning lifted the Gamecocks to a 5-4 win over Tennessee. He followed that up with a double, a homer and two RBI in the 12-8 win over the Volunteers. In the series finale, he had a career-high four hits with a career-high four RBI as well as two runs scored in the 19-2 win over Tennessee.
In the series opener, both teams were deadlocked at 4-4 when the Gamecocks caught a break in the top of the ninth as a fielding error by third baseman Will Maddox allowed Dantzler to reach base to open the inning. After a sacrifice bunt moved Dantzler into scoring position, Schrock put Carolina ahead by a run as he launched a 1-0 pitch from UT reliever Zack Godley over the head of center fielder Pierce Bily for a double giving Carolina a one-run cushion. Tennessee looked to mount one more rally in the ninth as Jeff Moberg led off with a walk against Tyler Webb. That would be it for the Volunteers though as Webb retired the next three batters in order. Maddox fouled off a bunt attempt on a nice diving play by third baseman Chase Vergason, followed by strikeouts of A.J. Simcox and Scott Price.
Game two saw South Carolina pound out 17 hits with all nine starters reaching base at least once on the way to a 12-8 win. Left-hander Adam Westmoreland was tremendous in relief allowing just one run on five hits in a season-high six innings. The 17-hit performance for the Gamecocks featured three-hit games from Connor Bright, Graham Saiko and Chase Vergason.
The Gamecocks belted out a season-high 21 hits with 10 different Gamecocks recording at least one hit on the way to a 19-2 victory in the series finale to sweep the Volunteers. Sophomore left-hander Jordan Montgomery worked four scoreless innings with no walks and a pair of strikeouts. Senior right-hander Colby Holmes pitched the final five innings to earn the win. He allowed two runs, one earned, on two hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
Left-hander Jordan Montgomery worked four scoreless innings with no walks and a pair of strikeouts. Colby Holmes pitched the final five innings to earn the win. He allowed two runs, one earned, on two hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
PANKAKE WARMING UP
Junior infielder Joey Pankake owns a 12-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 .325 (27-for-83) for the year with 15 RBI and a team-high 25 runs scored. He has a .418 on-base percentage and a .494 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.
During his 12-game hitting streak, Pankake is hitting .404 (19-for-47) with a .462 on-base percentage, 11 runs scored and 13 RBI.
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 RBI and a run scored in Wednesday's 4-0 win over Coastal Carolina. Arendas has three homers and 15 RBI this year with 12 runs scored. He is hitting .261 (18-for-69) for the season.
A BRIGHT SPOT
Junior outfielder Connor Bright is the Gamecocks' leading hitter with a .378 average (34-for-90) with 10 doubles, 19 RBI and 19 runs scored. Bright has a .422 on-base percentage and a .489 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 seven consecutive games and also reached base in 12 straight games. Martin is hitting .337 (30-for-89) with 13 RBI and 21 runs scored. He has a .404 on-base percentage and a .483 slugging mark. His .337 average is third-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 just one run in a team-leading 13 relief appearances. Mincey is 2-0 on the year in 17.0 innings pitched with 25 strikeouts to seven walks. Opponents are hitting .140 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 seven appearances. He has 11 strikeouts to three walks in 13.0 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 .312 (24-for-77) with 11 runs scored and 15 RBI. He has a team-high 12 RBI with two outs. English's on-base percentage is .393 with a .429 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 has a team-high four homers and 10 RBI. His four homers is tied for third-highest in the SEC.
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.
Scott has not allowed a run in five relief appearances, 10.1 innings pitched with just three hits allowed and one walk.
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 .290 (18-for-62) 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 both Tuesday and Wednesday's victories over College of Charleston and Coastal Carolina.
This season Fiori has pitched 10.0 scoreless innings of relief with 10 strikeouts in eight 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. College of Charleston. He is 3-0 on the year with a 0.59 ERA in six appearances. Reagan has 14 strikeouts in 15.1 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 .279 (24-for-86) with 11 runs scored and 12 RBI. Nine of his 12 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 20-1 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 9-2 in games decided by three runs or less. The Gamecocks are also 18-1 on the year when scoring first in a game and 19-2 when out-hitting the opponent.
AT THE PLATE & IN THE FIELD
South Carolina is hitting .301 (242-for-805) as a team with a .379 on-base percentage and a .424 slugging percentage. All three of those marks are among SEC leaders. The pitching staff leads the league with a 1.80 ERA. The Gamecocks have 208 strikeouts in 215.0 innings. Opponents are hitting .203 against the Gamecocks. South Carolina has fielded .978 as a team with only 19 errors.