Columbia, S.C. -
South Carolina (20-5, 5-1 SEC) continues SEC action this weekend hosting a three-game series with Mississippi State (14-11, 2-4 SEC) at Carolina Stadium. Friday's series is opener is scheduled for 7 p.m. Saturday's game will be televised live on SportSouth with a 4 p.m. start. The Sunday series finale is set for 2 p.m. with the game being televised live on ESPNU. All three games can also be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network.
The Gamecocks lead the all-time series history 28-24 including four consecutive series victories in Columbia dating back to the 2000 season. The Bulldogs however defeated the Gamecocks in two of three games last year in Starkville.
Carolina is tied with LSU in the conference race and leads Florida (4-2) by one game in the Eastern Division.
Probable Starting Pitchers
South Carolina Blake Cooper (Sr. RHP) 4-0, 3.32 ERA, 38.0 IP, 15 BB, 37 SO
Mississippi State Kendall Graveman (Fr. RHP) 1-1, 6.20 ERA, 24.2 IP, 14 BB, 9 SO
South Carolina Sam Dyson (Jr. RHP) 2-0, 4.15 ERA, 30.1 IP, 6 BB, 36 SO
Mississippi State Chris Stratton (Fr. RHP) 2-3, 3.48 ERA, 31.0 IP, 14 BB, 36 SO
South Carolina Jay Brown (Sr. RHP) 1-0, 3.38 ERA, 16.0 IP, 8 BB, 17 SO
Mississippi State TBA
LAST TIME OUT
South Carolina belted a season-high five home runs and the Gamecock pitching staff recorded double-digit strikeouts for the 13th time this season as South Carolina defeated The Citadel 10-1 on Tuesday night at Carolina Stadium. The win marks head coach Ray Tanner's 600th victory at South Carolina and his 995th career win.
Carolina tallied 13 hits in the game including the five home runs, tying a Carolina Stadium record for home runs in a single game. Robert Beary homered and finished 4-for-5 with a pair of RBI as well as a double. His four hits tied a season-high by a Gamecock player for hits in a game. Jackie Bradley Jr. also was 3-for-5 with a homer, two runs scored and three RBI. Whit Merrifield had a base hit to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. He has hit safely in 24 of 25 games this year. Jeffery Jones, Michael Roth and Scott Wingo also tallied home runs for the Gamecocks. Jones, Wingo and Merrifield are tied for the team lead with five home runs apiece.
Freshman right-hander Colby Holmes earned his first career victory after five innings of work. He allowed just one run on five hits with four strikeouts and one walk. John Taylor hurled two scoreless innings of work with a pair of strikeouts, Matt Price pitched a perfect inning of relief and struck out the side and Ethan Carter closed the game out with a perfect inning of relief with a strikeout. Holmes is now 1-0 on the year.
QUICK RECAP FROM LAST WEEK
South Carolina won three of four games last week with a victory at Georgia Southern on Tuesday night and wins on Friday and Saturday at Auburn. Sunday's loss at Auburn snapped a 13-game winning streak by the Gamecocks, the longest since Carolina opened the 2004 season with an 18-game win streak. This weekend's series victory vs. Auburn was the 11 straight dating back to the 1998 season.
A LOOK AT THE PITCHERS
The Gamecock pitching staff continues to succeed on the mound. Carolina is third overall in the SEC with a 3.41 ERA and leads the conference in both strikeouts (263) and opposing batting average (.216). Carolina has a SEC best 3.06 ERA in SEC games.
A LOOK AT THE POSITION PLAYERS
South Carolina hitters own a .302 batting average (260-for-860) with 54 doubles, six triples and 28 homers. The team has a .406 on-base percentage and a .477 slugging percentage as well. Carolina is fielding .970 for the season.
HANGING WITH MR. COOPER
Senior right-hander Blake Cooper improved to 4-0 on the year with a victory on Friday vs. the Tigers. He allowed just four runs on eight hits with five strikeouts in seven innings of work. He now has 25 career victories, tied with Peter Bauer (1998-2000) for 12th on the USC career list for wins. For the season, Cooper is 4-0 with a 3.32 ERA in 38 innings pitched with 37 strikeouts and 15 walks allowed. He also is tied for fourth highest in innings pitched in the SEC and is eighth best in opposing batting average with opponents hitting just .211 against him.
South Carolina Career Victories List
45 Kip Bouknight 1998-01
36 Tim Lewis 1973-76
35 Aaron Rawl 2002-05
34 Earl Bass 1972-75
34 Greg Ward 1972-75
31 David Marchbanks 2001-03
31 Matt Threehouse 1989-93
31 Dennis Lubert 1979-82
30 Mike Cook 1983-85
27 Jason Haynie 1993-96
26 Rich Pratt 1990-93
25 Blake Cooper 2006-09
25 Peter Bauer 1998-00
MERRIFIELD REACHES ANOTHER MILESTONE
Junior Whit Merrifield, who set the school record for consecutive games with a hit safely (26) earlier in the year, set another milestone in a Carolina uniform. Merrifield became the 23rd player in school history to record 200 or more career hits with a base hit in last Friday's game vs. Auburn. Merrifield now has 204 career hits, 99 shy of the school record set by Mac White (1991-92-93-94). He is just 27 hits shy of the Top 10 as well at Carolina.
Merrifield has hit safely in 24 of 25 games this year and owns a .350 batting average (36-for-103) with five HR and 19 RBI. He also has a .442 on-base percentage and a .563 slugging percentage. Merrifield is second in the Southeastern Conference with 34 runs scored. He owns a 12-game hitting streak and leads the team with nine multi-hit games as well as six multi-RBI games.
223 Derick Urquhart 1995-96-97-98
215 Mike Curry 1996-97-98
212 Drew Meyer 2000-01-02
209 Mac White 1991-92-93-94
188 Justin Smoak 2006-07-08
182 Jeff Parnell 1990-91-92-93
181 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-06
176 Landon Powell 2001-02-03-04
174 Garrett Carter 1985-86-87-88
166 Ryan Bordenick 1995-96-97-98
166 Jim Curl 1978-79-80-81
159 Whit Merrifield 2008-09-10
209 Drew Meyer 2000-01-02
201 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-06
198 Mac White 1991-92-93-94
191 Andrew Crisp 2005-06-07-08-09
176 Derick Urquhart 1995-96-97-98
172 Greg Jonson 1977-78-79-80
165 Dave Willman 1989-90-91-92
162 Mike Curry 1996-97-98
159 Landon Powell 2001-02-03-04
156 Skeets Thomas 1988-89-90
156 Hank Small 1972-73-74-75
149 Whit Merrifield 2008-09-10
Hits (200 or more)
303 Mac White 1991-92-93-94
299 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-06
285 Drew Meyer 2000-01-02
265 Landon Powell 2001-02-03-04
265 Derick Urquhart 1995-96-97-98
262 Andrew Crisp 2005-06-07-08-09
250 Mike Curry 1996-97-98
246 Justin Smoak 2006-07-08
245 Hank Small 1972-73-74-75
231 Dave Willman 1989-90-91-92
230 Skeets Thomas 1988-89-90
227 Jeff Barns 1985-86-87
225 Jeff Parnell 1990-91-92-93
224 Chris Boyle 1981-82-83-84
215 Reese Havens 2006-07-08
211 Ryan Bordenick 1995-96-97-98
210 Garrett Carter 1985-86-87-88
209 Burke Cromer 1989-90-91-92
207 Jim Curl 1978-79-80-81
206 Greg Johnson 1977-78-79-80
204 Whit Merrifield 2008-09-10
203 Greg Morhardt 1982-83-84
201 Brian Buscher 2002-03
BANGS GIVES THE GAMECOCKS OPTIONS
Junior pitcher/utility player Parker Bangs was strong for the Gamecocks both at the plate and on the mound last week. Bangs hurled 2.2 scoreless innings without a hit and struck out a pair of batters in the 8-5 win at Georgia Southern on Tuesday night. He then showed his skills at the plate in the Auburn series starting all three games at designated hitter. He was 2-for-4 with a three-run homer in Friday's 11-5 win over Auburn, had a hit in the 2-0 win on Saturday and was 2-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI in Sunday's loss. Bangs is hitting .33 (8-for-24) with a pair of HR and 10 RBI. He has made 10 appearances on the mound and has a 3.86 ERA with 18 strikeouts in 11.2 innings pitched and opponents batting just .103 against him.
MATTHEWS HAS PRODUCTIVE WEEK
Sophomore outfielder Adam Matthews had a key three-run homer in the 11-5 win vs. Auburn and went 4-for-9 with four RBI and two runs scored over the weekend vs. the Tigers. He was also 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and two walks in the 8-5 win over Georgia Southern on Tuesday. Matthews owns a .319 batting average (23-for-72) on the year with six doubles, a triple, two homers and 16 RBI.
SAM THE MAN
Junior right-hander Sam Dyson was stellar in a pitcher's duel at Auburn and earned a victory in the 2-0 win over the Tigers that helped the Gamecocks clinch the series. Dyson pitched seven scoreless innings and struck out nine batters and walked none to help lead Carolina to the victory. He is 2-0 with a 4.15 ERA. Dyson has 36 strikeouts and just six walks in 30.1 innings pitched. Dyson and relievers Michael Roth and Matt Price combined for the shutout vs. Auburn. South Carolina's shutout of Auburn was the first time that Auburn has not scored at home in a game since a loss to South Alabama on March 1, 2005 (a span of 166 games).
WINGO GETS ON BASE
Junior infielder Scott Wingo homered in the 10-1 win over The Citadel and he also had a homer in the 11-5 win vs. Auburn and finished the weekend series with four hits and three runs scored. Wingo had the game-winning RBI double in the 2-0 victory vs. the Tigers. He is hitting .338 (22-for-65) with 24 runs scored, four doubles, a triple, five HR and 19 RBI. He owns a .516 on-base percentage, fourth best in the SEC and a .662 slugging percentage, 11th best in the conference.
He drove in a career-high four runs in the at Furman at Fluor Field and tied a career-high with three hits in the 8-3 win vs. Davidson. He was 3-for-9 with a homer in this weekend's series vs. Tennessee.
Thirteen different pitchers have accounted for 20 wins this season for the Gamecocks. Senior right-hander Blake Cooper leads the way with a 4-0 record and a 3.32 ERA on the year with a team-high 38.0 innings pitched.
THOMAS HAS CAREER DAY
Senior catcher Brady Thomas caught all 13 innings of the 8-5 win at Georgia Southern and had a career day with three hits and four RBI in the 8-5 victory over GSU. Thomas doubled twice and homered in the victory. His three-run double in the 13th inning was the game-winning hit. He set career highs in both hits and RBI.
Thomas is hitting .375 (15-for-40) on the year. Nine of his 15 hits are extra base hits (seven doubles, one triple, one home run). He has nine RBI on the year.
The 4-0 victory over Tennessee saw four Gamecock pitchers limit the Volunteers to one bunt hit in the win. The one-hitter was the first by the Gamecocks since Feb. 21, 2009 when Carolina one-hit Duquesne in a 13-0 victory at Carolina Stadium.
Tyler Webb EARNS SEC FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK HONORS
South Carolina freshman left-handed pitcher Tyler Webb earned SEC Freshman of the Week after his first SEC start when he earned his first career win in the 4-0 victory over Tennessee. He combined with three Gamecock relievers to limit the Volunteers to one hit on the afternoon and he struck out six batters and tied his season-high with 5.2 innings pitched. He also did not allow a base runner past second base.
Webb is 1-2 for the season with a 3.63 ERA and has 23 strikeouts to 10 walks in 22.1 innings pitched. Opposing hitters are hitting just .215 against him.
TAYLOR CLOSES IT DOWN
Junior right-hander John Taylor has been key out of the bullpen in recent outings. Taylor has four consecutive scoreless outings for the Gamecocks including a two-inning stint this past Tuesday vs. The Citadel. He struck out a pair of batters in the win.
WALKER AND JONES COMES THROUGH IN CLUTCH
In the 10-7 win vs. Tennessee, Christian Walker's two-out two-run triple in the bottom of the seventh inning broke a 5-5 tie and Jeffery Jones homered and drove in four runs as South Carolina defeated Tennessee 10-7. Jones is hitting .366 for the season (15-for-41) with five HR and 18 RBI.
In last Friday's game vs. Tennessee, Jackie Bradley Jr.'s RBI base hit in the bottom of the eighth inning broke a 2-2 tie and Kyle Enders added a RBI sacrifice fly as well as South Carolina opened SEC play with a 4-2 win over Tennessee. Bradley was making his first start since injuring his thumb in last Saturday's game vs. Brown.
Bradley is hitting .371 on the year (23-for-62) with two homers and 12 RBI. He had three hits, a run scored and a RBI in Tuesday's win vs. Georgia Southern. He was also 2-for-5 with two RBI in Sunday's loss at Auburn.
CARTER A RELIEF
Gamecock reliever Ethan Carter earned the win in relief in a 4-2 win vs. Tennessee and is now 1-0 on the year. He hurled 1.1 perfect innings of relief with a pair of strikeouts in the win. He also had 0.2 scoreless innings on Tuesday vs. Georgia Southern and closed out the 11-5 win at Auburn with 1.1 scoreless innings and a pair of strikeouts. Carter has a 0.82 ERA in nine appearances with 11.0 innings pitched and has 12 strikeouts to two walks.
MATA THE STOPPER
In the 8-3 win vs. Davidson, Gamecock reliever Jose Mata would earn the win in relief and is now 2-0 on the year. He pitched 1.2 scoreless innings and allowed no hits and just one walk while striking out one batter.
Mata has a 2.92 ERA in 10 appearances with opponents batting only .214 against him for the season.
FLUOR FIELD REWIND
In last Tuesday's win vs. Furman at Fluor Field, sophomore left-hander Nolan Belcher hurled six scoreless innings to pick up his second win of the season. Belcher allowed just four hits in six innings of work and tallied six strikeouts with just one walk allowed. He combined with Patrick Sullivan, John Taylor and Jordan Propst for the shutout victory. South Carolina is now 5-0 in all-time games played at Fluor Field with four victories vs. Furman (2006, 2008, 2009, 2010) and one win over Clemson (2010).
STRIKE THEM OUT - CAROLINA TIES SINGLE GAME RECORD
South Carolina pitchers Jimmy Revan, Matt Price and Parker Bangs combined to strike out 18 batters to tie a school single-game record in the 7-3 win over Valparaiso last Wednesday. The Carolina pitching staff was in command for most the afternoon on its way to the victory over the Crusaders. Price earned the win in relief of Revan with four scoreless innings and just one hit allowed while striking out eight and walking one. Bangs closed the game out striking out the side to preserve the win in his one inning of relief. Revan had seven strikeouts to two walks in four innings as the starter. The strikeout total of 18 is the seventh time in school history that the Gamecocks have reached the mark. The last time was on March 18, 2006 when six Gamecock pitchers totaled 18 in a win at Auburn.
WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU?
Senior right-hander Jay Brown earned his first victory of the season in relief of the nightcap of the doubleheader vs. the Brown Bears. Brown settled in with a strong 4.1 innings of relief. He would yield just one run, a solo homer in the seventh inning and struck out four and walked none to earn the victory.
Brown is 1-0 with a 3.38 ERA in 16.0 innings with 17 strikeouts and eight walks.
MAKING AN APPEARANCE
Sophomore left-hander Michael Roth is tied for the SEC lead in appearances with 14 stints out of the bullpen this season. He is 0-1 with a 3.24 ERA, 12 strikeouts in 8.1 innings pitched. He also has earned a pair of saves.
VOTE FOR LANDON!
Former South Carolina catcher Landon Powell is a nominee for the College World Series Legends Team that will be honored at the 2010 College World Series in Omaha, Neb. The Legends Team will represent those student-athletes who had the best CWS performances in the 60 years the even has been played at Rosenblatt Stadium. The 2010 CWS will be the last to be played in Omaha's Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium. Voting for the CWS Legends Team begins Thursday, March 11 and will run until Noon on Friday, April 16. Fans are encouraged to vote at http://www.ncaa.com/cwslegends/index.html
Powell played in the College World Series three consecutive years (2002, `03, `04) and twice was named to the CWS All-Tournament Team in 2002 and 2004. He had nine hits, six RBI and a HR as the Gamecocks finished as National Runner-Up in the 2002 CWS. Powell is currently with the Oakland A's. He was a two-time All-SEC selection at catcher (2003, `04) and earned All-America honors in 2004 as well.
The team will have 27 members: two student-athletes per fielding position, four pitchers, two designated hitters, three head coaches and two "utility players". The utility players will be determined after fan voting and represent those student-athletes deserving recognition who may not have been selected by fans, media and coaches at a particular position. From the list of names, please cast your vote for the best players best coaches based solely on their performance during the NCAA Men's College World Series. Fans will only be able to submit a vote once.
The CWS Legends Team members will be invited to attend the final College World Series at Rosenblatt Stadium. Those in attendance will be formally honored during the CWS Opening Ceremonies in Rosenblatt Stadium on Friday, June 18.