South Carolina (20-7, 6-3 SEC) heads on the road this weekend for a three-game conference series at Georgia (17-10, 6-3 SEC). Both teams sit in a tie for second place in the Eastern Division, just one game behind first place Florida. Live audio broadcast is available at gamecocksonline.com and on The Gamecock Radio Network with Mike Morgan and Tommy Moody on the call.
Carolina won two of three games at Sarge Frye Field last season vs. the Bulldogs. The Gamecocks lead the series history 49-43. Georgia has won the last two conference series played in Athens (2004, 2006). The last time both teams met at Foley Field though was in the 2006 NCAA Super Regional when Georgia advanced winning the third game of the Super Regional against Carolina.
SC Mike Cisco, Jr. (RHP) 4-1, 5.25 ERA, 36.0 IP, 25 K, 6 BB
GA Trevor Holder, Jr. (RHP) 3-2, 2.38 ERA, 34.0 IP, 25 K, 12 BB
SC Will Atwood, Jr. (LHP) 3-0, 4.10 ERA, 26.1 IP, 25 K, 15 BB
GA Stephen Dodson, Jr. (RHP) 4-1, 4.28 ERA, 33.2 IP, 17 K, 4 BB
South Carolina leads series history 49-43
May 17, 2007 South Carolina (13) Georgia (3) Columbia, S.C.
Mary 18, 2007 Georgia (6) South Carolina (4) Columbia, S.C.
May 19, 2007 South Carolina (14) Georgia (13) Columbia, S.C.
South Carolina scored seven runs in the first inning and Justin Smoak and Phil Disher hit back-to-back homers in the eighth inning as the Gamecocks defeated Davidson 9-2 on Wednesday evening in non-conference baseball action at Sarge Frye Field. Senior right-hander Sean Wideberg struck out a career-high nine batters to pick up his second win of the season.
In only his third start at Carolina, Wideberg went a career-high 5.2 innings to improve to 2-0 on the year. His nine strikeouts were the highest total by a Gamecock pitcher in a single game on the year. He allowed just two runs on two hits. Davidson starter Andy Bass lasted only 0.2 innings and gave up seven runs on six hits with two walks. He is 0-3 on the year.
The Gamecocks gave Wideberg all he needed in the first inning sending 11 batters to the plate to take a 7-0 lead. After a Reese Havens double and a walk to Whit Merrifield, James Darnell hit a three-run homer to left center to put USC on the scoreboard. It was Darnell's team-leading ninth home run of the year. Parker Bangs and Harley Lail each added RBI hits with Havens getting his second hit of the evening, a RBI double to put Carolina on top by seven runs.
A STRONG DISH IN THE CLUTCH
Carolina designated hitter Phil Disher is coming up big in key situations over the last week including a pair of game-winning RBI hits in wins vs. Kentucky and The Citadel as well as a career-high four hits on Wednesday night vs. Davidson. He is hitting .295 (28-for-95) on the year with eight HR and 29 RBI.
Disher had a big weekend vs. Kentucky as well going 5-for-12 with a home run and team-high seven RBI in the series to earn SEC Player of the Week honors. Disher's home run came in Saturday's victory over Kentucky and was his 30th career homer in a Gamecock uniform. The senior came up in the clutch again for Carolina on Sunday with a pair of RBI singles including the game-winning hit in the eighth inning. In nine SEC contests, Disher leads the Gamecocks in hitting with a .387 average (12-for-31) in the conference. Four of his seven eight have come in conference play as well as 17 of his 29 RBI.
DARNELL DELIVERS A DOUBLE TAKE
For the second straight week, James Darnell tied a USC single-game record for home runs in a game with three in Saturday's win vs. Kentucky (3-29). Darnell accomplished the feat on Mar. 18 in a 13-1 win at the College of Charleston. Saturday's game vs. Kentucky marked the 12th time in school history that a Gamecock player has hit three homers in one game and the first time ever that one player has done it twice. All three homers were two-run shots as he set a career-high with six RBI in the contest. That helped Darnell earned National Player of the Week from Collegiate Baseball.
Darnell had four of the nine Gamecock hits on Tuesday vs. The Citadel including two doubles, the first time in his career that he accomplished the feat. He also led the way with three RBI. He added a home run in Wednesday's win vs. Davidson and is batting .345 (41-for-119) with nine homers and 40 RBI.
A LITTLE MORE ON DARNELL & DISHER
Disher and Darnell's home runs last week put both players at the 30-home run mark in career numbers for the Gamecocks. They both homered on Wednesday vs. Davidson and now have 31 apiece. Both players are two of 23 players in school history to have 30 or more home runs in a Gamecock uniform.
SMOAK MOVES UP THE CHARTS
Junior first baseman Justin Smoak homered on Wednesday night and is now three home runs shy of the school record (48-Hank Small) with 45 in his career at Carolina. Smoak passed Landon Powell (2001-04) and is tied for third on the All-Time list with Jeff Parnell (1990-93).
Home Runs Career List
48 Hank Small (1972-73-74-75)
47 Garrett Carter (1985-86-87-88)
45 Justin Smoak (2006-07-08)
45 Jeff Parnell (1990-91-92-93)
Smoak is hitting .340 on the year with six HR and 23 RBI. Smoak leads the SEC in walks as well with 29 free passes on the year. His on-base percentage is at .493.
South Carolina continues to be impressive in 20 victories this season with a total of 196 runs in those wins. That averages to 9.8 runs per contest. 11 of the 20 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 2.61 as well.
A CRISP RETURN
Junior Andrew Crisp tied his longest hitting streak of his career at 19 before going hitless on Wednesday night vs. Davidson. As a freshman, Crisp put together a 19-game hitting streak for Carolina. He is hitting .321 (26-for-81) on the year.
HAVENS AT THE FRONT OF THE LINE
Gamecock junior shortstop Reese Havens continues to lead the team in hitting with a .387 average (43-for-111) after 27 games. He also leads the team in hits (43). He has spent all 27 games this year at the front of the lineup as the leadoff hitter. Havens hit three homers last week (vs. Furman, vs. College of Charleston, vs. Kentucky (Sat.)) and has hit safely in 25 of 27 games on the year.
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.
GAMECOCKS ALL AROUND
As a team, Carolina is batting .318 (305-for-959) with 217 runs scored, 44 HR and 205 RBI. Carolina has homered in 24 of 27 games this year and now tied for the league lead. The pitching staff has an ERA of 3.88 in 248.1 innings of work with 235 strikeouts. The team tied for first as well in the SEC with a fielding percentage of .978.
A LOOK AT THE POLLS
Carolina is a consensus top 10 team this week with a ranking of No. 6 (Collegiate Baseball/USA Today/ESPN coaches) as well as a ranking of No. 9 (Baseball America/Collegiate Baseball).
WHAT A RELIEF
With senior right-handed pitcher Curtis Johnson out for the rest of the season, the Gamecocks received several solid performances out of the bullpen in all three Gamecock wins this week. Senior right-hander Brandon Todd worked a perfect ninth inning with one strikeout to pick up a save Wednesday night vs. College of Charleston. He also worked 2.1 scoreless innings on Sunday and allowed just one walk to earn his first career win. On the season, Todd is 1-1 with two saves and a 2.70 ERA in 10.0 innings. He has struck out 16 batters.
Junior left-hander Craig Thomas had a scoreless inning in Wednesday's win vs. College of Charleston and hurled three innings on Saturday to earn his first career save. Thomas has made a team-high nine appearances and has 14 strikeouts in 17 innings pitched.
THE WILL TO WIN
Junior left-handed pitcher Will Atwood has recorded all three of his wins in SEC starts as he notched another one in Saturday's win vs. Kentucky. Atwood is 3-0 with a 4.10 ERA in 26.1 innings and has 25 strikeouts. Opponents are only batting .221 against him. Atwood went six innings and allowed five runs on six hits in the victory.
HANGING WITH MR. COOPER
Despite a no-decision on Sunday, sophomore right-handed Blake Cooper came up with a quality start as he went 6.2 innings allowing just two runs on eight hits in Sunday's win over Kentucky. Cooper is 3-2 on the year with a 3.03 ERA in 35.2 innings pitched. He has 18 strikeouts to just five walks as well.
Sam Dyson STEPS UP
Freshman right-handed pitcher Sam Dyson worked his longest outing of his career going seven innings and struck out eight batters as the Gamecocks defeated College of Charleston 5-3 on Wednesday evening.
Parker Bangs ENTERS THE MIX
Freshman Parker Bangs made his first career start at designated hitter on Wednesday night vs. Davidson. Bangs was 2-for-4 with a run scored and a RBI in the victory.
Its been a busy week for Bangs as he also pitched in relief on Tuesday night and earned a victory at The Citadel with 2.2 scoreless innings of work and five strikeouts. Out of the bullpen on the year, Bangs is 2-0 with a 3.55 ERA with 22 strikeouts in 12.2 innings.
THE CISCO KID
Despite his first loss of the season last Friday, junior right-hander Mike Cisco still sits among the top SEC pitchers with a 4-1 overall record. Cisco has pitched 36 innings, among the SEC leaders and has made six starts for the Gamecocks. Two weeks ago, Cisco earned his fourth win in 7.2 innings of work limiting MSU to one run on five hits with five strikeouts and one walk.
WIDEBERG STARTS IT UP
Senior right-handed pitcher Sean Wideberg made his first start of the season in Wednesday night's win vs. Davidson and struck out a career-high nine batters to improve to 2-0 on the year. Wideberg has pitched 15.1 innings and has 21 strikeouts in six appearances for the Gamecocks.
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 win vs. The Citadel although he did strike out a career-high seven batters. He is 2-2 on the year with a 2.88 ERA as well as a team-high 34 strikeouts in 34.1 innings of work. Godwin also recorded a win the 12-0 victory vs. UNC Asheville.
ENDERS CONTINUES TO CONTRIBUTE
Carolina sophomore catcher Kyle Enders is also swinging a solid bat with a .314 average (33-for-105). 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.
Gamecock sophomore outfielder DeAngelo Mack has seen action in left field with 17 games played and 13 starts. He is hitting .310 (13-for-42) and has 12 runs scored as well as three homers and seven RBI. Mack hit a solo home run in the 6-2 win over Kentucky and was 1-for-1 with two runs on Tuesday night at The Citadel.
RIDE THE HARLEY
Senior outfielder Harley Lail provides the leadership in the outfield for the Gamecocks and shows his way with the bat as well. Lail has 13 extra base hits (10 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR) and leads the team in doubles. Lail went 3-for-3 with a RBI and run scored in the 6-2 win over Kentucky. He is hitting .320 (32-for-100) on the year.