SEC Eastern Division Leaders Meet As Baseball Hosts Florida This Weekend
April 10, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. - SEC Eastern Division leaders meet this weekend at Carolina Stadium as South Carolina (27-5, 7-5 SEC) hosts Florida (21-12, 7-5 SEC) for a three-game series. First pitch for the opener on Friday is 7 p.m. with Saturday's contest at 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.
Saturday's game is sold out with limited standing room only tickets available for Friday and Sunday.
South Carolina is ranked No. 4 by Collegiate Baseball the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll and the NCBWA as well as No. 5 by Baseball America and Perfect Game. Florida is ranked No. 13 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 15 by Baseball America, No. 24 by the NCBWA and No. 25 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll.
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PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
GAMECOCKS & GATORS
A LOOK BACK
Freshman right-hander Taylor Widener earned the win in relief for Carolina and is 2-0 on the year. He pitched 4.2 scoreless innings with just one hit allowed and one walk while striking out four batters. Both the strikeout total and innings pitched were career-highs. Furman starter Ryan Dittmar suffered the loss and is now 0-2 on the year. He allowed seven runs, six earned on nine hits in three innings.
South Carolina broke ahead 3-0 in the first inning. Joey Pankake led off with an infield single and after a sacrifice bunt from Marcus Mooney would score on Max Schrock's one-out RBI base hit up the middle. A failed pickoff, wild pitch and a walk to Grayson Greiner would give the Gamecocks runners on the corners. Kyle Martin would drive in Schrock with a base hit to left field and Carolina took an advantage of a fielding error by Furman shortstop Hunter Burton to score Greiner for the third run of the inning. The three-run first inning marked the most runs by the Gamecocks in the first inning in a game this year.
Furman cut the Gamecocks' lead to a run in the bottom of the second inning. Jake Jones led off with a single and Jordan Simpson walked to give the Paladins a pair of runners. After a sacrifice moved both into scoring position, Andrew MacLatchie drove a two-run single into left field.
Carolina answered with four more runs in the third to increase the lead to 7-2. Martin's homer would highlight the frame. A one-out double by Schrock followed by a base hit by Greiner set the stage for Martin. On a 0-1 pitch, Martin crushed his fourth homer of the year into right-center. The Gamecocks scored one more in the frame as Elliott Caldwell knocked in Connor Bright with a two-out single.
The Gamecocks made it 9-2 in the seventh inning. Marcus Mooney reached with a leadoff base hit and scored on a fielding error by Burton at shortstop. Bright added a two-out RBI single as well.
All nine Gamecock starters reached base with eight of the nine tallying at least one hit. Martin was 3-for-4 with two runs scored and four RBI, tying a career-high he set last year vs. Liberty in the NCAA Regional. Mooney was 3-for-4 as well with a run scored. The three hits were a career-high as well. Bright and Schrock went 2-for-4 as well. The Gamecocks were solid defensively as well recording a season-high four double plays in the field.
PANKAKE WARMING UP
Most recently the Gamecocks rallied for two runs in the top of the eighth inning to pick up a 2-1 comeback victory at Arkansas on April 4, 2014. Trailing 1-0 entering the top of the eighth inning, the Gamecocks broke through as DC Arendas got things started with a one-out double to the gap in right-center. He would score in the next at bat as Tanner English knocked a RBI double down the left field line. With two outs and English still on second base, Marcus Mooney hit a RBI single into right field giving the Gamecocks the lead.
South Carolina is outscoring opponents 62-8 from the seventh inning through extra innings on the year. From the sixth inning to the end, South Carolina is also outscoring opponents 92-19.
NINTH INNING RALLY
On March 15, 2014, the Gamecocks rallied from three runs down with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat Ole Miss 5-4 in 10 innings. A two-out RBI single by Connor Bright and a two-run homer by pinch hitter Max Schrock tied it in the ninth with pinch hitter Brison Celek winning it for the Gamecocks in the 10th frame with a RBI single.
On March 29, 2014, Grayson Greiner's walk-off grand slam capped a six-run bottom of the ninth inning as South Carolina rallied from three runs down with two outs and no runners on base to defeat Tennessee 9-6 for a second consecutive walk-off win on the afternoon. Trailing 6-3 and down to its final at-bat the Gamecocks made their final rally push as pinch hitter Brison Celek kept the inning alive with a base hit to center field. The rally then continued with Max Schrock as the sophomore drove a 1-1 pitch to right field from reliever Josh Peterson just fair of the foul pole in right field for a home run cutting the deficit to one run. After the Volunteers made a change to left-hander Drake Owenby, the Gamecocks stayed alive as a fly ball off the bat of Joey Pankake was mishandled by right fielder Scott Price putting the tying run on second base. Kyle Martin drew a walk and Connor Bright was hit on a 2-2 pitch from Owenby to load the bases and set the stage for Greiner. Tennessee would make one more change as right-hander Peter Lenstrom entered from the bullpen. On a 1-0 pitch, Greiner belted the game-winning homer to left field setting off a frenzy in Carolina Stadium. It was Greiner's fourth home run of the season.
MONTGOMERY GETS IT STARTED
SEDDON SEALS IT
MINCEY WITH AN APPEARANCE
Greiner was named SEC Player of the Week on March 31 after his play in the Tennessee series. Greiner hit a walk-off grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning to lift South Carolina to a 9-6 win over Tennessee on Saturday. His play along with Jordan Gore's walk-off homer was No. 1 on ESPN's SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays of the Day.
Greiner is hitting .327 (34-for-104) for the season with 23 runs scored, five doubles, four homers and 30 RBI. He has a .405 on-base percentage and a .490 slugging mark.
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.
JACK OF ALL TRADES
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.
CROWE MAKES AN IMPACT
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.
A BRIGHT SPOT
Scott is 1-0 with a 0.95 ERA on the year. He has allowed just two runs on 10 hits in 19.0 innings, opponents hitting .161 against him.
MOONEY IN THE MIDDLE
Mooney is hitting .296 (34-for-115) this season with 14 runs scored, six doubles and a triple. He has 14 walks as well.
A JOLT FROM JORDAN
A LITTLE BIT OF ENGLISH
His top weekend was vs. Tennessee as he hit .462 (6-for-13) in the series. Caldwell went 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored and two RBI in the 8-0 win over the Volunteers.
WIDENER SHOWS VERSATILITY
Widener is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 10 appearances. He has 17 strikeouts to five walks in 20.2 innings pitched. Widener has also seen action in seven games at the plate with three starts as designated hitter.
MAX IT OUT
Schrock has a team-high five homers and 14 RBI.
AT THE PLATE, ON THE MOUND & IN THE FIELD
SHUT THEM OUT
HOME SWEET HOME
South Carolina is 177-33 in all-time games at Carolina Stadium, a winning percentage of .843. That is the best winning percentage of all 14 SEC schools since opening the facility.