South Carolina Baseball Notebook
April 12, 2010
Columbia, S.C. - South Carolina went 3-1 this past week with a non-conference win vs. College of Charleston on Wednesday night and two victories in three games in a weekend series at Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks are now 25-7 on the year and 9-3 in SEC play. South Carolina is tied for the lead in league play with Arkansas and one game ahead of Florida in the SEC Eastern Division. The Gamecocks are the only SEC squad to have won all four of its conference series.
Vs. Top 25: 5-5
This Week: 3-1
The Gamecocks won their second consecutive series vs. Vanderbilt and now lead the series history 42-18 vs. the Commodores.
Sunday's win vs. Vanderbilt saw South Carolina pitchers Jay Brown, Michael Roth and Matt Price combined to face the minimum and record a two-hit shutout to defeat Vanderbilt 2-0 in the rubber game of the three-game SEC series. In his second start of the year, Brown commanded the zone and worked ahead of the Vanderbilt hitters yielding just two hits while striking out two batters. He is now 2-0 on the year. Brown recorded a double play, as did Michael Roth in the seventh inning putting the Gamecocks in position to face the minimum 27 batters. It would be freshman right-hander Matt Price that would close it out, as the righty worked two perfect innings with three strikeouts to earn his fourth save of the season. The shutout was the first for Vanderbilt at home in SEC play since LSU won 3-0 on May 1, 2005.
Price also earned a save in Friday's victory over Vanderbilt with 0.2 perfect innings of relief. Price has been strong out of the pen for the Gamecocks with a 3-0 record and a 1.23 ERA in 13 appearances. He now has four saves on the year as well. Price has struck out 35 batters and walked just five in 22 innings pitched. Opponents are batting just .133 against him. All four of his saves have come in SEC play, the most among SEC relievers in SEC games. He is tied for fifth overall in the conference.
Senior right-hander Blake Cooper also was effective on the mound for Carolina in Friday's 3-2 win over Vanderbilt. Cooper ended up going 7.1 innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on two hits with three strikeouts and four walks to improve to 6-0 on the year. He is tied with three other pitchers for first in victories in the SEC (6) and also ranks second in the conference in opposing batting average (.195) and innings pitched (53.2). He also is seventh in the league in strikeouts (47) and ninth in ERA (2.85). Cooper now is tied for 10th on the all-time career victory list at Carolina with 27 career wins alongside Jason Haynie (1993-96).
The Gamecock pitching staff leads the SEC in opposing batting average with opponents batting just .217 for the season. The staff also ranks second in the league in ERA (3.43) and strikeouts (309). The staff owns five shutouts on the year as well.
Carolina's pitchers faced a Vanderbilt team that came into the weekend series batting .340 for the season and the Gamecock staff limited the Commodores to 19 hits in three games.
Junior Whit Merrifield continues to be one of the top bats in the Southeastern Conference. Merrifield had two hits including a game-winning homer to lead off Sunday's 2-0 victory at Vanderbilt. He has hit safely in 31 of 32 games this year and currently owns a 19-game hitting streak. Merrifield is now tied for 15th on the all-time hits list at Carolina with 215 alongside Reese Havens (2006-07-08). He is also 10th on the all-time list in singles with 157. Merrifield is the only Gamecock player to have started all 32 games and is batting .353 (47-for-133) with seven HR and 24 RBI. He has a .428 on-base percentage and a .571 slugging percentage. Merrifield is third in the SEC in runs scored (40) and is tied for ninth in hits (47) as well as total bases (76). He is 18-for-47 (.383) in SEC games.
Senior first baseman/designated hitter Nick Ebert has hit safely in four straight games and hit his third home run of the season in Wednesday's 6-3 win over College of Charleston. Ebert was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBI in the victory over the Cougars. He has raised his batting average to .264 (19-for-72) and has a .409 on-base percentage.
Junior Parker Bangs was 2-for-3 with a double and two runs scored in the 6-3 win over College of Charleston. Bangs is batting .355 (11-for-31) for the season with three HR, nine runs scored and 13 RBI. He owns a .742 slugging percentage. Bangs also has 19 strikeouts in 12 innings pitched on the mound in a relief role.
Freshman reliever Ethan Carter continues to put together stellar appearances out of the pen. Carter is now 1-0 with a 0.71 ERA in 11 appearances and 12.2 innings pitched. He has 13 strikeouts and opponents are batting just .119 against him. Carter did not allow a run in 0.2 innings of relief in Friday's win at Vanderbilt.
Sophomore left-hander Michael Roth is second in the SEC in appearances with 17 for the season. Roth retired the lone batter he faced in Friday's win at Vanderbilt and got a double play against Vandy in Sunday's win as well. He has a 2.45 ERA and three saves in 11 innings pitched with 12 strikeouts.
Despite the loss on Saturday, Carolina received a strong relief outing from junior right-hander Jose Mata. The Gamecock reliever kept the team in the game with 4.2 scoreless innings of relief and just four hits allowed. Mata is 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA on the year in 13 appearances. He has pitched 17.2 innings and opponents are batting just .210 against him for the year.
South Carolina did not make an error in the Vanderbilt series, the first time this season that South Carolina went errorless in a weekend series. South Carolina owns a .975 fielding percentage.
The Gamecocks are batting .294 (321-for-1090) for the season with a .398 on-base percentage and .465 slugging percentage.
South Carolina is 10-4 in games decided by three runs or less. Carolina is 22-1 for the season when leading entering the top of the seventh inning. South Carolina is also 18-1 for the season when scoring first in a game. In other superlatives, the Gamecocks are 21-2 when out-hitting its opponent.
All times Eastern