April 12, 2012
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina (24-10, 5-7 SEC) returns home for a three-game SEC series this weekend against Mississippi State (21-12, 5-7 SEC) at Carolina Stadium. First pitch for the opener on Friday night is set for 7 p.m. Saturday's contest is scheduled for 4 p.m. with Sunday's series finale at 1:30 p.m. All three games can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College with live video broadcast at GamecocksOnline.com.
Radio: Gamecock IMG Network affiliates/Flagship WNKT FM 107.5 "The Game" in Columbia. Andy Demetra and Tommy Moody will call the action.
Television: Live video broadcast at GamecocksOnline.com
Internet: Live Gametracker Stats at GamecocksOnline.com. Additional coverage on Twitter @GamecockBasebll and Facebook/Gamecocksonline
PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
South Carolina - Michael Roth (Sr. LHP) 3-0, 1.98 ERA, 54.2 IP, 11 BB, 47 SO
Mississippi State - Chris Stratton (Jr. RHP) 7-0, 2.54 ERA, 49.2 IP, 14 BB, 67 SO
South Carolina - Jordan Montgomery (Fr. LHP) 2-0, 2.70 ERA, 30.0 IP, 2 BB, 27 SO
Mississippi State - Kendall Graveman (Jr. RHP) 2-1, 2.68 ERA, 47.0 IP, 13 BB, 27 SO
South Carolina - Colby Holmes (Jr. RHP) 4-0, 2.56 ERA, 38.2 IP, 10 BB, 34 SO
ROTH LEADS THE WAY ON THE FIELD
Senior left-hander Michael Roth improved to 3-0 on the year. Roth had a no-decision in Friday's game vs. Tennessee. He allowed three runs on six hits in 6.1 innings with no walks and three strikeouts. Roth leads the SEC in innings pitched with hurling 54.2 innings for the 2012 season. Opponents are hitting just .174 against him, the second best mark in the conference and he sports a 1.98 ERA, sixth best in the league. Roth has 47 strikeouts to 11 walks as well. Roth's victory vs. Vanderbilt was his 20th career win, making him the 20th player in school history to tally 20 or more career victories.
THE PRICE IS RIGHT
Junior right-hander Matt Price leads the SEC in opposing batting average with opponents batting just .158 against him. He is 3-3 for the year with a 3.14 ERA and 51 strikeouts in 43 innings pitched. His 51 strikeouts are sixth best in the conference. He is the career saves leader at Carolina with 31 over the past three years.
ONE MORE APPEARANCE FROM ROTH & PRICE
Both Matt Price and Michael Roth are among career leaders in appearances at South Carolina. Price sits at fifth with 84 appearances and Roth is sixth with 82 appearances. Rob Mosser (1990-93) holds the school record.
Appearance List 88 Rob Mosser (1990-93) 87 Aaron Rawl (2002-05) 87 Jason Pomar (1996-99) 86 Jamie Poston (1997-00) 84 Matt Price (2009-present) 82 Michael Roth (2009-present)
MATTHEWS FINDS HIS GROOVE
Senior outfielder Adam Matthews was 4-for-9 (.444) with a double and two RBI in the Tennessee series. Matthews leads the Gamecocks in conference games with a .308 average in 12 SEC contests (12-for-39) with four runs scored and four RBI.
MONTGOMERY NAMED SEC FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
South Carolina left-handed pitcher Jordan Montgomery has been named the Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week, the league announced Monday. In his first career SEC start, Montgomery worked a career-high eight innings and limited Tennessee to just one run on three hits on the way to a 2-1 South Carolina victory over the Volunteers. Against a Tennessee team that was on an eight-game winning streak, Montgomery kept UT at bay with 12 batters retired at one point in the game. Montgomery did not walk a batter and tallied seven strikeouts. On the season, Montgomery has a 2-0 record with a 2.70 ERA in seven appearances. The Sumter, S.C., native has 27 strikeouts to just two walks in 30.0 innings pitched. Opponents are batting just .204 against him.
WALKER PROVIDES A PUNCH
Junior first baseman Christian Walker continues to be among the top hitters in the league. Walker drove in three runs over the weekend vs. Tennessee and also scored twice. Walker leads the Gamecocks with a .355 average as well as seven homers and 35 RBI. Walker also has a tremendous walk-to-strikeout ratio with 23 free passes and just 14 walks. In the SEC, he is fifth in RBI, tied for fifth with a .474 on-base percentage, eighth in batting average and slugging percentage (.581) as well as total bases (72). He's been incredibly productive as well in conference play. In 12 SEC games, Walker has a league-high 13 walks, is second in runs scored (13) and home runs (4), and is third in on-base percentage at a .474 clip and fifth in slugging percentage at .628.
Walker was the top hitter for the Gamecocks in the Vanderbilt series as he hit .500 (6-for-12) with a .625 on-base percentage and a phenomenal 1.250 slugging percentage. Walker belted three homers in the series and drove in five runs with five runs scored as well. Walker tallied his first two-homer game of his career at South Carolina with three RBI and three runs scored in the 8-3 win on Friday vs. the Commodores. In Sunday's 6-4 win, he reached base five times including a game-winning two-run homer in the top of the 13th in the victory. Walker also became the 25th player in South Carolina history to reach the 200 career hit total with his homer in the 8-3 win over Vanderbilt.
He is now at 215 for his three-year career with the Garnet & Black, 18th best in school history. He is 30 hits shy of Hank Small (1972-75) and the Top 10 career hits total at Carolina.
Top 10 Career Hits List 303 Mac White (1991-94) 299 Michael Campbell (2003-06) 285 Drew Meyer (2000-02) 265 Landon Powell (2001-04) 265 Derick Urquhart (1995-98) 263 Whit Merrifield (2008-10) 262 Andrew Crisp (2005-09) 250 Mike Curry (1996-98) 246 Justin Smoak (2006-08) 245 Hank Small (1972-75)
South Carolina is 13-8 in games decided by three runs or less through 34 games. The Gamecocks also own a 7-7 record in one-run contests.
MARZILLI LEADS IT OFF
Junior outfielder Evan Marzilli had reached base in the first 31 games of the 2012 season but saw his streak snap in Sunday's 6-1 victory vs. the Volunteers. Despite his streak ending, Marzilli had a key sacrifice fly in the win over Tennessee. Marzilli is hitting .297 (41-for-138) for the year with 26 runs scored, eight doubles, a triple, a homer and 16 RBI. He also leads the Gamecocks with six stolen bases. Marzilli had four hits including a three-run homer in the 8-5 win over Furman and was 3-for-4 win the 9-3 win over Florida. Marzilli had a game-winning three-run double as well as a career-high four RBI in the 6-4 win over Appalachian State. He also tied a school record with three doubles in the 2-1 win over Princeton. It is the 25th time in school history that a player has tallied three doubles in one game.
Marzilli's defense was essential for the Gamecocks in the 3-2 win over Clemson in 11 innings. Marzilli had his first assist of the year with a throw to home plate to nab a Tiger runner trying to score and his diving catch with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning sealed the Gamecock victory.
Marzilli was effective in the first weekend vs. VMI as he hit .500 (6-for-12) with a .538 on-base percentage. Marzilli had a 3-for-4 day at the plate on Opening Day. He scored the game-winning run in the opener and also was keyt in the 13-1 victory as he went 2-for-4 with a triple, run scored and two RBI.
SHOWING OFF THE GLOVE
The Gamecocks have also been playing pretty good defense with 16 errorless games on the year. South Carolina is fielding .977 with only 29 errors for the season. That is tied for second best in the Southeastern Conference.
A CALL TO ARMS
The Gamecocks rank second in the SEC with a 2.86 ERA and 311 strikeouts in 308.2 innings pitched to just 101 walks. Opponents are hitting .196 against the staff, the best mark in the conference.
Freshman infielder Joey Pankake has hit well including three hits and a homer in the 7-0 win at College of Charleston. Pankake tallied two doubles and scored a run in the 6-4 win over Vanderbilt. Pankake is hitting .304 (31-for-102) with 25 runs scored, eight doubles, a triple, two homers and 11 RBI. He had a 5-for-6 game with a pair of RBI in the 8-5 win over Furman. The last Gamecock player with five hits in a game was Christian Walker on April 5, 2011 vs. USC Upstate. He tallied his first career homer and RBI in the 2-1 win vs. Presbyterian. The game-winning hit came in the bottom of the fourth inning. In the Elon series, he was 2-for-4 with a triple and three runs scored in the 8-1 win in the opener. He had two walks in game two and a hit and a run scored in the Sunday series finale.
Tyler Webb MAKES HIS MARK
Junior left-hander Tyler Webb has continued to shine in his role out of the bullpen. He hurled two perfect innings in the 8-0 win over the Citadel. Along with 2.2 scoreless innings on Wednesday, Webb also hurled one perfect inning of relief and picked up the win in Saturday's 2-1 victory over Tennessee. Webb is 3-0 for the season with a 0.71 ERA out of the bullpen. He has 18, that leads the team. Webb has 28 strikeouts to just 6 walks and only 13 hits allowed in 25.1 innings. Opponents are batting .141 against him.
ENGLISH HAS A KNACK
Another key offensive contributor has been freshman outfielder Tanner English. English leads the Gamecocks with 13 multi-hit games. He tied a season-high with three hits in the 8-0 win over The Citadel. English is batting .295 (36-for-122) and has scored 20 runs for the season. English had two hits in the 8-3 win over Vanderbilt as well as two hits in the 12-4 loss to the Commodores. He tallied two hits in the 9-3 win over Florida. He was 2-for-5 with a run scored in the 8-5 win over Furman He had a season-high three hits and a run scored in the 5-2 win over Charleston Southern. English went 2-for-4 with two runs in the 8-1 win over UNC Asheville. He scored a run in all three games of the Elon series and hit safely in all three games as well. English drove in three runs for the weekend with a key two-run triple to left-center in 6-0 win over Elon in the second inning.
CELEK DRIVES THEM IN
Sophomore Brison Celek drove in two runs in the 7-3 win at The Citadel. He also had a two-run double in the 8-3 win at Vanderbilt. He is batting .261 in 20 games (12-for-46) with three runs scored, four doubles and six RBI. K-MART Freshman Kyle Martin had a big pinch-hit two-run single in the 9-3 win over Florida. Martin is hitting .362 (17-for-47) with six RBI and eight runs scored. Martin was the starting designated hitter the entire weekend of the Princeton series. He hit .556 (5-for-9) with a pair of runs scored and a RBI in the weekend sweep. Martin tied a season-high with three hits including a solo home run in the 2-1 win over Princeton on Friday night.
BRING THE PAYNE
Sophomore infielder Erik Payne has the third best average on the team in SEC games with a .294 average (10-for-34) in 10 conference games. Payne had a key two-run double in the 9-3 win over Florida. He was 6-for-11 (.545) in the Kentucky series as well as 3-for-7 in midweek contests vs. CSU and ASU. Payne had two hits apiece in all three games at Kentucky as well as a solo home run in Friday's 4-3 loss. Payne is hitting .290 (20-for-69) for the season with two doubles, two triples, two homers, six runs scored and 11 RBI. He owns a .464 slugging percentage.
HOLMES WITH THE ANSWER
Junior right-hander Colby Holmes allowed just one run on four hits in a season-high seven innings as South Carolina defeated Tennessee 6-1 in the rubber game on Sunday afternoon. Holmes carried a shutout into the seventh inning before allowing a solo home run. He did not walk a batter and tied a season-high with six strikeouts as well. Holmes leads the team with a 4-0 record. He has a 2.56 ERA and has 34 strikeouts to 10 walks in 38.2 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting only .218 against him.
BEAL BRINGS IT
Freshman right-hander Evan Beal hurled two scoreless innings with two strikeouts for his fifth save of the year in the 6-1 win over Tennessee. He is 1-3 with a 4.87 ERA. He has 30 strikeouts and just 12 walks in 20.1 innings. Beal earned his first career win in the 9-6 victory vs. Clemson. Beal entered the game in the bottom of the fifth and retired nine in a row and lasted four innings allowing just two runs on three hits while striking out five and walking one.
LB LIGHTS IT UP
Junior third baseman LB Dantzler tallied a walk-off RBI single in the 2-1 win on Saturday night vs. Tennessee. Dantzler is second on the team in RBI with 25 for the season. He is hitting .227 (29-for-128) with 19 runs scored, four doubles and five homers. He hit his fifth homer of the year and finished with three RBI in the 6-4 win over Vanderbilt. He was 2-for-4 with a season-high three runs scored in the 6-4 win vs. Appalachian State. He also went 2-for-4 with a RBI in the 6-3 loss at Kentucky. Dantzler was solid in his debut vs. VMI as he tallied a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning as South Carolina defeated VMI 2-1 in the opener. Dantzler followed that up with a three-run homer, a double and four RBI in the 13-1 win over VMI that helped Carolina sweep the Keydets. Dantzler finished the weekend 4-for-11 (.364) at the plate with five RBI and a .727 slugging percentage.
DYNAMIC DUO BEHIND THE DISH
Freshman catcher Grayson Greiner hit a grand slam homer, the first Gamecock grand slam for the season in the 8-0 win over The Citadel. Greiner was also the first Gamecock to hit two home runs in a game this season when he belted a pair in the 6-5 loss at Clemson. Greiner had a three-run homer and a solo shot. The last Gamecock player to hit two homers in a game was Steven Neff on May 11 in a 7-1 win over Arkansas. The last freshman to accomplish the feat was Adam Matthews in 2009 against East Carolina in the NCAA Regional, a 12-2 win over the Pirates. Not to be outdone is junior catcher Dante Rosenberg, who has played in 19 games with 12 starts. Rosenberg was 2-for-4 with two doubles, a run scored and a RBI including the game-winning RBI hit in the bottom of the sixth inning of a 3-2 win over VMI.
IF YOU BUILD IT - THEY WILL COME
South Carolina is among the nation leaders in attendance after three weekends. South Carolina has totaled 162,871 in attendance for 22 home games for an average of 7,403, both marks are third highest in the nation. All three games of the Florida series were sellouts, only the second time in Carolina Stadium history that the Gamecocks have had an entire series sold out. The total of 24,726 was duplicated in 2011 in the Vanderbilt series. Opening Day was sold out with a crowd of 8,242 in attendance. Carolina's second sellout came on March 3 vs. Clemson. South Carolina has sold out Carolina Stadium with capacity crowds 17 times in school history. South Carolina set a record for season tickets sold this year with a total of 5,580 sold in the preseason, surpassing the previous record of 5,414 set last year. South Carolina's total attendance of 297,279 for 40 games last year at Carolina Stadium was second highest in the country.
The Gamecocks own a 110-23 (.827) record since opening the facility on Feb. 21, 2009.
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