April 13, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. — A pair of nationally ranked teams meet at Founders Park this weekend as South Carolina (21-11, 7-5 SEC) hosts Mississippi State (23-12, 8-4 SEC). The series begins Friday at 7 p.m. with Saturday's contest at 4 p.m. and Sunday's series finale at 4 p.m. as well. Friday and Saturday's games will be broadcast on SEC Network Plus with Sunday's game televised on the SEC Network. All three games can also be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, "The Game."
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUP
South Carolina is ranked in every major collegiate ranking. The Gamecocks are ranked No. 8 by Perfect Game, No. 11 by the NCBWA and in the USA Today coaches poll, No. 13 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 14 by D1Baseball and No. 17 by Baseball America. In addition, South Carolina is No. 15 in the RPI rankings released by the NCAA on Monday morning.
Mississippi State is ranked as high as No. 13 in the nation by Baseball America. The Bulldogs are also No. 15 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 20 by Perfect Game, and No. 21 by D1Baseball, the NCBWA and in the USA Today coaches poll.
South Carolina went 2-2 last week with a non-conference win vs. Furman and a win vs. Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks are 21-11 on the year and 7-5 in SEC play, one game back of first place in the league.
South Carolina pitchers own a 3.25 ERA with a .222 opponents batting average, ranking fourth in the SEC in both categories. The Gamecocks have allowed 122 runs, 106 earned, on 240 hits in 293.2 innings with 329 strikeouts to 114 walks. Carolina's 2.88 ERA in 12 SEC games also leads the SEC. The Gamecocks tied a Founders Park record last weekend for strikeouts in a three-game series as the Carolina pitchers combined for 39 strikeouts in the three games vs. Vanderbilt.
AT THE PLATE AND ON THE FIELD
South Carolina is hitting .276 (303-for-1097) for the season with a .358 on-base percentage and a .414 slugging percentage. The Gamecocks have 28 homers on the year. South Carolina has equaled or out-hit its opponent in 23 of 32 games this year. South Carolina is fielding .979 for the season with 15 games without an error. South Carolina is 12-3 when not committing an error. Carolina is hitting .254 (105-for-414) in SEC games, that ranks fifth in league contests.
South Carolina is 17-5 on the year when scoring first in a game and 17-3 when entering the seventh inning with a lead and 20-3 when entering the ninth inning with the lead. The Gamecocks are 13-2 when scoring six or more runs and 20-6 when allowing five runs or less. South Carolina is 10-9 in games decided by three runs or less.
Eight of South Carolina's first 12 SEC games have been decided by three runs or less with the Gamecocks 3-5 in those contests. South Carolina is 9-1 in five-plus run games.
START WITH CLARKE
Despite a no-decision in Friday's 5-3 loss, junior right-hander Clarke Schmidt gave the Gamecocks a quality start. Schmidt allowed two runs on five hits in seven innings with a walk and 11 strikeouts.
For the season he is 4-0 with a 1.15 ERA in seven starts. Schmidt has allowed just nine runs this year, six earned, on 32 hits in 47.0 innings with 14 walks to 57 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting .193 against him. Schmidt ranks second in the SEC in ERA as well as sixth in opposing batting average and sixth in strikeouts. His 1.29 ERA in league games is fourth best as well.
Schmidt is one of 40 players in the nation named to USA Baseball's Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List, it was announced on Wednesday afternoon. Presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, the 40th Golden Spikes Award will be presented on June 29 in Los Angeles to the top amateur baseball player in the country.
Sophomore infielder LT Tolbert continues to lead the Gamecocks in hitting with a .333 average (36-for-108) in 29 games played with 28 starts. Tolbert has tied his career-high four times in the past five games with three RBI. He drove in three runs in the 6-1 win over Furman, hit a three-run homer in the 7-6 loss to Vanderbilt, hit another three-run homer in the 6-1 win over the Commodores and drove in three runs in Tuesday's loss vs. North Carolina.
Tolbert is hitting .405 (15-for-37) in his last 10 games with 16 of his 24 RBI this season coming in that span. Tolbert is also South Carolina's leading hitter in SEC games batting at a .319 clip (15-for-47) in conference play.
HILL ON THE MOUND
Sophomore right-hander Adam Hill carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning of the 6-1 win vs. Vanderbilt last Saturday. Hill improved to 2-3 allowing one run in six-plus innings of work with five walks and tying a career-high with 11 strikeouts. Hill owns a 2.23 ERA in seven starts. He has allowed 12 runs, 10 earned, on 28 hits in 40.1 innings with 17 walks to 48 strikeouts. Opponents are batting .199 against him. Hill is eighth in the SEC in opponents batting average and eighth in the SEC in ERA.
CATCHING UP WITH CULLEN
Sophomore catcher Chris Cullen is on a nine-game hitting streak heading into the weekend. Cullen hit .375 (3-for-8) in a pair of starts vs. the Commodores with three runs scored. He is batting .304 (24-for-79) for the year with 15 RBI and 16 runs scored as well as four homers and five doubles and a .409 on-base percentage.
REAGAN FROM THE LEFT
Senior left-hander Josh Reagan had a pair of scoreless outings vs. the Commodores. Reagan pitched 0.2 scoreless in the 5-3 loss to Vanderbilt and followed that up with three scoreless innings of relief with two strikeouts for a save in the 6-1 win vs. the Commodores. Reagan is 3-1 with two saves in 14 relief appearances. He owns a 2.70 ERA. He has allowed nine runs, eight earned, on 22 hits in 26.2 innings with 28 strikeouts and just seven walks.
CORTES IN A GROOVE
Freshman outfielder Carlos Cortes hit .333 (4-for-12) in the Vandy series with a pair of RBI and a run scored. Cortes' average is up to .286 (18-for-63) with seven runs scored and 12 RBI in 15 starts. Cortes is hitting .394 (13-for-33) with five runs scored and 10 of his 12 RBI this season in the last 10 games. Cortes has hit .375 (9-for-24) in SEC play.
THE CROWE SHOW
Junior right-hander Wil Crowe worked into the seventh inning of a 7-6 loss vs. Vanderbilt on Thursday. Crowe allowed seven runs, four earned, on 11 hits with two walks and five strikeouts. Crowe is 3-2 with a 3.33 ERA in eight starts. He has struck out 52 in 48.2 innings pitched with opponents batting .237 against him. Crowe is 11th in the SEC in strikeouts and innings pitched.
Junior outfielder Alex Destino drove in a pair of runs in the 6-1 win vs. Vanderbilt and also hit a solo homer, his fifth round tripper of the year in Thursday's 7-6 loss vs. the Commodores. Destino is batting .268 (33-for-123) and leads the team with 25 RBI. He has a team-high eight multi-RBI games.
BOWERS BRINGS IT
Senior right-hander Colie Bowers was effective in relief in the 5-3 loss to the Commodores in 13 innings. Bowers allowed just one run on one hit in four innings with two walks and five strikeouts. Bowers is 2-0 with three saves in 13 relief appearances with a 0.83 ERA. He has allowed four runs, two earned, on nine hits in 21.2 innings with seven walks to 25 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting .123 against him.
OLSON PROVIDES A SPARK
Sophomore outfielder Jacob Olson is second on the team in hitting with a .305 average (36-for-118) with 19 RBI and 24 runs scored. Olson leads the Gamecocks in slugging percentage at .500 for the season. He has 12 extra base hits with six doubles, a triple and five homers. Olson has reached base in 21 straight games.
TJ LEADS IT OFF
Sophomore outfielder TJ Hopkins was 2-for-4 with a double a RBI and a run scored in the 6-1 win vs. Vanderbilt and followed that up with a 3-for-4 day at the plate with a double on Tuesday vs. North Carolina. Hopkins is hitting .283 (30-for-106) with a team-high 25 runs scored. He leads the team in extra base hits with 13 as he owns seven doubles, two ripples and four homers. Hopkins has 14 RBI for the season.
THE VERSATILE LAWSON
Sophomore right-hander Graham Lawson pitched 1.1 scoreless innings of relief with three strikeouts in the 7-6 loss to the Commodores. Lawson has 14 strikeouts in 16.2 innings with opponents batting .226 against him. He is 2-0 on the year.
JONAH WITH A JOLT
Junior infielder Jonah Bride is third on the team in hitting with a .301 average (34-for-113) with 16 RBI and 17 runs scored. Bride is second on the team in on-base percentage with a .398 mark with 13 walks to 10 strikeouts. Bride and Alex Destino are the only two Gamecocks to have started all 32 games this year.
Freshman right-hander Colby Lee pitched 3.1 scoreless innings of relief in the 6-1 win vs. Furman and followed that up with 0.2 scoreless in the 5-3 loss to Vanderbilt. Lee is 1-0 with a 2.45 ERA in seven appearances. He has 12 strikeouts in 14.2 innings with opponents batting .208 against him.
Junior infielder Madison Stokes hit .333 (4-for-12) in the Vanderbilt series with a RBI and two runs scored. He was 2-for-5 with a run scored in the 5-3 loss to the Commodores.
Senior right-hander Reed Scott has made 14 relief appearances and has moved into a tie for ninth all-time in career appearances with the Gamecocks with 79 with the Garnet & Black. He is 1-2 with a 3.86 ERA and two saves. He has allowed 14 runs, 13 earned, on 28 hits in 30.1 innings with 12 walks and 28 strikeouts.
ON BASE WITH WILLIAMS
Junior first baseman Matt Williams leads South Carolina in on-base percentage at a .409 mark and owns a team-high 20 walks. Williams has played in all 32 games with 28 starts. He is hitting .270 (27-for-100) for the season.
JOHNSON BRINGS THE HEAT
Junior outfielder Alex Destino went 2-for-4 with two RBI and two runs scored in a 15-1 win over The Citadel. Destino is batting .286 (30-for-105) with 16 runs scored and a team-high 22 RBI. He has a .356 on-base percentage and a .438 slugging mark. Destino has four homers.
JOHNSON BRINGS THE HEAT
Junior right-hander Tyler Johnson made his first appearance in over a month on Tuesday vs. North Carolina after being out with a sore arm. Johnson pitched a scoreless inning of relief with a strikeout.
Johnson pitched a scoreless inning of relief for his fourth save of the season in the 2-0 win at Clemson. Johnson has four saves in six relief appearances. He has struck out 13 in 7.2 innings of work out of the bullpen. Johnson struck out five of six batters he faced for his third save of the year in the 8-4 win over Appalachian State. He earned two saves the previous week with 1.1 innings of work in the 5-4 win over Charlotte followed by a scoreless ninth inning in which he struck out the side in the 4-3 victory over Wright State.
THERE'S Hunter Taylor
Junior catcher Hunter Taylor is hitting .277 (13-for-47) with seven runs scored and three RBI as well as four doubles and a .375 on-base percentage.
Freshman first baseman Riley Hogan got the start at designated hitter and delivered for the Gamecocks in a 4-2 win vs. Alabama going 2-for-3 with a RBI double and reaching base in three of four plate appearances. Hogan is hitting .227 (5-for-22) with two runs scored and two RBI.
ROW WITH IT
Junior infielder Justin Row hit a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning as Carolina defeated Alabama 6-5. Row is hitting .292 (7-for-24) with four RBI and five runs scored.
THE MIDDLE INNINGS
South Carolina is outscoring its opponent 86-32 in the middle innings (4-5-6) this year.
THE MORRIS CODE
Freshman right-hander Cody Morris is 2-1 with a 3.12 ERA in five starts. He has 22 strikeouts to four walks in 17.1 innings with opponents batting .219 against him.
PARKE PROVIDES RELIEF
Junior left-hander John Parke has a win and a save in two his last four relief appearances. Parke has struck out nine in 7.2 innings.
Freshman right-hander Sawyer Bridges pitched a scoreless inning of relief with a strikeout in the 15-1 win over The Citadel. Bridges has 11 strikeouts in eight innings in seven appearances for the Gamecocks.
Sophomore outfielder Danny Blair was 1-for-2 with a RBI and a run scored in the 4-2 win over Alabama on Sunday. He has four stolen bases on the year and a .338 on-base percentage. Blair has played in 29 games with 17 starts.
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