COLUMBIA, S.C. -
South Carolina (28-9, 8-7 SEC) returns to SEC play this weekend with a three-game series at Auburn (21-17, 6-9 SEC). First pitch for the opener is 7 p.m. ET on Friday. Saturday's game will be televised on CBS Sports Network with a first pitch at 5 p.m. ET. Sunday's series finale is 2 p.m. ET on CSS. All three games can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, "The Game."
South Carolina is ranked No. 6 by the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll, No. 9 by Perfect Game, No. 11 by Baseball America and No. 15 by Collegiate Baseball.
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network affiliates/Flagship WNKT FM 107.5 "The Game" in Columbia. Andy Demetra and Tommy Moody will call the action.
Television: Saturday - CBS Sports Network (Brad Johansen & Paul Byrd); Sunday - CSS (Matt Stewart & Joe Beckwith)
Internet: Additional coverage on Twitter @GamecockBasebll and Facebook/Gamecocksonline
PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION Friday
South Carolina - Jordan Montgomery (Jr. LHP) 5-2, 3.48 ERA, 51.2 IP, 18 BB, 55 SO
Auburn - Dillon Ortman (Sr. RHP) 6-2, 2.02 ERA, 62.1 IP, 9 BB, 43 SO
South Carolina - Jack Wynkoop (So. LHP) 5-2, 2.33 ERA, 54.0 IP, 8 BB, 44 SO
Auburn - Keegan Thompson (Fr. RHP) 5-2, 1.72 ERA, 62.2 IP, 15 BB, 51 SO
THE AUBURN SERIES
South Carolina leads the all-time series histoy vs. Auburn 41-19 with the Gamecocks having won 13 consecutive series against the Tigers dating back to the 1998 season. South Carolina last met Auburn in 2012 with a three-game sweep on the Plains as well as a victory at the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala.
A LOOK BACK
South Carolina went 2-2 last week with a 9-2 win at Furman and one win in three games in this weekend's series vs. Florida. The Gamecocks are 8-7 in the SEC. South Carolina is one game behind Florida for first in the Eastern Division as well as two games behind Alabama in the overall race.
MONTGOMERY GETS IT STARTED
Junior left-hander Jordan Montgomery is now 5-2 on the year after earning a win in Friday's 4-1 victory over Florida. Montgomery allowed just one run on seven hits in seven innings with a walk and eight strikeouts. The Gamecock southpaw is 5-2 with a 3.48 ERA in nine starts. He has struck out 55 batters in 51.2 innings with 50 hits allowed.
Junior first baseman Kyle Martin has been productive at the plate with a six-game hitting streak. He leads the team with a .340 average (49-for-144) with 27 runs scored and 22 RBI. He owns a .402 on-base percentage and a .472 slugging percentage. Martin homered and a tied a career-high with four RBI in the 9-2 win vs. Furman. He also went 2-for-4 with a RBI in the 4-1 win vs. the Gators. He was also 2-for-5 with two runs scored and a double in the 6-5 loss vs. the Gators on Sunday. Martin is hitting .317 (20-for-63) in SEC contests. He leads the Gamecocks with 16 multi-hit games as well.
SEDDON SEALS IT
Junior right-hander Joel Seddon picked up his ninth save of the year with two scoreless innings in the 4-1 victory over Florida. Seddon worked a career-high five innings in Saturday's 4-3 loss in 13 innings vs. the Gators. He allowed two runs, one earned, the first two runs he has allowed all season. Seddon is 1-1 on the year with a 0.38 ERA in 24.0 innings pitched with 32 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting .104 against him.
MINCEY WITH AN APPEARANCE
Junior right-hander Cody Mincey leads the Gamecocks with 19 relief appearances. He is 2-0 with a 0.82 ERA. He has allowed two runs on 11 hits in 22.0 innings pitched. He has struck out 32 to just 10 walks, opponents are batting .153 against him.
The Gamecocks have won five games this season when trailing entering the seventh inning including three wins when trailing entering the ninth inning.
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 68-18 from the seventh inning through extra innings on the year. From the sixth inning to the end, South Carolina is also outscoring opponents 101-29.
NINTH INNING RALLY
South Carolina rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the top of the ninth with four runs in a 5-3 win at Clemson on March 2, 2014. Four consecutive two-out hits in the top of the ninth inning led to four runs. Trailing 3-1 entering the top of the ninth inning, the Gamecocks got things started with a base hit up the middle of the bat of Kyle Martin. With two outs and Martin still on first base, Grayson Greiner kept the inning alive with a single up the middle as well. Pinch hitter Brison Celek fought to a 2-2 count against Clemson reliever Clate Schmidt before knocking a base hit into left field to load the bases. That set the stage for sophomore shortstop Marcus Mooney, who jumped on the first pitch from Schmidt for a single into center field. Martin scored as did Greiner to tie the game. It was a tight play at the plate as center fielder Tyler Slaton's throw made it to home plate, but Clemson catcher Chris Okey was unable to hold on to the ball on a tag attempt as Greiner was sliding in for the tying run. With runners on second and third, Tanner English fought off a pair of two strike pitches and then belted a double to left field scoring both runners and giving the Gamecocks a two-run lead. Junior right-hander Cody Mincey retired all three Tiger batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth inning to secure the Carolina victory.
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.
Junior catcher Grayson Greiner was named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List for the top catcher in college baseball and is on USA Baseball's Midseason Watch List for the Golden Spikes Award.
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 .309 (38-for-123) for the season with 24 runs scored and
34 RBI. He had a two-run single in the 4-1 win over Florida. Greiner leads the Gamecocks with nine multi-RBI games. He also has a team-high 13 RBI in SEC contests.
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.
Junior infielder Joey Pankake is hitting .325 (41-for-126) with a team-high 35 runs scored. Pankake's on-base percentage is a team-best .409 with a .444 slugging mark.
Pankake leads the Gamecocks in SEC games with a .356 average (21-for-59) in 15 league contests.
JACK OF ALL TRADES
Despite a no-decision on Saturday, sophomore left-hander Jack Wynkoop put together a quality start. He allowed just one run on five hits in seven innings with a walk and three strikeouts. Wynkoop is 5-2 with a 2.33 ERA in 54.0 innings pitched with 44 strikeouts to eight walks. Opponents own a .248 average against him.
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.
Sophomore infielder DC Arendas reachced base in all five plate appearances at The CItadel on Tuesday with a solo homer, three walks and a hit by pitch as well as two runs scored. He has played 33 games with 28 starts and is hitting .245 (25-for-102) with four homers and 15 RBI. He has a .353 on-base percentage and is fielding .981.
CROWE MAKES AN IMPACT
Freshman right-hander Wil Crowe worked 7.1 innings in Sunday's 6-5 loss and allowed five runs, two earned, on 10 hits with a walk and four strikeouts. He is 6-2 on the year with a 2.13 ERA in a team-high 55.0 innings pitched.
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
Junior outfielder Connor Bright has South Carolina's second best average hitting at a .336 clip (45-for-134) with 10 doubles, 23 RBI and 24 runs scored. Bright has a .378 on-base percentage and a .410 slugging percentage. He owns 13 multi-hit games
Freshman right-hander Reed Scott has been effective in a middle relief role for the Gamecocks. Scott pitched six scoreless innings of relief to earn his first career win in a Gamecock uniform and kept the Gamecocks alive in a 9-6 come-from-behind victory vs. Tennessee.
Scott is 1-0 with a 1.17 ERA on the year. He has allowed just three runs on 14 hits in 23.0 innings, opponents hitting .182 against him.
MOONEY IN THE MIDDLE
Sophomore shortstop Marcus Mooney is on a five-game hitting streak and is up to a .291 average (37-for-127) at the plate. He has scored 15 runs and driven in 15 runs as well. Mooney has seven doubles, second highest on the team. Mooney now has 11 of his 15 RBI with two outs this year.
A JOLT FROM JORDAN
Freshman infielder Jordan Gore hit his second homer of the year in Sunday's loss. Two of Gore's five hits this year have been homers. Gore hit his first career homer and drove in his first career run with a walk-off solo homer in the 14th inning of South Carolina's 3-2 win over Tennessee.
A LITTLE BIT OF ENGLISH
Junior outfielder Tanner English tied a season-high with three hits in Saturday's 4-3 loss. English is batting .291 (37-for-127) with 16 runs scored and 19 RBI. English's eight stolen bases lead the team.
Junior left-hander Vince Fiori pitched 1.2 scoreless innings in Sunday's 6-5 loss vs. Florida. He allowed just one hit in 1.2 innings with a strikeout. Fiori has a 0.00 ERA in 16.0 innings pitched with 15 strikeouts to six walks. Opponents own a .186 average against him.
WIDENER SHOWS VERSATILITY
Freshman right-hander Taylor Widener improved to 2-0 with a win last Tuesday vs. Furman. Widener pitched 4.2 scoreless innings with a season-high four strikeouts. In addition, Widener was the starting designated hitter on Sunday vs. Florida and had a RBI single and scored a run in the 6-5 loss. Widener has a 1.17 ERA in 23.0 innings with 21 strikeouts and opponents hitting .181 against him.
Two Gamecock players have started all 36 games this year, junior first baseman Kyle Martin and junior center fielder Tanner English.
HARRINGTON MAKES FIRST START OF THE YEAR
Junior outfielder Patrick Harrington made his first start of the year in Sunday's 6-5 loss. Harrington walked twice and drove in a run as he started in left field for the Gamecocks. Heh also walked twice and scored a run in Tuesday's 4-1 loss vs. Charleston Southern.
The Gamecocks played three consecutive error-less games vs. Furman and in the first two contests vs. the Gators. Carolina is fielding .975 for the season. South Carolina turned nine double plays in last week's four games.
AT THE PLATE, IN THE FIELD AND ON THE MOUND
South Carolina is hitting .282 (360-for-1276) with a .357 on-base percentage and a .388 slugging percentage. The Gamecocks have a 2.08 ERA in 338.0 innings. Opponents are batting .219 against the staff.
South Carolina is 13-0 on the year when scoring six runs or more and 26-4 when allowing five runs or less. In addition the Gamecocks are 25-3 when outhitting the opponent and 21-3 when scoring first. South Carolina is 21-1 when leading after six innings and 7-8 on the year when trailing or tied. South Carolina is 13-7 in games decided by three runs or less 5-3 in games decided by one run.