South Carolina Baseball Notebook
April 18, 2011
By Andrew Kitick
Columbia, S.C. - South Carolina continued the 2011 season winning two of three games vs. No. 1 Vanderbilt in a three-game SEC baseball series. Carolina has now won all nine three-game series it has played this year including a pair against No. 1 teams. South Carolina sits in first place in the SEC, 28-7 overall with a 12-3 record in league play. The Gamecocks have also completed play against Eastern Division opponents, with only SEC West teams left on the docket.
This Past Week: 2-2
All three games vs. Vanderbilt were played in front of 8,242 fans, three consecutive sellouts at Carolina Stadium adding to seven for the season. The three-game series attendance was 24,726, the best three-game mark in Carolina Stadium history.
Junior left-hander Michael Roth did not allow a hit until the fifth inning and limited the Commodores to just one run on three hits in a 3-1 win on Friday night in the series opener vs. Vanderbilt. The three-hit total was the lowest in a game this season for the Commodores, who came into the weekend as the top hitting team in the conference. Roth's eight strikeout total was one short of his career high. For the season, Roth leads the SEC with an 8-1 record and a 1.24 ERA. His 65.1 innings is also the most by a pitcher in the SEC. He is third in the league in strikeouts (62) and fifth in the league in opposing batting average (.209).
Sophomore right-hander Matt Price was key in both wins over top ranked Vanderbilt. The sophomore Gamecock reliever factored into two wins this weekend with a save in the 3-1 victory on Friday night and a victory in Sunday's 5-3 win in the rubber game vs. No. 1 Vanderbilt. Price was dominant in his stints with 4.1 scoreless innings of relief. 11 of the 13 outs he tallied were by strikeout. All four batters he faced in Friday's win struck out as he picked up the save. Sunday, he worked a season-high three innings and limited VU to just two hits and struck out a season-high seven batters to pick up his fourth win of the year. Price is second in the league with 11 saves. He had 37 strikeouts in 26.2 innings with opponents batting just .196 against him. 18 of his 20 relief appearances he has not allowed a run.
South Carolina's pitching staff continues to be one of the best in the nation after the weekend series victory vs. Vanderbilt. For the season, the Gamecocks own a team ERA of 2.54 with 290 strikeouts to just 105 walks. Opponents are hitting only .214 in 312.0 innings pitched. Opposing batting average leads the league with ERA second in the SEC and strikeouts third. In 15 SEC games this year, Carolina's pitching staff has compiled a 12-3 record and a 1.93 ERA. Through conference play, opponents have just 31 runs on 90 hits in 135 innings and are hitting just .195. The 1.93 ERA and .195 opponents batting average leads the SEC in SEC games.
South Carolina has flashed the leather as of late without an error in the last nine games played. The Gamecocks lead the SEC with a .978 fielding percentage and just 29 errors in 35 games for the season.
For the season, the Gamecocks are hitting .287 (333-for-1160) as a team with a .442 slugging percentage, third best in the SEC. The team leads the SEC with 32 home runs. Carolina also has a .385 on-base percentage, fifth best in conference play.
Senior second baseman Scott Wingo hit .400 (6-for-15) in four games last week and currently is second on the team in hitting with a .330 overall average (37-for-112). Wingo has been stellar and owns a 12-game hitting streak heading into Tuesday night's game at College of Charleston. He had two hits and a RBI in the 3-1 win vs. Vanderbilt and drove in a pair of runs in the 5-3 victory over the Commodores. Wingo has the team's best batting average in SEC games as well with a .388 average (19-for-49) in league games. He is seventh on the all-time list at Carolina in games played with 220, one short of Trey Dyson (1999-2002) for sixth place.
Sophomore first baseman Christian Walker leads the team with a .338 batting average, seven homers and 37 RBI. He has a .413 on-base percentage and a .588 slugging percentage as well. Walker has reached base at least once in 21 straight games as well.
Junior outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. got the bat going on Sunday in the 5-3 win over Vanderbilt. He was 2-for-5 with a RBI and a run scored in the win. Bradley is hitting .278 (35-for-126) with six homers and 25 RBI. He has a .508 slugging percentage.
Senior catcher Brady Thomas' bat came on fire this week. He tallied a career-high four hits at The Citadel on Tuesday night and also had two hits, two runs scored and two RBI on Saturday vs. Vanderbilt. For the season, Thomas is batting .299 (32-for-107) with four homers and 21 RBI.
Junior Steven Neff saw action as a position player for the first time this year and was a big part of the 5-3 win on Sunday with a double in the seventh inning that was part of a four-run frame. Neff, a pitcher, pinch-hit on Saturday and was the starting designated hitter for Carolina on Sunday vs. Vanderbilt.
South Carolina is 22-0 after six innings with a lead and 26-0 on the year after eight innings with a lead. The Gamecocks are 22-2 when out-hitting an opponent and 11-5 in games decided by two runs or less. Carolina is 26-4 when holding an opponent to five runs or less.