South Carolina (28-10, 8-7 SEC) vs. Kentucky (24-12, 7-8 SEC)
Saturday, April 20, 2013 | 1 p.m. ET Saturday, April 20, 2013 | 45 minutes after game 1 Sunday, April 21, 2013 | 1:30 p.m. ET
Gamecock Radio Network affiliates/Flagship WNKT FM 107.5 "The Game" in Columbia. Andy Demetra & Tommy Moody have the call for games two and three. Derek Scott and Tommy Moody have the call for game one.
Game 1 - Fox Sports South/Fox Sports Carolinas (Andy Demetra and Trey Dyson)
South Carolina (28-10, 8-7 SEC) opens a three-game SEC series on Friday night host Kentucky (24-12, 7-8 SEC) at Carolina Stadium. First pitch for the opener is 7 p.m. Saturday's game is scheduled for 3 p.m. and will be televised on Fox Sports Carolinas and Fox Sports South. The Sunday series finale is set for 1:30 p.m. All three games can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station, 107.5 FM, "The Game." Friday and Sunday's games will feature Live Video Broadcast on the GamecocksOnline All Access Channel.
At the midway point in league play, South Carolina is tied for second in the SEC East and tied for fourth place overall in the conference.
South Carolina - Jordan Montgomery (So. LHP) 3-0, 0.69 ERA, 26.0 IP, 8 BB, 23 SO
Kentucky - Jerad Grundy (Sr. LHP) 5-4, 4.18 ERA, 56.0 IP, 16 BB, 49 SO
South Carolina - TBA
Kentucky - Corey Littrell (Jr. LHP) 4-2, 3.16 ERA, 57.0 IP, 21 BB, 51 SO
THE KENTUCKY SERIES
South Carolina leads the all-time series with Kentucky with a 41-32 record on the baseball diamond. Carolina has won six consecutive series vs. the Wildcats in Columbia (2001, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2011) including a weekend sweep two years ago in UK's first trip to Carolina Stadium. The Wildcats swept a three-game series vs. the Gamecocks last year in Lexington.
ON THE MOUND
The Gamecock pitching staff currently owns a 3.20 ERA in 337.0 innings pitched. Carolina has allowed 146 runs, 120 earned, on 312 hits with 97 walks to 315 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting .243 against the squad.
AT THE PLATE & ON THE FIELD
South Carolina is hitting .287 (361-for-1256) as a team. The Gamecocks lead the SEC with 35 homers. Carolina is fielding .974 with 37 errors for the season. South Carolina's slugging percentage of .430 is third best in the SEC with on-base percentage of .387 fourth best in the conference also.
GREINER A CANDIDATE FOR THE JOHNNY BENCH AWARD
South Carolina sophomore catcher Grayson Greiner is one of 48 catchers to be named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List as announced by the Greater Wichita Sports Commission and presented by BaseballSavings.com.
Greiner was the top hitter for the Gamecocks in the weekend series at Florida with a .455 average (5-for-11). Greiner leads the team in SEC games with a .362 average (17-for-47) in 13 starts in league play.
He has raised his season average to .306 (34-for-111) with 16 runs scored, five doubles, three homers and 25 RBI. He is on a career-long seven-game hitting streak.
Greiner went 6-for-9 (.667) in two starts at Tennessee. He homered, tallied a career-high four hits and drove in a career-high four runs in the 19-2 win on Sunday.
The watch list will be narrowed down to the semifinalists, whom will be announced May 16, 2013. Ballots will be sent to the national voting panel at the end of May for a vote to determine the three finalists. The finalists will be announced June 4, 2013. A final vote among the national committee will occur during the College World Series. All finalists will be brought to Wichita and the winner will be announced at the 15th Annual Greater Wichita Sports Banquet on June 27, 2013.
WESTMORELAND EFFECTIVE IN RELIEF
Senior left-hander Adam Westmoreland continues to be one of the team's top performers out of the bullpen. Westmoreland hurled 1.2 scoreless innings with no hits allowed in the 10-6 win over College of Charleston. It was his sixth scoreless outing from the pen in 14 relief appearances this year.
For the season, he is 4-1 with a 1.74 ERA and two saves. He has 40 strikeouts to six walks in 41.1 innings. Opponents are hitting .192 against him. Westmoreland ranks fourth in the league in opposing batting average and sixth in earned run average.
BELCHER BRINGS IT
Senior left-hander Nolan Belcher had a quality start despite the loss in Thursday's 3-2 defeat to Florida. Belcher hurled his second complete game of the season and allowed three runs, one earned, on seven hits in eight innings with a walk and two strikeouts.
Belcher for the season is 5-3 with a 1.63 ERA in 66.1 innings with five walks to 55 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting just .218 against him. He is tied for the league lead in innings pitched, is fourth in earned run average as well as seventh in strikeouts and tied for ninth in victories.
Belcher pitched the first complete game shutout of his career in the 8-0 victory vs. Clemson. Belcher allowed just three hits and no walks while striking out seven batters in the win. Only one base runner reached third base the entire game for the Tigers. It is the first complete game shutout by a Gamecock pitcher since Sam Dyson on May 15, 2010 in a 5-0 win at Arkansas. Belcher's complete game shutout was also the first by a Gamecock pitcher in the Clemson series since May 4, 1986 when Rodney Richey hurled a four-hit complete game shutout in a 5-0 victory vs. the Tigers at Sarge Frye Field.
SAIKO LEADS IT OFF
Junior outfielder Graham Saiko had a career day vs. the College of Charleston with four hits, his first homer in a Gamecock uniform, three runs scored and a pair of RBI in the 10-6 win.
Saiko has improved his batting average to .304 (34-for-112). His on-base percentage is .414 with an impressive 24 walks to just 10 strikeouts. He leads Carolina with 10 stolen bases in 12 attempts.
A BRIGHT SPOT
Sophomore outfielder Connor Bright is the team's leading hitter with a .330 average (36-for-109) with five doubles, a triple, four homers and 13 RBI. Bright has a .310 average (18-for-58) in league play as well.
Bright homered and doubled and tied a career-high with three RBI in the 10-6 win over College of Charleston. He also went 5-for-12 in the Florida series including three hits and a homer in the 4-3 loss on Friday.
WELCOME BACK JORDAN
Sophomore left-hander Jordan Montgomery made his second start back since his stress reaction in his left arm last Friday at Florida. Montgomery went three innings and allowed one run, unearned, on four hits with a walk and two strikeouts. For the season, Montgomery is 3-0 with a 0.69 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 26.0 innings pitched.
SCHROCK MAKING STRIDES
Freshman second baseman Max Schrock went 2-for-5 with a homer and three RBI in the 14-5 loss at Florida. Schrock is hitting .260 (34-for-131) with six doubles, two triples and three homers as well as 28 RBI. Schrock leads the Gamecocks with 11 multi-hit games. He also has nine stolen bases, second highest on the team.
Schrock was named SEC Freshman of the Week for his play the week of April 2-7. He hit .500 (11-for-22) with seven runs scored and eight RBI in five games. His game-winning RBI double in the top of the ninth inning lifted the Gamecocks to a 5-4 win over Tennessee. He followed that up with a double, a homer and two RBI in the 12-8 win over the Volunteers. In the series finale, he had a career-high four hits with a career-high four RBI as well as two runs scored in the 19-2 win over Tennessee. The four hits matched an individual high for a Gamecock player in a game this year. He was 7-for-12 (.583) in the Tennessee series with five runs scored and seven RBI against the Volunteers.
Sophomore shortstop Joey Pankake went 3-for-4 with a homer, a run scored and three RBI in the 10-6 win over College of Charleston. The hits and RBI totals tied a season-high. Pankake is hitting .292 (40-for-137) for the year with 24 runs scored, five doubles, seven homers and 28 RBI.
Pankake hit a walk-off homer on April 19 in the bottom of the ninth inning in Carolina's 6-5 win over The Citadel.
Junior designated hitter Brison Celek continues to find his way on base. Celek had three hits and four walks with a .500 on-base percentage in the Florida series.
In 16 games with 11 starts, Celek has a .333 average (13-for-39) with eight runs scored and nine RBI. His on-base percentage for the season is .490.
HOLMES WITH THE ANSWER
Senior right-hander Colby Holmes became the 21st pitcher in school history to record 20 or more wins with his victory at Tennessee on April 7, 2013.
He earned two wins this past week. In a predetermined split on Tuesday in the 9-5 win over Charleston Southern, he pitched 3.1 innings, allowing two runs on four hits with no walks and struck out two batters. He followed that up with five innings of relief allowing just two runs, one earned, on two hits with no walks and three strikeouts in the 19-2 win over Tennessee.
Holmes is 4-2 with a 4.39 ERA in 10 games. He has pitched 41 innings and compiled 33 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting just .230 against him.
ON BASE WITH CHASE
Senior third baseman Chase Vergason had two hits in both game one and game three in the Florida series. Vergason is hitting .283 (36-for-127) with 25 runs scored as well as 18 RBI. His on-base percentage is .403 as he has walked 18 times and leads the with 10 hit by pitches.
Vergason hit .400 (6-for-15) in the Tennessee series with four runs scored, a triple and a home run as well as four RBI. He went 2-for-5 with his first career triple, two runs and two RBI in the 19-2 win as well as 3-for-6 with a homer, a RBI and two runs in the 12-8 victory.
DANTZLER AT THE BAT
Senior first baseman LB Dantzler is among the SEC leaders in several categories. Dantzler has a .326 batting average (44-for-135) with 28 runs scored, nine doubles, a triple, 10 homers and 38 RBI. Dantzler is third in the league in home runs (10), fourth in slugging percentage (.630), fifth in walks (26), tied for seventh in runs batted in (38) and 11th in on-base percentage (.437).
Dantzler was named SEC Player of the Week after the Albany series when he went 9-for-13 (.692) at the plate with two doubles, two homers, six runs scored and 10 RBI. He had 17 total bases for the weekend with a .733 on-base percentage as well as a 1.308 slugging percentage. In an 8-3 win, Dantzler tallied a career-high four hits and career-high five RBI with a home run. He followed that up with a 2-for-4 game with three runs and four RBI in the 14-1 win and closed out the weekend 3-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI in the 6-4 victory.
Dantzler is the University of South Carolina's male nominee for the 2012-13 SEC H. Boyd McWhorter Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
A BIT OF ENGLISH
Sophomore outfielder Tanner English scored three runs and drove in four in the Tennessee series.
English owns a .291 average (25-for-86) with 17 runs scored and 10 RBI. He has a .431 on-base percentage.
South Carolina is 24-1 this season when leading after six innings and 20-3 on the year when out-hitting the opponent. Carolina has allowed five runs or less in 31 of 38 games played this season. The Gamecocks are 25-6 when allowing five runs or less. South Carolina is 14-7 in games decided by three runs or less.
Quotes from Head Coach Chad Holbrook Opening Statement...
Obviously it's a very big match for our team. As we pass the halfway point of our season, the importance of each game is magnified. It is certainly important that you win your fair share of games at home. That being said Kentucky presents a difficult challenge for us. They're experienced, they have dynamic players, their pitching staff has been solid, and they've been in the top ten pretty much all year. They've struggled a little bit lately but their talent level is extremely high, their pitching ability on the mound is extremely good, and they've got a great closer at the end of the game. It's a typical SEC team that is very good and has the ability to play in the College World Series. And therefore the series is a bit magnified based on how we played at Florida and we're hovering around that .500 mark in the league. When you're there, each game in this league is extremely important, and that being said our kids are excited about this weekend. We've had a great week of practice and a good win against College of Charleston, and I think we'll be ready to go.
On a probable pitcher for Sunday...
If we had to announce a starter it would be Jack Wynkoop but we're not going to announce it because we may need Jack on Friday or Saturday. Jack pitched well in relief at Florida, and they [Kentucky] have a few left-handed hitters in there so we may need another lefty in the bullpen. If we need Jack to help us win on Friday or Saturday we're going to pitch him and we'll worry about Sunday when we get there. We have to use everything we have to win each and every game.
On the team's attitude regarding all the injuries...
I've been very pleased, I haven't heard any excuses and that's encouraging. They keep on keeping on. We've had some injuries here in the past, I don't know if its been as consistent has it has this year but they haven't missed a beat from their attitude standpoint. I think we have missed a beat a time or two on the field because of the injuries but we haven't missed a beat because of our beliefs or attitude.
On Adam Westmoreland...
I think honestly, and I think Adam [Westmoreland] will be the first to tell you, he might have tweaked something here or there but his improvement is because he's matured and he has great confidence. He started developing that confidence early in the season and he believes in himself. He doesn't think about failure, he thinks I'm going to succeed here and I'm going to help our team win. He knows this is his last year here at South Carolina, he's mentioned that to me multiple times even before our season started. He's been committed to having a great year, he's gotten off to a good start, his confidence is at an all time high and he's pitching the way he's capable of pitching. I couldn't be happier for him to have that type of year for his last year here. The kid has been through a lot, and it's nice to see him pitching the way he's capable of pitching.