South Carolina Baseball Notebook
April 19, 2010
Columbia, S.C. - South Carolina went 3-1 this past week with a non-conference win at The Citadel on Wednesday night and two victories in three games in a weekend series vs. Ole Miss. The Gamecocks are now 28-8 on the year and 11-4 in SEC play. South Carolina leads the SEC Eastern Division by one game over Florida and is one game behind Arkansas in the conference race. The Gamecocks are the only SEC squad to have won all five of its conference series this year. Carolina has won eight consecutive SEC series dating back to last year.
Vs. Top 25: 7-6
This Past Week: 3-1
South Carolina has now defeated Ole Miss in four of the last five series between the two schools (2006, 2008, 2009, 2010). Carolina leads the all-time series history 29-18 as well.
Senior right-handed pitcher Blake Cooper tossed a complete game shutout with a four-hitter in the 5-0 win vs. nationally ranked Ole Miss on Friday, April 16. He is only the second SEC pitcher to record a complete game shutout this year and the first this season to do it in SEC play. Cooper leads the SEC in victories and owns a 7-0 record with a 2.44 ERA. He has hurled 62.2 innings and allowed just 40 hits while striking out 57 and walking 21. Opponents are batting just .185 against him. Cooper struck out a career-high 10 batters in the victory, his fifth complete game of his career but his first career complete game shutout. He allowed just four hits and one walk in the victory. The complete game shutout was the first by a Gamecock pitcher since Aaron Rawl on May 13, 2005 in a 2-0 win at Ole Miss. It was the second consecutive shutout by the Gamecocks in SEC play (Carolina defeated Vanderbilt 2-0 last Sunday). With the win, Cooper also passed Jason Haynie (1993-96) for the 10th on the all-time career victory list at Carolina with 28 career wins.
The consecutive shutouts vs. Vanderbilt on Sunday and Friday vs. Ole Miss marks the first time since 2001 when Carolina has recorded back-to-back shutouts in SEC play. The Gamecocks have six shutouts on the year, that is the most recorded by a SEC team this year.
Carolina's pitching staff continues to be among the top in the nation sporting a 3.27 ERA in 324.2 innings pitched. The squad's ERA ranks second best in the SEC with the squad leading the conference in opponents batting average allowing teams to be hitting at just a .214 clip on the year. Carolina also leads the Southeastern Conference with 347 strikeouts.
In SEC contests, Carolina leads the conference in ERA (2.98), opposing batting average (.218) and is second best in strikeouts (129).
Freshman reliever Ethan Carter continues to put together stellar appearances out of the pen. He has not allowed a run in 12 of 13 relief appearances this season. He hurled 2.1 scoreless innings and picked up a save in the 9-5 win over Ole Miss on Saturday. Carter is now 1-0 with a 0.55 ERA in 16.1 innings pitched. He has 17 strikeouts and opponents are batting just .130 against him.
Freshman reliever Matt Price also had a pair of scoreless outings this weekend vs. Ole Miss. He has not allowed a run in SEC play and is 3-0 with a 1.14 ERA in 23.2 innings pitched. Price also has four saves. He has 39 strikeouts to just six walks with opponents batting just .146 against him for the season in 15 appearances.
Junior right-hander Sam Dyson did not allow an earned run in 6.1 innings of work as South Carolina defeated Ole Miss 9-5 to clinch a weekend SEC baseball series at Carolina Stadium. He allowed five runs, all unearned, on four hits with six strikeouts and three walks. He has 48 strikeouts in 44.2 innings for Carolina this year.
Junior Whit Merrifield continues to be one of the top bats in the Southeastern Conference. Merrifield had four hits in the weekend series vs. Ole Miss and has hit safely in 34 of 36 games this year for the Gamecocks. He is 15th all-time in the hits list at Carolina. He is the only Gamecock player to have started all 36 games this year. He is batting .342 (51-for-149) with seven HR and 24 RBI. He has a .421 on-base percentage. Merrifield is tied for third in the SEC in runs scored (43) and 12th in the league with 51 hits.
Freshman Christian Walker's grand slam highlighted a seven-run second inning in the 9-5 win over Ole Miss on Saturday. He finished 2-for-4 in the victory at the plate. All nine position players recorded at least one hit in the game with the Gamecocks finishing with 16 in the game, the second highest total by the Gamecocks in a game at the plate this year. The last grand slam by a Gamecock player was Whit Merrifield on March 3, 2010 vs. Presbyterian. It was Walker's first homer since the first weekend series vs. Duquesne.
Senior catcher Brady Thomas was 3-for-4 at the plate in Saturday's win vs. Ole Miss with a double and a homer. He is the team's leading hitter at .343 (23-for-67) with 19 runs scored. 14 of his 23 hits on the year have been extra base hits (nine doubles, one triple, four homers). He has a .687 slugging percentage.
Junior infielder Adrian Morales has been a clutch hitter for the Gamecocks with 13 of his team-leading 28 RBI coming with two outs. Morales cleared the bases with a three-run double with two outs in the 5-0 win over Ole Miss on Friday. He came back on Saturday with a career-high three hits in the 9-5 win over the Rebels.
Scott Wingo homered twice and drove in three runs and the Gamecocks pounded out nine hits on its way to a 10-4 victory over The Citadel on Wednesday evening at Joe Riley Park. Wingo also homered in Sunday's loss to Ole Miss. He now leads the team with eight homers on the year. Wingo is batting .327 (32-for-98) for the season with eight HR and 24 RBI. He has a .492 on-base percentage and a .653 slugging percentage; both marks are seventh best in the SEC.
Saturday's attendance of 7,952 at Carolina Stadium was the second highest single-game attendance at Carolina Stadium this year.
South Carolina is 10-5 in games decided by three runs or less. Carolina is 24-1 for the season when leading entering the top of the seventh inning. South Carolina is also 19-2 for the season when scoring first in a game. In other superlatives, the Gamecocks are 23-3 when out-hitting its opponent and 26-4 for the season when allowing five runs or less.
All times Eastern