South Carolina Baseball Notebook
May 3, 2010
Columbia, S.C. - South Carolina went 2-1 this past week winning two of three games in a weekend SEC series vs. Alabama. The Gamecocks are now 34-9 on the year and 16-5 in SEC play. The Gamecocks lead the Southeastern Conference by one game over Florida. The Gamecocks are the only SEC squad to have won all seven of its conference series this year. Carolina has won 10 consecutive SEC series dating back to last year.
Vs. Top 25: 7-6
This Week: 2-1
The three-game total attendance of 24,204 was the largest for a weekend series at Carolina Stadium in school history. The previous high was 23,220 vs. Georgia from May 14-16, 2009. Friday's game of 8,145 was second highest for the season with Saturday's 8,053 the third highest and Friday's mark of 8,006 the fourth highest mark for the season. For the season, the Gamecocks have a total of attendance of 171,986, an average of 6,614 fans in 26 home games.
This weekend was South Carolina's best weekend series at the plate as the Gamecocks batted .379 (47-for-124) against the Crimson Tide. Carolina also tallied nine homers for the weekend; that is the most in a three-game series for the Gamecocks as well this year.
South Carolina pounded out a season-high 25 hits setting a Carolina Stadium record for hits in a game with Kyle Enders driving in a career-high five runs on five hits and Brady Thomas batting 3-for-3 with four RBI as well as the Gamecocks defeated Alabama 20-15 on Sunday afternoon at Carolina Stadium.
The 25 hits were the most in the game by the Gamecocks this year. Eight Gamecock players tallied multi-hit games on Sunday. Enders is the first Gamecock player this year to tally five hits in a game, a career-high for the senior catcher. He also hit his first home run of the season. Thomas' 3-for-3 day at the plate saw him tally his sixth home run of the year and second of the series. He also scored four runs on the afternoon. Whit Merrifield finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI. Adam Matthews was 2-for-3 with two RBI with Evan Marzilli also tallying two RBI with his first career home run. Jackie Bradley Jr. was 2-for-3 with a homer, three RBI and three runs scored. Scott Wingo also had two hits as did Christian Walker, who scored three runs. The 25 hits ties for the fifth highest mark in a game by a Gamecock team coached by Ray Tanner.
Senior catcher Brady Thomas had a clutch bat this weekend as he went 4-for-9 in the series vs. the Crimson Tide. Thomas won Friday's 9-7 game with a two-out two-run homer in the bottom of the 11th inning. He then hit a pinch-hit three-run homer in the bottom of the fourth inning to tie the game at 8-8 and help key a six-run fourth inning that saw South Carolina regain the lead on the Crimson Tide. Thomas, in 28 games with 19 starts, is batting .338 (27-for-80) with six HR and 22 RBI. Also, 16 of his 27 hits are extra base hits on the year (nine doubles, a triple, six HR). He has a .700 slugging percentage.
Sophomore outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. put on a performance in Friday's 9-7 win. Bradley was 3-for-5 with a triple, homer and four RBI as well as two assists from the outfield. Bradley has been hot at the plate recently and is leading the team with a .343 batting average (46-for-134) with five HR and 25 RBI in 34 starts. He also has stolen seven bases on the year.
Junior infielder Adrian Morales has also had a hot bat and has raised his batting average to .301 (40-for-133) on the year. Morales hit .400 (6-for-15) for the series with a pair of RBI and four runs scored. In SEC games, he is batting .311 with four HR and 20 RBI as well as eight doubles. Junior Whit Merrifield continues to be one of the top bats in the Southeastern Conference. Merrifield went 5-for-12 in the weekend series vs. Alabama. He now has 228 career hits that moves him up to 12th all-time on the hits list at Carolina. He is two shy of Skeet Thomas (1988-90) for 11th and three shy of Dave Willman (1989-92) for 10th in school history. Merrifield has hit safely in 40 of 43 games this year and has hit safely in 26 straight conference games dating back to last year. He is fifth in the SEC in runs scored with 51 for the season. He is the only Gamecock player to have started all 43 games this year. He is batting .339 (60-for-177) with eight HR and 26 RBI. His eight home runs tie for second highest on the team.
Merrifield has saved his best for SEC play as he owns a .378 average (31-for-82) in conference games with 24 runs scored as well as five home runs. That average is eighth best in the SEC in SEC games. He also has a .598 slugging percentage and a .474 on-base percentage; on-base is seventh best in the SEC and slugging is 11th best in the SEC.
Freshman infielder Christian Walker hit .500 (5-for-10) against the Crimson Tide including a two-run homer in Saturday's game. He also scored five runs in the series. He is hitting .288 (32-for-111) for the series with four HR and 25 RBI. Walker owns a .366 average (15-for-41) in SEC games.
Junior infielder Scott Wingo hit a solo homer in Friday's win vs. Alabama. He now leads the team with nine homers for the season. Wingo is hitting .306 (37-for-121) for the season and has a .465 on-base percentage to go along with a .612 slugging percentage.
Freshman outfielder Evan Marzilli hit his first career homer, a two-run shot, in the 20-15 win over Alabama. Marzilli has primarily been a defensive replacement with 39 games played and just seven starts. He has been effective at the plate though, batting .368 (14-for-38) and has also scored 16 runs.
Despite a no-decision in Friday night's game, senior right-hander Blake Cooper still sits atop the SEC with an 8-0 record. Cooper went 6.1 innings in the no-decision on Friday vs. Alabama and allowed four runs on 11 hits with three strikeouts and a walk. Cooper leads the SEC in innings pitched (77.0), is fourth in opponents batting average (.212), fifth in strikeouts (69) and eighth in earned run average (2.92).
Cooper has also been strong in SEC games with five wins that is tied with Drew Smyly of Arkansas for most conference victories. Cooper has pitched a SEC-high 52.1 innings and is second in strikeouts (45), fifth in opponents batting average (.219) and seventh in earned run average (2.75) in conference contests.
Although he lost in Saturday's game, junior right-hander Sam Dyson pitched a strong 7.1 innings and allowed five runs on eight hits in the loss. He struck out a season-high 10 batters and walked jut one. Dyson for the season is 4-3 with a 4.58 ERA in 59 innings pitched. He has 63 strikeouts to 10 walks.
Carolina's pitching staff continues to be among the top in the nation sporting a 3.64 ERA in 385.2 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 .227 clip on the year. Carolina also is second in the Southeastern Conference with 401 strikeouts.
In SEC contests, Carolina leads the conference in opposing batting average (.243) and is second best in ERA (3.89) and strikeouts (177).
Junior Parker Bangs tied a South Carolina single-game record with three doubles in the 6-4 loss vs. Alabama. In a limited role at the plate, Bangs is batting .341 (14-for-41) with three HR and 15 RBI as well as six doubles.
South Carolina is now 29-1 for the season when leading entering the top of the seventh inning. South Carolina is also 23-3 for the year when scoring first in a game. In other superlatives, the Gamecocks are 27-3 when out-hitting its opponent. The Gamecocks are 14-6 in games decided by three runs or less.