South Carolina Baseball Heads To Kentucky For Weekend Series
May 6, 2010
Columbia, S.C. - South Carolina (35-9, 16-5 SEC) heads back on the road this weekend for a three-game series at Kentucky (24-20, 7-14 SEC). First pitch for the opener is set for 7 p.m. on Friday with Saturday's game also at 7 p.m. Both those games will be televised live on FS South by the Big Blue Sports Network. Sunday's series finale will be at 1 p.m. All three games can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network and at GamecocksOnline.com.
South Carolina leads the series history 37-27 including a series victory in Lexington, Ky. last year when the Gamecocks won two of three games vs. the Wildcats.
LAST TIME OUT
The two teams combined for 31 hits with the Gamecocks tallying 17 and Winthrop finishing with 14 for the evening. Merrifield's two homers now puts him in the lead for Carolina with 10 on the year. Bradley now has seven after his two home runs with Christian Walker, Jeffery Jones and Bobby Haney also going yard for the Gamecocks. Haney set a career-high in hits with a 4-for-4 day at the plate with three runs scored. Merrifield tied his season-high and was 3-for-4 with four runs scored. Bradley drove in four runs and also scored three. Walker finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI as well. For Winthrop, Sean Sullivan, Tyler McBride, Matt Thielepape and Patrick Gamblin all tallied two hits apiece to lead the Eagles at the plate.
Gamecock reliever Jose Mata earned the win after 3.2 innings out of the bullpen. He allowed two runs on five hits with a strikeout. He is now 5-0 for the season. Winthrop starter Ken Monteith lasted only 1.1 innings and allowed five runs on six hits with a walk to suffer the loss. He is now 0-2 for the year.
IF YOU BUILD IT - THEY WILL COME
SOUTH CAROLINA AT THE PLATE
South Carolina is hitting .305 (459-for-1505) as a team on the year with the squad's on-base percentage .404 and slugging percentage at .506 for the season. The Gamecocks have scored 338 runs with 90 doubles, 10 triples, and 64 homers.
CAROLINA STADIUM RECORD SET FOR HITS IN A GAME
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.
BRADY BUNCHES THEM TOGETHER
Bradley has been invited to the 2010 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team Trials set for July 5-July 11 at the National Training Complex in Cary, N.C. Bradley will be fighting for a spot on the final 22-man roster that will be selected on Sunday, July 11. The team will then tour across the USA with the summer season culminating on July 30- Aug. 7 at the FISU World University Baseball Championships in Tokyo, Japan.
Bradley was impressive vs. Georgia batting .538 (7-for-13) in the series with a homer, three RBI and five runs scored vs. the Bulldogs. Bradley reached base five times with four hits including a homer and a game-winning RBI single in the top of the seventh inning as South Carolina held on for an 8-7 victory over Georgia in game two of the doubleheader. His four hits was a season-high as well.
Several former Gamecocks have played on the Collegiate National Team including most recently, Justin Smoak (2007), who made his Major League Baseball debut this past Friday with the Texas Rangers. In addition to playing for Team USA in 2007, Smoak also played on the 2009 USA Baseball World Cup team that won a gold medal last September at the IBAF World Cup. Smoak earned the 2009 Richard W. "Dick" Case Award recognizing him as USA Baseball's Athlete of the Year. Smoak helped lead Team USA to the gold medal at the 2009 IBAF Baseball World Cup in September in Europe. He set a U.S. World Cup record with nine home runs in the event, and he was named to the All-World Cup Team as well as the event's Most Valuable Player. Smoak finished the tournament with a .291 average, and in addition to pacing the team in home runs; he also topped the club with 22 RBIs and 16 runs scored. His performance earned him USA Baseball's nomination for the USOC September Athlete of the Month award, and he was later named the 2009 IBAF Senior Athlete of the Year.
Current Major Leaguers and former Gamecocks Landon Powell (2002) and Adam Everett (1997) also represented the Red, White & Blue on the Collegiate National Team. Everett also was on the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team that won a gold medal at the Sydney Olympic Games.
South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner also has association with USA Baseball. He has served five stints with the Red, White & Blue including his latest in 2003 as head coach for the USA National Baseball Team. At the helm of some of the top freshmen and sophomores in the country, Tanner's club finished with a 27-2 record, the best record for a U.S. National Team (.931 winning percentage) and won a silver medal at the 2003 Pan American Games. He was named the U.S. National Coach of the Year for his work that season. Prior to his head coaching stint, Tanner served as an auxiliary coach for the 2000 Olympic Team under Tommy Lasorda that won a gold medal at the XXVII Olympiad in Sydney, Australia. He was also an assistant with the 1995-1996 USA teams under former LSU coach Skip Bertman that culminated in a bronze medal win at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Ga. Tanner also served alongside former Mississippi State coach Ron Polk on Bertman's staff. Tanner's first stint with USA Baseball came as an assistant coach to the national team in the summer of 1993.
MORALES WITH A HOT BAT
Morales had a career-high four hits and drove in a pair of runs and also scored three times in the 20-15 win over Alabama. He also doubled twice in the 9-7 win over the Crimson Tide.
WALKER ON THE OFFENSIVE
MARZILLI HITS FIRST CAREER HOME RUN
THE PITCHING STAFF
In SEC contests, Carolina leads the conference in opposing batting average (.243) and is second best in ERA (3.89) and strikeouts (177). COOP
Despite a no-decision vs. Alabama, 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.
Cooper moved up on the all-time career victory list at Carolina with 29 career wins. He is currently 10th on the school career list. His 29 career victories is third highest among current players in Division I. Matt Ridings of Western Kentucky leads Division I with 33 career wins with Daniel Bibona of UC Irvine second with 30,
Cooper earned SEC Pitcher of the Week honors in a 5-0 win over Ole Miss. 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.
South Carolina Career Victories Top 10 List 1) 45 Kip Bouknight 1998-01 (45-12) 2) 36 Tim Lewis 1973-76 (36-6) 3) 35 Aaron Rawl 2002-05 (35-15) 4) 34 Earl Bass 1972-75 (34-3) 34 Greg Ward 1972-75 (34-13) 6) 31 David Marchbanks2001-03 (31-8) 31 Matt Threehouse 1989-93 (31-14) 31 Dennis Lubert 1979-82 (31-9) 9) 30 Mike Cook 1983-85 (30-8) 10) 29 Blake Cooper 2006-09 (28-12)
MERRIFIELD NAMED 2009-10 EARNEST BROOKS CO-MALE STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AT SOUTH CAROLINA
Merrifield tied a season-high with three hits on Wedneseday vs. Winthrop and went 5-for-12 in the weekend series vs. Alabama. He now has 231 career hits that moves him up to a tie for 9th all-time on the hits list at Carolina. He is 14 shy of Hank Small (1972-73-74-75) for eighth on the all-time list. Merrifield has hit safely in 41 of 44 games this year and has hit safely in 26 straight conference games dating back to last year (29 including SEC Tournament). He leads the SEC in runs scored with 55 for the season. He is the only Gamecock player to have started all 44 games this year. He is batting .348 (63-for-181) with 10 HR and 28 RBI. His 10 home runs lead 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.
Earlier this year Merrifield set the school record for consecutive games with a hit. He hit safely in 26 straight games, 14 at the end of 2009 and the first 12 games of 2010. He has made 162 consecutive starts for the Gamecocks dating back to March 7, 2008.
South Carolina Career Lists Runs Scored 1) 223 Derick Urquhart 1995-96-97-98 2) 215 Mike Curry 1996-97-98 3) 212 Drew Meyer 2000-01-02 4) 209 Mac White 1991-92-93-94 5) 188 Justin Smoak 2006-07-08 6) 182 Jeff Parnell 1990-91-92-93 7) 181 Michael Campbell2003-04-05-06 8) 180 Whit Merrifield 2008-09-10
BANGS TIES A SCHOOL RECORD
CARTER A RELIEF
THE PRICE IS RIGHT
Year Halfway Point Second Half Rec. Final SEC Record SEC East Finish 2010 11-4 N/A N/A N/A 2009 7-8 10-5 17-13 2nd 2008 9-6 6-9 15-15 5th 2007 9-6 8-7 17-13 2nd 2006 11-4 4-11 15-15 4th 2005 9-6 7-8 16-14 2nd 2004 7-8 10-5 17-13 2nd 2003 7-8 12-4 19-11 1st 2002 9-5 12-3 21-8 1st 2001 8-7 9-6 17-13 3rd 2000 12-3 13-2 25-5 1st 1999 9-6 6-9 15-15 1st 1998 10-4 9-6 19-10 2nd 1997 7-8 6-9 13-17 4th
Dyson was tabbed the SEC Pitcher of the Week following his three-hit complete game shutout in the seven-inning 5-0 win over Georgia in game one of a doubleheader. Dyson, Blake Cooper (April 19) and Jay Brown (April 12) have all earned the award for the Gamecocks.
Dyson is only the third SEC pitcher to record a complete game shutout this year and the second this season to do it in SEC play. Dyson finished with 69 strikes out of 96 pitches and allowed just one runner from Georgia to get in scoring position in the seven-inning shutout. All 21 putouts by the Gamecock came from the diamond, as Dyson struck out five batters and recorded 14 ground ball outs. The win was the first complete game shutout of Dyson's career. It helped clinch a series victory over Georgia, the first time since 2002 that the Gamecocks have won a series at Georgia. With the win, Dyson moved into a tie for 15th on the all-time career victory list at Carolina with 21 career wins.
SHUT THEM OUT
MATA THE STOPPER
MAKING AN APPEARANCE
Roth has also been a left-handed bat for the Gamecocks with eight plate appearances including a home run this year.
WHAT CAN BROWN DO FOR YOU?
Brown did not walk a batter and allowed just two singles. He also did not allow a batter to get past second base in the entire outing. It was the third longest outing in Brown's career at Carolina. Brown, Roth and Price finished with a two-hit shutout, the first time since 2005 that Vanderbilt had been shutout at home in an SEC game. The loss was only Vanderbilt's third of the season at home.
Brown is 2-0 on the year and owns a 4.72 ERA in 34.1 innings pitched.