Gamecocks Travel to Face Georgia For Weekend Series

 

May 10, 2012

SC-Georgia Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

South Carolina (37-12, 16-8 SEC) is back in SEC action this weekend with a three-game series at Georgia (28-21, 12-12 SEC). Friday's first pitch is at 7 p.m. with Saturday's game at 1 p.m. and Sunday's series finale scheduled for 2 p.m. All three games can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station, 107.5 FM, "The Game." Saturday's game will be televised on CSS as well as on Time Warner Cable Channel 506 in Columbia.

South Carolina is ranked No. 3 in this week's USA Today/ESPN coaches' poll and by Collegiate Baseball as well as No. 4 by Baseball America. South Carolina is currently tied for first place in the Southeastern Conference with LSU and one game ahead of Kentucky in the Eastern Division with six league games remaining. The Gamecocks have won six consecutive weekend series in the league as well as 13 of the last 14 conference games. South Carolina is also 19-5 in the last 24 games played.

LIVE COVERAGE
Radio:
Gamecock IMG Network affiliates/Flagship WNKT FM 107.5 "The Game" in Columbia. Andy Demetra and Tommy Moody will call the action.
Television: Saturday: CSS & Time Warner Cable Channel 506 in South Carolina - Mike Morgan and Buck Belue on the call.
Internet: Live Gametracker Stats at GamecocksOnline.com Additional coverage on Twitter @GamecockBasebll and Facebook/Gamecocksonline

PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
Friday

South Carolina - Michael Roth (Sr. LHP) 4-0, 2.82 ERA, 79.2 IP, 22 BB, 60 SO
Georgia - Alex Wood (So. LHP) 6-1, 2.64 ERA, 81.2 IP, 19 BB, 81 SO

Saturday
South Carolina - Jordan Montgomery (Fr. LHP) 4-1, 3.98 ERA, 52.0 IP, 6 BB, 37 SO
Georgia - Michael Palazzone (Sr. RHP) 2-5, 5.45 ERA, 66.0 IP, 11 BB, 53 SO

Sunday
South Carolina - TBA
Georgia - Luke Crumley (Fr. RHP) 2-2, 4.02 ERA, 31.1 IP, 14 BB, 20 SO

ROTH A FINALIST FOR THE LOWE'S SENIOR CLASS AWARD
University of South Carolina senior left-handed pitcher Michael Roth is one of 10 finalists selected as a finalist for the 2012 Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for baseball. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence - community, classroom, character and competition.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School®, the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

The finalists were chosen by a media committee from the list of 30 candidates announced in February. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to determine the winner.

Fans are encouraged to vote on the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award website through June 11. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I men's head coaches' votes to determine the winner.

Lowe's, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the Senior CLASS Award® winner during the 2012 NCAA College World Series®, which will be held June 15-26 in Omaha.

For more information on all the finalists, visit seniorCLASSaward.com.

ROTH LEADS THE WAY ON THE FIELD
Despite a no-decision on Friday night, senior left-hander Michael Roth kept the game in check, with scoreless frames in the middle innings after giving up six runs in the first three innings to the Razorbacks. Roth is 4-0 on the year with a 2.82 ERA in 79.2 innings pitched with 22 walks to 60 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting just .200 against him. His opponents batting average is fourth best in the SEC as is his innings pitched with his ERA eighth best in the conference.

Roth's victory vs. Vanderbilt was his 20th career win, making him the 20th player in school history to tally 20 or more career victories.

THE PRICE IS RIGHT
Junior right-hander Matt Price had two saves and one victory this past week. Price worked 1.1 scoreless innings of relief without a hit allowed and two strikeouts in the 2-1 win over Davidson for a save. He followed that up with a perfect 10th inning in the 8-6 win over Arkansas on Friday night. Price pitched the final 3.2 innings in Sunday's 10-7 victory as well to earn his fourth win of the season. Price is 4-3 on the year with a 3.72 ERA and seven saves. He has 60 strikeouts and opponents are hitting only .190 against him. The .190 opponents batting average is the best mark by a pitcher in the SEC.

Six of Price's seven saves this year have come in the SEC as he is tied for the highest mark in league games. Price is the all-time leader in saves at South Carolina with 37 as well as appearances with 92 for the Garnet & Black.

GREINER IN A GROOVE
Freshman catcher Grayson Greiner caught all 28 innings in the Gamecocks' weekend series victory at 13th ranked Arkansas. Greiner was phenomenal behind the plate as he threw out five runners over the course of the weekend trying to steal. His two-run homer on Friday night was the first homer allowed all season by Arkansas starter Ryne Stanek, a key two-run blast that helped the Gamecocks rally from six runs down to defeat the Razorbacks on the road on Friday night. Greiner also had a sacrifice fly in the contest and tallied a RBI single in the 10th inning of the 8-6 victory. In Sunday's 10-7 win, Greiner drove in two runs with a single in a six-run eighth inning with the bases loaded and one out against Arkansas closer Barrett Astin.

In 24 SEC games, Greiner is hitting .301 (22-for-73) with 14 runs scored, eight doubles, three homers and 18 RBI as well as a .418 on-base percentage. Greiner has raised his season average to .254 (36-for-142) with six homers and 31 RBI on the year.

In the Alabama series, Greiner went 3-for-5 with two runs scored and tied a season-high with four RBI in the 12-11 win over the Crimson Tide. He doubled and homered in that one-run victory. Greiner followed it up with a 2-for-5 day at the plate with two runs scored and a RBI in the 9-1 win. Greiner finished the series 5-for-11 (.455) with four runs scored, two doubles, a homer and five RBI. He reached base .538 with a .909 slugging percentage.

Greiner reached base six times in the Auburn series with four hits and two walks. He also drove in three runs and scored four times. Greiner went 3-for-3 with two runs and two RBI in the 12-5 win on Friday.

Greiner earned SEC Freshman of the Week after the Mississippi State series. It marked the second straight week a Gamecock had earned Freshman of the Week accolades. Greiner had a key solo home run that jumpstarted a four-run rally in the bottom of the eighth as the Gamecocks came from behind to defeat MSU 7-6. Greiner collected three hits over the weekend with a pair of doubles and the home run. He also scored two runs. He also had a grand slam in the 8-0 win over The Citadel.

CLOSE CALLS
South Carolina is 11-9 on the year in one-run games as well as 22-10 in games decided by three runs or less.

WALKER PROVIDES A PUNCH
Junior first baseman Christian Walker continues to be productive for the Gamecocks. Walker reached base nine times in the Arkansas series as he went 5-for-12 (.417) with four walks, four runs scored, a homer and two RBI. His on-base percentage for the weekend was .563.

For the season Walker leads the team with a .347 average (59-for-170) with nine homers and 45 RBI. Walker currently is among the SEC's best as he ranks second in on-base percentage (.477), second in walks (36), third in runs batted in (45), sixth in slugging percentage (.571), sixth in homers (9), eighth in runs scored (39), ninth in batting average (.347) and ninth in total bases (97).

In SEC games, Walker is also among the best as he ranks first in walks (26), runs scored (26), second in on-base percentage (.491), second in runs batted in (21), second in home runs (6), third in slugging percentage (.607) and tied for sixth in total bases (51). Walker is up to 230 career hits for the Garnet & Black, 15 hits shy of Hank Small (1972-75) for 10th on the All-Time hits list at South Carolina.

Walker was the top hitter for the Gamecocks in the Vanderbilt series as he hit .500 (6-for-12) with a .625 on-base percentage and a phenomenal 1.250 slugging percentage. Walker belted three homers in the series and drove in five runs with five runs scored as well. Walker tallied his first two-homer game of his career at South Carolina with three RBI and three runs scored in the 8-3 win on Friday vs. the Commodores. In Sunday's 6-4 win, he reached base five times including a game-winning two-run homer in the top of the 13th in the victory.

Walker became the 25th player in South Carolina history to reach the 200 career hit total with his homer in the 8-3 win over Vanderbilt. He is now at 230 for his three-year career with the Garnet & Black, tied for 12th best in school history.

Top 10 Career Hits List
303 Mac White (1991-94)
299 Michael Campbell (2003-06)
285 Drew Meyer (2000-02)
265 Landon Powell (2001-04)
265 Derick Urquhart (1995-98)
263 Whit Merrifield (2008-10)
262 Andrew Crisp (2005-09)
250 Mike Curry (1996-98)
246 Justin Smoak (2006-08)
245 Hank Small (1972-75)
230 Christian Walker (2010-present) (T12th)

CHASE HIM ON BASE
Junior second baseman Chase Vergason hit .500 (5-for-10) in the Arkansas series with a .545 on-base percentage and a 1.000 slugging percentage with a homer, two doubles, three runs scored and three RBI. Vergason hit his first homer of the year in the 7-6 loss to Arkansas on Saturday. He followed that up with a 3-for-4 day at the plate in Sunday's 10-7 win with two runs scored and two RBI. Vergason's three hits and two RBI were both a season-high in Sunday's victory.

Vergason is hitting .293 in SEC games (12-for-41), third best average on the team with a .444 on-base percentage in the league as well. For the season he is batting .243 (18-for-74) with a .389 overall on-base percentage.

Vergason kept finding his way on base in the Auburn series. Vergason was 3-for-10 (.300) with three walks and a hit by pitch for a .500 on-base percentage vs. the Tigers. He also scored three runs.

ENGLISH HAS A KNACK
Freshman outfielder Tanner English went 2-for-3 with a career-high three RBI in the 10-7 win over Arkansas on Sunday afternoon.

English is hitting .301 (53-for-176) for the season with 34 runs scored, 16 RBI and eight stolen bases. English's average is second best on the team only to Walker. English leads the Gamecocks with 18 multi-hit games.

He is hitting .286 (24-for-84) with 18 runs in league play as well as 5-for-5 in stolen bases.

English led the Gamecocks in hitting in the MSU series with a .455 average (5-for-11). English scored four runs over the weekend with a triple and also a RBI.

He tallied two hits in the 9-3 win over Florida. He was 2-for-5 with a run scored in the 8-5 win over Furman He had a season-high three hits and a run scored in the 5-2 win over Charleston Southern. English went 2-for-4 with two runs in the 8-1 win over UNC Asheville. He scored a run in all three games of the Elon series and hit safely in all three games as well. English drove in three runs for the weekend with a key two-run triple to left-center in 6-0 win over Elon in the second inning.

AT THE PLATE
South Carolina hit .302 (32-for-106) in the Arkansas series with six doubles and three homers.

For the season, South Carolina is batting .276 (451-for-1634) as a team with 280 runs scored, 83 doubles, 11 triples and 37 homers.

The Gamecocks lead the SEC in walks (209) and are third best in home runs (37). The Gamecocks also lead the conference in walks in league play with 106, have 20 homers in league play, tied for second best in the conference and a .367 on-base percentage, second best in the conference games.

ON THE FIELD & ON THE MOUND
South Carolina's .979 fielding percentage is second best in the SEC as the Gamecocks have made just 39 errors on the year. The pitching staff owns a 3.18 ERA with opponents batting only .220, that is the best mark in the conference.

Tyler Webb MAKES HIS MARK
Junior left-hander Tyler Webb had one perfect inning of relief in the 1-0 win over Alabama. Webb leads the Gamecocks with 26 appearances and with a win vs. Alabama is now 4-0 with a 1.82 ERA. He has 35 strikeouts in 34.2 innings pitched and opponents are batting just .206 against him.

MATTHEWS FINDS HIS WAY HOME
Senior outfielder Adam Matthews was stellar in the outfield this weekend with two key assists in Sunday's 10-7 victory over the Razorbacks. Matthews threw out a runner attempting to score on a sacrifice fly in the sixth inning and threw out a runner trying to score off a base hit from second base in the seventh inning. He also drove in the first run of the game for the Gamecocks with a two-out RBI single on Sunday in the seventh inning in the Gamecock victory. Matthews has four assists from the outfield this year.

Matthews hit a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning to help lift South Carolina to a 1-0 win over the Crimson Tide. Matthews followed that up with a solo home run in the 12-11 win. Three of Matthews' four home runs have come in SEC play.

MARZILLI PUTS ON A SHOW
Junior outfielder Evan Marzilli continues to show why he is one of the best defensive outfielders in the country with several key catches and diving grabs over the weekend in the Arkansas series. He also has four assists on the year from the outfield. Marzilli is tied for the league lead with seven sacrifice flies, including a sac fly in the 2-1 win over Davidson. Marzilli is one short of the school's single-season record of eight held by Jim Curl (1981) and Jim Pankovits (1974).

Marzilli had two sacrifice flies for the weekend series vs. the Crimson Tide as well as a sacrifice fly vs. Davidson and now leads the team with seven for the season, one short of the school single-season record of eight. Marzilli also leads the Gamecocks with eight stolen bases. He stole a base and scored two runs in the 9-1 win on Saturday vs. Alabama. Marzilli has a .371 on-base percentage and is hitting .283 (54-for-191) with a team-high 42 runs scored.

Marzilli reached base in the first 31 games of the 2012 season but saw his streak snap in the 6-1 victory vs. the Volunteers.

Marzilli had four hits including a three-run homer in the 8-5 win over Furman and was 3-for-4 win the 9-3 win over Florida. Marzilli had a game-winning three-run double as well as a career-high four RBI in the 6-4 win over Appalachian State. He also tied a school record with three doubles in the 2-1 win over Princeton. It is the 25th time in school history that a player has tallied three doubles in one game.

Marzilli's defense was essential for the Gamecocks in the 3-2 win over Clemson in 11 innings. Marzilli had his first assist of the year with a throw to home plate to nab a Tiger runner trying to score and his diving catch with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning sealed the Gamecock victory.

Marzilli was effective in the first weekend vs. VMI as he hit .500 (6-for-12) with a .538 on-base percentage. Marzilli had a 3-for-4 day at the plate on Opening Day. He scored the game-winning run in the opener and also was keyt in the 13-1 victory as he went 2-for-4 with a triple, run scored and two RBI.

LB LIGHTS IT UP - #FearTheFish
Junior third baseman LB Dantzler has been playing well as of late. Dantzler has raised his season average to .251 (47-for-187) with 40 RBI. Dantzler homered and drove in two runs in the 9-1 win over Alabama on Saturday. He also doubled twice in the 12-11 win and drove in one run.

Dantzler had a clutch bat in the Auburn series as he went 5-for-13 (.385) with five runs scored, two homers and four RBI. His slugging percentage was .923. Dantzler belted a two-run homer in the 5-3 win on Saturday. He added three hits, three runs scored a RBI double and a homer in the 11-7 win over the Tigers on Sunday.

Dantzler tallied a walk-off RBI single in the 2-1 win on Saturday night vs. Tennessee. He hit his fifth homer of the year and finished with three RBI in the 6-4 win over Vanderbilt. He was 2-for-4 with a season-high three runs scored in the 6-4 win vs. Appalachian State.

Dantzler was solid in his debut vs. VMI as he tallied a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning as South Carolina defeated VMI 2-1 in the opener. Dantzler followed that up with a three-run homer, a double and four RBI in the 13-1 win over VMI that helped Carolina sweep the Keydets. Dantzler finished the weekend 4-for-11 (.364) at the plate with five RBI and a .727 slugging percentage.

BEAL BRINGS IT
Freshman right-hander Evan Beal pitched two scoreless innings in the 2-1 win over Davidson and followed that up with three scoreless innings of relief in the 8-6 win over Arkansas to earn the win. Beal is 3-3 on the year with a 3.44 ERA in 21 appearances with 42 strikeouts in 36.2 innings and opponents batting .187 against him.

Beal earned his first career win in the 9-6 victory vs. Clemson. Beal entered the game in the bottom of the fifth and retired nine in a row and lasted four innings allowing just two runs on three hits while striking out five and walking one.

HOLMES WITH THE ANSWER
Junior right-hander Colby Holmes is now 6-0 on the year after earning the win in Sunday's victory over Auburn. Holmes allowed four runs on nine hits in five innings. He matched his career-high with seven strikeouts as well. Holmes has a 3.29 ERA in 52.0 innings pitched with 12 walks and 44 strikeouts. He has won three consecutive starts with victories also over Tennessee and MSU in that span.

PANKAKE SHOWCASE
Freshman shortstop Joey Pankake has reached base in nine straight games. Pankake hit safely in all three games at Arkansas (4-for-11, .364) and had an additional three walks for a .500 on-base percentage. Pankake is hitting .288 (47-for-163) for the season, third best average on the team. He has a team-high 12 doubles and has 19 runs batted in.

Pankake had a two-run single in the 12-5 win over Auburn. He also scored two runs in the 11-7 win on Sunday. Pankake gave the Gamecocks some insurance in the 6-4 win over Mississippi State with a two-run single in the bottom of the eighth inning. Pankake, who moved to the leadoff role, had five hits and hit .357 vs. the Bulldogs.

He had a 5-for-6 game with a pair of RBI in the 8-5 win over Furman. The last Gamecock player with five hits in a game was Christian Walker on April 5, 2011 vs. USC Upstate.

He tallied his first career homer and RBI in the 2-1 win vs. Presbyterian. The game-winning hit came in the bottom of the fourth inning. In the Elon series, he was 2-for-4 with a triple and three runs scored in the 8-1 win in the opener. He had two walks in game two and a hit and a run scored in the Sunday series finale.

BELCHER KEEPS CONTRIBUTING
Junior left-hander Nolan Belcher earned two wins in relief vs. the Crimson Tide. Belcher posted a win with one out retired in the 12-11 victory on Friday night and followed that up with 3.1 scoreless innings of relief with four strikeouts in the 9-1 victory on Saturday vs. the Crimson Tide. Belcher is 4-2 with a 2.39 ERA in 26.1 innings pitched with 11 walks and 30 strikeouts.

Belcher hurled 5.2 scoreless innings in his first start of the year as Carolina defeated The Citadel 8-0. Belcher combined with relievers Tyler Webb and Hunter Privette for a five-hit shutout vs. the Citadel.

Belcher had a productive week with a win and two saves in all three victories over Presbyterian and Clemson in late February/early March. Belcher earned his first win since May 11, 2010 with 2.1 scoreless innings of relief in the 2-1 win over Presbyterian. He allowed just one hit and struck out three batters. He followed that up with saves in both the 3-2 and 9-6 wins over Clemson.