South Carolina Baseball Returns to SEC Play at Arkansas
<b>Blake Cooper</b>
 
Blake Cooper

May 13, 2010

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COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina (38-11, 17-7 SEC) is back in SEC action this weekend with a three-game series at Arkansas (38-11, 16-8 SEC). First pitch for the opener on Friday is 7:35 p.m. ET with Saturday's game at 3:05 p.m. ET and Sunday's series finale set for 2:05 p.m. ET. Friday and Sunday's games will be televised by Cox Sports Television. All three games can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network and at GamecocksOnline.com.

Arkansas leads the series history 29-19 including winning two of three against the Gamecocks last year at Carolina Stadium.

Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday
South Carolina Blake Cooper (Sr. RHP) 9-0, 3.05 ERA, 82.2 IP, 26 BB, 72 SO
Arkansas Drew Smyly (So. LHP) 8-0, 2.26 ERA, 71.2 IP, 24 BB, 77 SO

Saturday
South Carolina Sam Dyson (Jr. RHP) 4-4, 4.30 ERA, 67.0 IP, 14 BB, 71 SO
Arkansas Mike Bolsinger (Sr. RHP) 5-2, 4.65 ERA, 60.0 IP, 15 BB, 59 SO

Sunday
South Carolina TBA
Arkansas TBA

LAST TIME OUT
Nick Ebert homered for the second consecutive game and Christian Walker, Adam Matthews and Bobby Haney added homers as well as South Carolina defeated Charleston Southern 10-2 on Wednesday night at Carolina Stadium. The Gamecocks are now 38-11 for the season while the loss drops Charleston Southern to 17-31 for the year.

Carolina reliever Jose Mata picked up the win and is now 6-1 for the year. He pitched one perfect inning of relief with a strikeout. CSU starter Charlie McCready suffered the loss and is now 0-6 for the season. He allowed seven runs on nine hits in 2.1 innings of work.

The Gamecocks out-hit Charleston Southern 16-5 in the game. Matthews was 3-for-5 with two runs scored. Thomas finished 2-for-5 with two runs scored. Ebert and Haney each drove in two runs with Ebert also tallying two hits. Walker and Bradley also collected two hits apiece. Walker owns an eight-game hitting streak. Meier and Drew Woodall had two hits apiece for Charleston Southern.

LAST WEEK
South Carolina went 2-2 this past week winning a midweek non-conference game vs. Winthrop, 14-6, and winning one of three games in a weekend SEC series at Kentucky. The Gamecocks are tied for first place in the Southeastern Conference with Florida. Carolina had won all seven SEC series this year and had won 10 straight conference series before the series loss at Kentucky this past weekend.

COOPER NAMED TO GOLDEN SPIKES AWARD WATCH LIST
South Carolina senior right-hander Blake Cooper has been named to USA Baseball's 2010 Golden Spikes Award Watch List. The Golden Spikes Award is given to the top amateur player in baseball.

Cooper became the 10th pitcher in school history to record 30 victories in a win on Friday night at Kentucky. He went 5.2 innings and allowed seven runs, three earned, on nine hits with three strikeouts and three walks. Cooper is now tied with Mike Cook for ninth on the USC all-time career wins list. On the year, Cooper leads the SEC with a 9-0 record. Opponents are batting just .224 against him. He leads the conference in innings pitched (82.2) is fifth in strikeouts (72), sixth in earned run average (3.05) and sixth in opponents batting average (.224).

His 30 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 31,

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.

On Tuesday, June 1, USA Baseball officials will cut the watch list of players to 30 names. The final list of 30 will then be sent to a voting body consisting of select professional baseball personnel, past USA Baseball National Team coaches, select members of the media, former USA Baseball sports information directors, and current USA Baseball staff -- close to 150 voters in total.

Fan voting will once again be a part of the Golden Spikes Award in 2010. June 1 will also mark the day when college baseball fans from across the country will be able to vote for their favorite player for the Golden Spikes Award on GoldenSpikesAward.com. As part of this selection process all voters will be asked to choose five players from the list of 30 names. On Tuesday, June 8, USA Baseball will announce the five finalists, and voting will once again commence that same day.

The 2010 USA Baseball Golden Spikes Award will be presented nationally July 13 on an award show via live telecast from Anaheim on GoldenSpikesAward.com, USABaseball.com and MLB.com in conjunction with All-Star FanFest.

South Carolina has had one player in school history earn the award. In 2000, right-handed pitcher Kip Bouknight received the Golden Spikes after posting a 17-1 record and helping lead the Gamecocks to a SEC championship.

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 Marchbanks	2001-03
		(31-8)
 	31	Matt Threehouse	1989-93
		(31-14)
  	31	Dennis Lubert	1979-82
		(31-9)
9)  	30	Mike Cook	1983-85
		(30-8)
	30	Blake Cooper	2006-09
		(30-12)

DYSON PUTTING IT TOGETHER
Despite a loss on Saturday, junior right-hander Sam Dyson gave the Gamecocks another quality start. Dyson hurled his second complete game of the year and allowed two runs on six hits with eight strikeouts and four walks. He is now 4-4 on the year with a 4.30 ERA in 67 innings pitched. He is sixth in the SEC in opponents batting average (.254) and sixth in strikeouts (71).

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.

WALKER ON A ROLL
Freshman Christian Walker is swinging a hot stick and owns an eight-game hitting streak. He is also up to 13 multi-hit games, that ties for third on the team. Walker was 4-for-6 with three runs scored, four RBI and three doubles in the 13-9 win over Kentucky. The three doubles ties him for the school record for doubles in a game. Walker is hitting .328 (44-for-134) on the year with six HR and 35 RBI. He leads the Gamecocks in SEC games with a .396 average vs. conference foes.

BRADLEY STRONG AT THE PLATE
Sophomore Jackie Bradley Jr. has been strong at the plate lately as well. Bradley set a career-high with four runs scored in the 17-4 win over Wofford and hit a three-run homer as well. Bradley had his first multi-homer game of his career in the 14-6 win over Winthrop. He was also 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI in the win on Friday at Kentucky. He is hitting .352 (56-for-159) for the season with eight HR and 36 RBI.

PITCHING STAFF
The Gamecock pitching staff continues to do well as the staff leads the SEC with a .232 opponents batting average. Carolina is also second in earned run average at 3.74 and second in strikeouts with 446 for the season. The staff also leads the conference in SEC games with a .248 opponents batting average and is also second in the conference in earned run average at 4.03 and strikeouts with 198 vs. league opponents.

CAROLINA STADIUM RECORD SET
South Carolina set a Carolina Stadium record vs. Winthrop with seven home runs in the 14-6 victory. The two teams combined for 31 hits with the Gamecocks tallying 17 and Winthrop finishing with 14 for the evening. The seven home runs also tied for the second highest total of home runs hit in a game by a South Carolina team coached by Ray Tanner.

THE PRICE IS RIGHT
Freshman right-hander Matt Price picked up his fifth save of the season in the 13-9 win over Kentucky. Price worked 1.1 scoreless innings of relief with three strikeouts. For the season, Price is 3-0 with a 3.03 ERA in 32.2 innings pitched. He has 51 strikeouts to 12 walks. Opponents are batting just .186 for the season against him.

SUPERLATIVES
South Carolina is now 33-1 for the season when leading entering the top of the seventh inning. South Carolina is also 25-5 for the year when scoring first in a game. In other superlatives, the Gamecocks are 30-3 when out-hitting its opponent. The Gamecocks are 14-7 in games decided by three runs or less.

IF YOU BUILD IT - THEY WILL COME
For the Alabama series, 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.

SOUTH CAROLINA AT THE PLATE
South Carolina is hitting .305 (513-for-1682) as a team on the year with the squad's on-base percentage .40 and slugging percentage at .503 for the season. The Gamecocks have scored 382 runs with 100 doubles, 10 triples, and 71 homers.

Against Alabama 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.

MERRIFIELD NAMED 2009-10 EARNEST BROOKS CO-MALE STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AT SOUTH CAROLINA
Junior Whit Merrifield continues to be one of the top bats in the Southeastern Conference and recently received 2009-10 Earnest Brooks Co-Male Student-Athlete of the Year honors at South Carolina along with men's golfer George Bryan IV.

Merrifield tied a season-high with three hits vs. Winthrop and went 5-for-12 in the weekend series vs. Alabama. He now has 234 career hits that moves him up 9th all-time on the hits list at Carolina. He is 11 shy of Hank Small (1972-73-74-75) for eighth on the all-time list. He is second in the SEC in runs scored with 58 for the season. He is the only Gamecock player to have started all 49 games this year. He is batting .328 (66-for-202) 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 .333 average (32-for-96) in conference games with 25 runs scored as well as five home runs.

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 167 consecutive starts for the Gamecocks dating back to March 7, 2008.

MERRIFIELD ON CAREER LISTS

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)	185	Whit Merrifield	2008-09-10
	Singles
1)	209	Drew Meyer	2000-01-02
2)	201	Michael Campbell	2003-04-05-06
3)	198	Mac White	1991-92-93-94
4)	191	Andrew Crisp	2005-06-07-08-09
5)	176	Derick Urquhart	1995-96-97-98
6)	172	Greg Jonson 	1977-78-79-80
	172	Whit Merrifield	2008-09-10

Hits (200 or more) 1) 303 Mac White 1991-92-93-94 2) 299 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-06 3) 285 Drew Meyer 2000-01-02 4) 265 Landon Powell 2001-02-03-04 265 Derick Urquhart 1995-96-97-98 5) 262 Andrew Crisp 2005-06-07-08-09 6) 250 Mike Curry 1996-97-98 7) 246 Justin Smoak 2006-07-08 8) 245 Hank Small 1972-73-74-75 9) 234 Whit Merrifield 2008-09-10

JUNIOR INVITED TO NATIONAL TEAM TRIALS BY USA BASEBALL
Jackie Bradley Jr. 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
Junior infielder Adrian Morales has also had a hot bat and has raised his batting average to .299 (47-for-157) on the year. He had a pair of hits, a RBI and a run scored in the 17-4 win over Wofford. Morales hit .400 (6-for-15) for the Alabama series with a pair of RBI and four runs scored. 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.

WINGO PRODUCES
Junior infielder Scott Wingo hit a solo homer in Friday's win vs. Alabama and also had two doubles in the 20-15 victory vs. the Crimson Tide. He has nine homers for the season. Wingo is hitting .299 (41-for-137) for the season and has a .458 on-base percentage to go along with a .569 slugging percentage.

MARZILLI SHOWING HOME RUN POWER
Freshman outfielder Evan Marzilli has shown recent home run power with a pair of homers in the last five games. Marzilli had a solo homer on Saturday and Kentucky and hit his first career homer, a two-run shot, in the 20-15 win over Alabama. Marzilli has primarily been a defensive replacement with 43 games played and just eight starts. He has been effective at the plate though, batting .349 (15-for-43) and has also scored 17 runs.

BANGS TIES A SCHOOL RECORD
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 .311 (14-for-45) with three HR and 15 RBI as well as six doubles.

THE DEFENSE
South Carolina has been stellar defensively as the team has committed just 50 errors in 49 games with the squad fielding .973 for the season.

BRADY BUNCHES THEM TOGETHER
Senior catcher Brady Thomas had a clutch bat vs. Alabama 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 32 games with 22 starts, is batting .315 (29-for-92) with six HR and 24 RBI. Also, 18 of his 29 hits are extra base hits on the year (11 doubles, a triple, six HR). He has a .652 slugging percentage.

MATA THE STOPPER
Jose Mata hurled one scoreless inning of relief to pick up a win vs. Charleston Southern. The 9-7 win over Alabama featured Mata as well as he struck out the lone batter he faced to earn the win in the 11-inning affair. Mata is now 6-1 for the season with a 2.17 ERA in 21 appearances and has 20 strikeouts in 29.0 innings pitched. Opponents are batting just .216 against him.

MAKING AN APPEARANCE
Sophomore left-hander Michael Roth is among SEC leaders with 23 appearances. He has a 1.88 ERA and three saves in 14.1 innings pitched with 14 strikeouts. He has not allowed a run in 18 of 23 appearances for the year.

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?
South Carolina senior right-hander Jay Brown was SEC Pitcher of the Week after a 2-0 win at Vanderbilt. In his second career SEC start, Brown pitched a season-high 6.1 innings and combined with relievers Michael Roth and Matt Price to face the minimum in the win over nationally ranked Vanderbilt to help the Gamecocks clinch the rubber game of a three-game SEC series.

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 5.02 ERA in 37.2 innings pitched.

VERSATILE LINEUP
Depth has been a key ingredient for the Gamecocks this year. For the season, South Carolina has used 41 different starting lineups in 498 games. In addition, 13 different pitchers have accounted for the 38 victories on the year. Also, 16 position players have been in the starting lineup at least once this season.