COLUMBIA, S.C. -
South Carolina (40-13, 16-11 SEC) begins a three-game series at Vanderbilt (39-14, 16-11 SEC) on Thursday. First pitch for the opener is 7:30 p.m. ET with the game televised on ESPNU. Friday's game is also at 7:30 p.m. ET. Saturday's series finale is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET and will be televised on CBS Sports Network. All three games can also be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, "The Game."
South Carolina is ranked No. 8 by the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll, No. 9 by the NCBWA, No. 15 by Perfect Game and No. 17 by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. Vanderbilt is ranked No. 8 by the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll, No. 10 by Perfect Game and the NCBWA, No. 14 by Collegiate Baseball and No. 18 by Baseball America. South Carolina and Vanderbilt are tied for second in the SEC East and tied for third overall with three league games remaining. The top four teams in the SEC receive a bye in the SEC Tournament.
LIVE COVERAGE Radio: Gamecock Radio Network affiliates/Flagship WNKT FM 107.5 "The Game" in Columbia. Andy Demetra and Tommy Moody will call the action.
Television: Thursday - ESPNU (Dave Neal, Kyle Peterson, Chris Burke)
Saturday - CBS Sports Network (John Sadak, Ray King)
Internet: Additional coverage on Twitter @GamecockBasebll and Facebook/Gamecocksonline
For the 15th consecutive season, South Carolina has won 40 or more games. South Carolina was the first SEC team to reach the 40-win mark this year. It is the longest current streak among the 14 SEC schools.
A LOOK BACK
Freshman right-hander Reed Scott did not allow an earned run in seven innings of work while the Gamecocks' starting lineup combined for 10 hits and nine walks en route to a 10-1 victory over The Citadel on Tuesday night at Carolina Stadium.
SERIES VS. VANDERBILT
South Carolina leads the all-time series history vs. Vanderbilt 49-26. The Commodores won both games in last year's series in Columbia and a game at the SEC Tournament in Hoover. South Carolina won three consecutive weekend series before last year vs. the Commodores including a pair of wins in both 2010 and 2012 in Nashville.
Junior catcher Grayson Greiner was named the 2013-14 USC Co-Male Student-Athlete of the Year alongside Gamecock football/basketball standout Bruce Ellington. Greiner has been recognized in the baseball circles as well as he has been was named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List for the top catcher in college baseball and is on USA Baseball's Midseason Watch List for the Golden Spikes Award.
Greiner continues to lead the Gamecocks in hitting with a .344 average (62-for-180) with 37 runs scored, a team-high 11 doubles and eight homers as well as 49 RBI, third highest in the SEC. His .344 average is fifth-best in the SEC. He also has a team-best .414 on-base percentage and a .539 slugging mark. Greiner owns an identical .347 average (35-for-101) in league games with four homers and 23 RBI vs. SEC teams. Greiner is also riding a 11-game hitting streak.
Greiner was named SEC Player of the Week on March 31 after his play in the Tennessee series. Greiner hit a walk-off grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning to lift South Carolina to a 9-6 win over Tennessee His play along with Jordan Gore's walk-off homer was No. 1 on ESPN's SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays of the Day.
Greiner won the Tom Price award as the MVP for South Carolina in the weekend series vs. Clemson. Greiner hit .400 (4-for-10) for the weekend with four runs scored. His grand slam homer helped lift South Carolina to a 9-6 win. He had a team-high four walks on the weekend as well.
The Gamecocks are 29-1 when leading entering the seventh inning as well as 33-1 when leading entering the ninth inning. The Gamecocks are 35-4 when outhitting the opponent as well. South Carolina is 8-4 in one-run games and 38-8 when allowing five runs or less. The Gamecocks are 20-1 when scoring six runs or more as well. South Carolina is 18-11 in games decided by three runs or less. The Gamecocks have allowed three runs or less in 39 of 53 games this year with a 36-3 record in those contests.
SEDDON SEALS IT
Junior right-hander Joel Seddon pitched a perfect ninth inning for his 14th save of the year in South Carolina's 3-1 victory. Seddon leads the league with 14 saves with nine of the 14 vs. SEC opponents. He is 2-1 with a 0.54 ERA. He has limited opponents to just three runs, two earned, on 15 hits in 33.1 innings with 41 strikeouts to seven walks. Opponents are batting .134 against him. He is 14-for-15 in save opportunities. Seddon sits alone at seventh place on the USC Single-Season Top 10 save list. He has been named to the NCBWA Midseason Stopper of the Year Watch List.
USC Single-Season Top 10 Save List
1. Blake Taylor (2002) 21 *led the SEC and the nation in saves
T2. Matt Price (2011) 20 *led the SEC and the nation in saves
T2. Chad Blackwell (2004) 20 *led the SEC and the nation in saves
4. Lee Gronkiewicz (2001) 19 *led the SEC and the nation in saves
5. Tyler Webb (2013) 17 *2nd in the SEC and 7th in the nation in saves
6. Scott Barber (2000) 15 *1st in the SEC and tied for 6th in the nation in saves 7. Joel Seddon (2014) 14 *currently leads the SEC, Tied for 6th in the nation in saves
8. Matt Price (2012) 13 *1st in the SEC and 12th in the nation in saves
T9. Brian Beatson (1990) 12
T9. Brian Beatson (1988) 12
SOUTH CAROLINA BULLPEN
South Carolina's bullpen is 18-1 with a 1.02 ERA in 195.0 innings pitched this year. The bullpen has 200 strikeouts to 64 walks, opponents batting .183 against the relievers. The relief staff has limited opponents to 27 runs, 22 earned, on 125 hits.
The numbers are very similar for SEC games with a 7-1 record along with nine saves and a 0.91 ERA in 89.1 conference innings pitched. The relievers have given up 13 runs, nine earned, on 60 hits with 86 strikeouts to 28 walks. Conference opponents are hitting .193 against the Gamecock relievers.
LOOKING CLOSER AT GAMECOCK RELIEVERS
2014 - 18-1, 1.02 ERA, 195.0 IP, 125 H, 27 R, 22 ER, 64 BB, 200 SO, Opp BA .183
2013 - 19-10, 3.24 ERA, 225.1 IP, 219 H, 104 R, 81 ER, 69 BB, 221 SO, Opp BA .249
2012 - 21-10, 2.76 ERA, 250.2 IP, 197 H, 83 R, 77 ER, 105 BB, 270 SO, Opp BA .217
2011 - 23-4, 2.42 ERA, 249.1 IP, 201 H, 81 R, 67 ER, 115 BB, 241 SO, Opp BA .223
2010 - 26-5, 3.37 ERA, 264.2 IP, 207 H, 117 R, 99 ER, 105 BB, 289 SO Opp BA .216
MINCEY WITH AN APPEARANCE
Junior right-hander Cody Mincey had a pair of scoreless appearances vs. the Tigers. Mincey went 1.2 scoreless in Saturday's win and followed that up with two scoreless innings to pick up the victory in Sunday's 2-1 win. Mincey is 5-0 on the year with a 0.54 ERA. He leads the Gamecocks with 26 appearances. Mincey has 43 strikeouts in 33.1 innings. He is tied for fourth in the SEC in appearances.
PANKAKE AT THE PLATE
Junior infielder Joey Pankake went 6-for-12 in the Missouri series. Pankake had two hits in Sunday's 2-1 win including a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth. Pankake is now batting .305 (57-for-187) for the year with a team-high 47 runs scored and a .393 on-base percentage with 24 walks to 17 strikeouts.
Sophomore infielder DC Arendas was 5-for-10 in the Missouri series. Arendas tied his season-high with three hits in Saturday's 3-1 victory. Arendas has climbed to .291 (43-for-148) with a .390 on-base percentage.
MONTGOMERY GETS IT STARTED
Junior left-hander Jordan Montgomery was in command on Friday night to earn his seventh win of the season. Montgomery allowed just two runs on five hits in 8.1 innings with eight strikeouts and a walk. Montgomery is 7-4 with a 3.21 ERA in 81.1 innings. He has struck out a team-high 77 batters and opponents are batting .237 against him. Montgomery ranks sixth in the SEC in strikeouts.
JACK OF ALL TRADES
Sophomore left-hander Jack Wynkoop allowed one run on five hits in 5.2 innings with a walk and two strikeouts to pick up a win in the 3-1 victory vs. Missouri. Wynkoop is 7-3 with a 2.16 ERA in 79.0 innings. He has 54 strikeouts to 10 walks. His ERA ranks 10th in the SEC.
The Gamecocks have won six games this season when trailing entering the seventh inning including four wins when trailing entering the ninth inning. South Carolina is outscoring opponents 91-23 from the seventh inning through extra innings on the year. From the sixth inning to the end, South Carolina is also outscoring opponents 145-36.
NINTH INNING RALLY
South Carolina rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the top of the ninth with four runs in a 5-3 win at Clemson on March 2, 2014. Four consecutive two-out hits in the top of the ninth inning led to four runs. Trailing 3-1 entering the top of the ninth inning, the Gamecocks got things started with a base hit up the middle of the bat of Kyle Martin. With two outs and Martin still on first base, Grayson Greiner kept the inning alive with a single up the middle as well. Pinch hitter Brison Celek fought to a 2-2 count against Clemson reliever Clate Schmidt before knocking a base hit into left field to load the bases. That set the stage for sophomore shortstop Marcus Mooney, who jumped on the first pitch from Schmidt for a single into center field. Martin scored as did Greiner to tie the game. It was a tight play at the plate as center fielder Tyler Slaton's throw made it to home plate, but Clemson catcher Chris Okey was unable to hold on to the ball on a tag attempt as Greiner was sliding in for the tying run. With runners on second and third, Tanner English fought off a pair of two strike pitches and then belted a double to left field scoring both runners and giving the Gamecocks a two-run lead. Junior right-hander Cody Mincey retired all three Tiger batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth inning to secure the Carolina victory.
On March 15, 2014, the Gamecocks rallied from three runs down with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat Ole Miss 5-4 in 10 innings. A two-out RBI single by Connor Bright and a two-run homer by pinch hitter Max Schrock tied it in the ninth with pinch hitter Brison Celek winning it in the 10th frame with a RBI single.
On March 29, 2014, Grayson Greiner's walk-off grand slam capped a six-run bottom of the ninth inning as South Carolina rallied from three runs down with two outs and no runners on base to defeat Tennessee 9-6 for a second consecutive walk-off win on the afternoon. Trailing 6-3 and down to its final at-bat the Gamecocks made their final rally push as pinch hitter Brison Celek kept the inning alive with a base hit to center field. The rally then continued with Max Schrock as the sophomore drove a 1-1 pitch to right field from reliever Josh Peterson just fair of the foul pole in right field for a home run cutting the deficit to one run. After the Volunteers made a change to left-hander Drake Owenby, the Gamecocks stayed alive as a fly ball off the bat of Joey Pankake was mishandled by right fielder Scott Price putting the tying run on second base. Kyle Martin drew a walk and Connor Bright was hit on a 2-2 pitch from Owenby to load the bases and set the stage for Greiner. Tennessee would make one more change as right-hander Peter Lenstrom entered from the bullpen. On a 1-0 pitch, Greiner belted the game-winning homer to left field setting off a frenzy in Carolina Stadium. It was Greiner's fourth home run of the season.
On April 19, 2014, down a run entering the ninth inning, South Carolina stormed back with a pair of runs on RBI hits from freshmen Gene Cone and Jordan Gore to defeat Auburn 3-2 in game two of a doubleheader at Plainsman Park. The Gamecocks escaped a jam in the bottom of the eighth to set up the ninth inning heroics. With the bases loaded and no outs, right-hander Cody Mincey fought back from a 3-0 count against Ryan Tella to strike him out for the first out of the inning. A strikeout of Dan Glevenyak followed and Mincey ended the threat with pinch hitter Daniel Robert lining out to Gore at second base. With momentum, the Gamecocks battled as the ninth inning opened with a leadoff single by Grayson Greiner and a one-out walk to Elliot Caldwell. After pinch-runner Patrick Harrington replaced Greiner, the Gamecocks tied the game at 2-2 on a RBI double to right field off the bat of Cone. Auburn intentionally walked Tanner English that set the stage for Gore who lined a RBI single into left field to give the Gamecocks a one-run lead. Junior right-hander Joel Seddon came in and pitched a perfect ninth to seal the Gamecock victory.
AT THE PLATE, ON THE MOUND AND IN THE FIELD
South Carolina is hitting .283 (510-for-1802) as a team with a .362 on-base percentage and a .380 slugging percentage. The .283 average is fourth-best in the league. The Gamecocks own a SEC-best 1.99 ERA in 479.0 innings with 410 strikeouts to 136 walks, opponents batting .218 against the squad. South Carolina is fielding .975 on the year, second-best in the SEC. South Carolina also owns a 2.56 ERA in SEC games, best in the league as well.
Freshman outfielder Gene Cone had a bases-clearing double in Friday night's 8-2 win over Missouri. Cone has 18 RBI in 21 starts and a .347 on-base percentage.
Cone had two of the biggest hits in the weekend series vs. Alabama. Cone reached base in all four plate appearances in a 9-3 win with three walks and a key three-run triple. He followed that up with two-out two-run single that would give the Gamecocks a lead they would not relinquish in Sunday's 9-3 win. Cone had a team-high five RBI and two runs scored vs. the Crimson Tide. Cone came through for the Gamecocks in both victories at Auburn two weeks ago. He belted a career-high three hits including a game-tying RBI double in the top of the ninth inning to help South Carolina rally for a 3-2 win at Auburn on Saturday. He then followed that up on Sunday going 1-for-3 with game-winning RBI sacrifice fly in the eighth inning of South Carolina's 4-3 win at Auburn. Cone tied his career-high with three hits in Wednesday's 6-1 win over USC Upstate.
MAX IT OUT
Sophomore infielder Max Schrock returned to the lineup on Wednesday and immediately helped out going 2-for-5 with two RBI in the 15-1 win over Wofford. He added three hits and a RBI in the 8-2 win over Missouri, tallied a RBI in the 3-1 win vs. the Tigers and scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning in the 2-1 series finale after leading off with a triple. Schrock owns a .269 average (28-for-104) in 29 games with a .462 slugging percentage.
Schrock had a flair for the dramatic in the Ole Miss series. Despite a sprained ankle, Schrock came on in a pinch-hit role and without taking batting practice before the game, launched a two-out two-run homer to right field in the bottom of the 9th to help the Gamecocks rally to a 5-4 10-inning win over the Rebels. The previous day, Schrock tied a career-high with four hits including a homer as well as two RBI and two runs scored in the 6-4 loss.
HOME SWEET HOME
South Carolina has eight sellouts this year and 38 in school history at Carolina Stadium. South Carolina has totaled 279,043 in attendance in 37 home games for an average of 7,541 per contest.
South Carolina is 187-37 in all-time games at Carolina Stadium, a winning percentage of .835. That is the best winning percentage of all 14 SEC schools since opening the facility.
CROWE MAKES AN IMPACT
Despite a no-decision, freshman right-hander Wil Crowe provided a quality start in Sunday's 2-1 win. Crowe allowed just one run on four hits in seven innings with a walk and four strikeouts. He is 6-3 with a 2.97 ERA in 75.2 innings, opponents batting .245 against him.
Crowe was honored twice by the Southeastern Conference in the first two weeks of the regular season. On February 24, he earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors after working 6.1 scoreless innings in a 6-0 win over Eastern Kentucky with just four hits allowed and one walk to pick up his second win of the season.
The first week, Crowe was SEC Pitcher of the Week. He had an impressive debut as he hurled 6.1 hitless innings in his first career start. Crowe walked just one and hit one batter while finishing with five strikeouts to earn his first career win in a Gamecock uniform. Bucknell had just one runner reach second base and none reach third base while Crowe was on the mound. Crowe retired 13 consecutive batters in a row before coming out of the game as he reached his pitch count total.
Junior outfielder Patrick Harrington has a hit in five of the last six games. Harrington tallied a RBI single in the 2-1 win on Sunday and went 2-for-3 with a run scored in the 3-1 win the day before. Harrington set a career-high in the 15-1 win vs. Wofford with three RBI as well.
Junior first baseman Kyle Martin had four hits in the 6-1 win over USC Upstate and went 4-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI in Sunday's 9-3 win over Alabama. Martin owns a .324 average (67-for-207) with 32 runs scored, eight doubles, four homers and 30 RBI. Martin leads the Gamecocks with 20 multi-hit games.
A LITTLE BIT OF ENGLISH
Junior outfielder Tanner English hit .500 (5-for-10) in the Alabama series as well with two runs scored and two RBI. English is hitting .286 (52-for-182) for the year with a team-high 17 stolen bases.
A JOLT FROM JORDAN
Freshman infielder Jordan Gore tallied his first career multi-RBI game going 3-for-4 with a RBI and a sacrifice in the 9-3 win on Sunday vs. Alabama. Gore came up with his second game-winning hit of his career with a RBI single in the ninth inning of South Carolina's 3-2 win over Auburn. Gore also had a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 14th in a 3-2 win over Tennessee.
MOONEY IN THE MIDDLE
Sophomore shortstop Marcus Mooney is a spark plug at the plate and in the field. He is up to a .271 average (49-for-181) at the plate. He has scored 26 runs and driven in 20 runs as well. Mooney has 12 of his 20 RBI with two outs this year.
WIDENER SHOWS VERSATILITY
Freshman Taylor Widener was starting designated hitter in Tuesday's win vs. The Citadel and had a hit, RBI and two runs scored. In addition, he has been one of the Gamecocks' top arms out of the bullpen. Widener is 3-0 on the mound with a 0.87 ERA in 18 appearances. He has 31 strikeouts in 31.0 innings; opponents are batting .150 against him.
Freshman right-hander Reed Scott has been effective in a middle relief role for the Gamecocks as well as a spot starter. He struck out a career-high seven batters in a career-high seven innings in 10-1 win over The Citadel. Scott pitched six scoreless innings of relief to earn his first career win in a Gamecock uniform and kept the Gamecocks alive in a 9-6 come-from-behind victory vs. Tennessee.
Scott is 2-0 with a 0.68 ERA on the year. He has allowed just earned runs on 27 hits in 39.2 innings, opponents hitting .196 against him.
A BRIGHT SPOT
Junior outfielder Connor Bright is hitting at a .336 clip (48-for-143) with 10 doubles, 23 RBI and 25 runs scored. Bright has a .376 on-base percentage and a .406 slugging percentage. He owns 14 multi-hit games
Junior left-hander Vince Fiori has not allowed a run in 15 relief appearances. Fiori has a 0.00 ERA in 18.1 innings pitched with 18 strikeouts to nine walks. Opponents own a .182 average against him.
REAGAN SUPPLIES RELIEF
Freshman left-hander Josh Reagan pitched 2.2 scoreless innings of relief in Sunday's 5-3 loss to Georgia. Reagan has been very effective this year with a 3-0 record and a 0.36 ERA in 25.0 innings with 24 hits allowed. He has 21 strikeouts to four walks as well.
Two Gamecock players have started all 53 games this year, junior first baseman Kyle Martin and junior center fielder Tanner English.