South Carolina Opens SEC Baseball Tournament Against Ole Miss
May 25, 2010
Columbia, S.C. - South Carolina heads to Hoover, Ala. for the 2010 SEC Baseball Tournament. The Gamecocks are the No. 3 seed in this year's conference tourney and will face the No. 6 seed Ole Miss Rebels in the second game of the tournament. It will be televised live on SportSouth and can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network and at GamecocksOnline.com. The Carolina game is set to begin 30 minutes following the conclusion of game one between Alabama and Auburn. That first contest is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. ET.
Carolina heads into the weekend tournament with a 43-13 mark and after finishing in second place in the Eastern Division with a 21-9 conference record, also the second best conference record in the SEC. South Carolina and Ole Miss met in the regular season with the Gamecocks taking two of three games from the Rebels in Columbia.
South Carolina will start sophomore LHP Nolan Belcher (3-0, 2.03 ERA) with Ole Miss countering with junior LHP Drew Pomeranz (7-2, 2.39 ERA).
2010 SEC Tournament May 26-30 Regions Park Hoover, Ala. Wednesday, May 26 Game 1 10:30 a.m. #7 Alabama vs. #2 Auburn [SPSO] Game 2 TBA #6 Ole Miss vs. #3 South Carolina [SPSO] Game 3 5:30 p.m. #8 LSU vs. #1 Florida (CSS) Game 4 TBA #5 Vanderbilt vs. #4 Arkansas (CSS) Thursday, May 27 Game 5 10:30 a.m. Loser G1 vs. Loser G2 (CSS) Game 6 TBA Loser G3 vs. Loser G4 (CSS) Game 7 5:30 p.m. Winner G1 vs. Winner G2 (CSS) Game 8 TBA Winner G3 vs. Winner G4 (CSS) Friday, May 28 Game 9 4 p.m. Winner G5 vs. Loser G7 (SPSO) Game 10 TBA Winner G6 vs. Loser G8 [SPSO) Saturday, May 29 Game 11 10:30 a.m. Winner G8 vs. Winner G9 (SPSO) Game 12 TBA Winner G7 vs. Winner G10 (SPSO) Game 13* 6 p.m. Winner G11 vs. Loser G11 (CSS) Game 14* TBA Winner G12 vs. Loser G12 (CSS) Sunday, May 30 Game 15* 2 p.m. Winner G13 vs. Winner G14 (ESPN2)
South Carolina finished in second place in the Eastern Division in the 2010 regular season. Carolina has finished in the upper half of the SEC Eastern Division 14 of 19 seasons since joining the league including 11 of 14 years under head coach Ray Tanner.
SOUTH CAROLINA IN THE SEC TOURNAMENT
LOOKING BACK AT THE OLE MISS SERIES
In game one of the series, South Carolina senior right-handed pitcher Blake Cooper hurled a four-hit complete game shutout and the Gamecocks scored all five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning on its way to 5-0 victory 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 pitching matchup between Cooper and Ole Miss starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz was everything as advertised as both staff aces put up zero after zero on the scoreboard through the night on a warm evening in Columbia, S.C. Pomeranz did not allow a hit until the sixth and Cooper retired 11 in a row at one point. Pomeranz left after seven innings allowing no runs on two hits with 10 strikeouts and four walks.
It would be the eighth inning against the Rebels bullpen that would be when the Gamecocks made their move. Scott Wingo opened the frame with a leadoff walk against Ole Miss reliever Trent Rothlin. With reliever Brett Huber into the game, Whit Merrifield also walked to give the Gamecocks a pair of runners. Carolina then caught a break as Jackie Bradley Jr. laid down a sacrifice bunt with an errant throw by third baseman Zach Miller going past first baseman Miles Hamblin and allowing Wingo to score from second base. With Bradley on second and Merrifield on third with one out, the Rebels intentionally walked Nick Ebert to load the bases. Still with one out, Huber got the second out of the inning with a strikeout against Adam Matthews. However, it would be Adrian Morales that would strike with the key hit in the inning as he roped a double to right center clearing the bases and putting the Gamecocks ahead by four runs. Kyle Enders kept the momentum going as he tripled to right center then scoring Morales and giving the Gamecocks a 5-0 lead.
In game two of the series, Christian Walker's grand slam highlighted a seven-run second inning and starting pitcher Sam Dyson did not allow an earned run in 6.1 innings of work as South Carolina defeated Ole Miss 9-5 to clinch a weekend SEC baseball series at Carolina Stadium. All nine position players recorded at least one hit with the Gamecock finishing with 16 in the game, the second highest total by the Gamecocks at the plate this year. Thomas and Morales were each 3-for-4. Morales' three hits were a career high. Walker went 2-for-4 with Ebert 2-for-3 and Adam Matthews 2-for-4 as well. Ole Miss had eight hits. They were led by a 2-for-4 day at the plate by Tim Ferguson as well as a pair of hits by designated hitter Matt Snyder.
In game three of the series, a solo home run by David Phillips in the top of the seventh inning lifted Ole Miss to a 5-4 victory over South Carolina in the finale of a three-game SEC baseball series at Carolina Stadium.
With the score deadlocked at 4-4 in the top of the seventh, Phillips knocked the first pitch from reliever John Taylor over the right field wall to give the Rebels a one-run lead. Carolina looked to rally in the bottom half as Whit Merrifield reached on a bunt base hit and advanced to second base on a throwing error by first baseman Miles Hamblin. After a fly ball out to center field advanced Merrifield to third base, Ole Miss reliever Matt Tracy kept the potential tying run 90 feet away as a hot shot ground ball from pinch hitter Christian Walker went off the glove of Tracy and into the hands of second baseman Alex Yarbrough, who playing in would nab Walker at first base without Merrifield being able to score. After an intentional walk to Nick Ebert put runners on the corners, Tracy escaped without any damage as pinch hitter Parker Bangs knocked a line drive that was nabbed on a nice jump by second baseman Alex Yarbrough. Carolina would be unable to come away with a run in the eighth or ninth inning.
Tracy earned the win after 3.2 scoreless innings of relief for Ole Miss. He allowed one hit and one walk while striking out two batters. Taylor worked two innings and allowed one run on one hit and suffered the loss for Carolina. He is also 2-2 on the year. Ole Miss reliever Brett Huber worked the ninth inning to earn a save.
TAKING CARE OF BUSINESS
COOPER NAMED TO GOLDEN SPIKES AWARD WATCH LIST
Despite his first loss of the season vs. Florida, Cooper had a quality start allowing just three runs on eight hits in 6.2 innings of work. In his last win two weeks ago, Cooper allowed just two runs on three hits in seven innings of work to improve to 10-0 on the year as South Carolina defeated Arkansas 3-2 in the first game of the series. The pitching match-up between Cooper and Arkansas starter Drew Smyly lived up to the billing as both guys battled and matched each other inning after inning and limited the teams to base runners through the first two-thirds of the game. Cooper struck out seven and walked two in his seven innings of work.
Cooper is now 10-1 on the year and leads the SEC in victories. Cooper has pitched a SEC high 96.1 innings and is fourth in the league in opposing batting average (.223), sixth in earned run average (3.08) and seventh in strikeouts (82. Cooper is also tied in the conference with seven SEC wins. Cooper has pitched a SEC-high 71.2 innings, is fifth in opposing batting average (.231), fifth in earned run average (3.01) in league play and sixth in strikeouts (58).
Blake Cooper's 10th win gives him 31 now for his career at Carolina and ties him for sixth on the South Carolina career victories list with David Marchbanks (2001-03), Matt Threehouse (1989-93) and Dennis Lubert (1979-82). His 31 career victories is tied for second 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 also in second with 31 wins.
South Carolina Career Victories 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 Blake Cooper 2007-present (31-13) 31 David Marchbanks2001-03 (31-8) 31 Matt Threehouse 1989-93 (31-14) 31 Dennis Lubert 1979-82 (31-9)
For the season, Dyson is 5-5 with a 3.92 ERA in 82.2 innings pitched. He has 86 strikeouts and opponents are batting just .245 against him.
South Carolina's pitching staff had a tremendous weekend in Fayetteville, Ark. Heading into the week the Razorbacks were ranked second in the SEC in batting average, runs scored and slugging percentage. The Carolina staff answered the challenge and limited the Razorbacks to just five runs on 16 hits in 27 innings pitched. South Carolina's pitching staff kept Arkansas at a .170 batting average for the weekend and the Gamecocks finished the series with a 1.67 ERA.
Heading into the final weekend of play, the Gamecock pitching staff leads the Southeastern Conference in earned run average (3.65), opposing batting average (.228), hits allowed (398) and runs allowed (226). The Gamecocks are also second in strikeouts (477).
South Carolina also leads the Southeastern Conference in SEC games in opposing batting average (.243), hits allowed (238) and is second in earned run average (3.82), strikeouts (244) and runs allowed (134).
HANEY GETS IT GOING
THE PRICE IS RIGHT
All seven of Price's saves have come in SEC play that is the second highest total among SEC pitchers. His 16 SEC appearances is tied for the league high in conference play.
MAKING AN APPEARANCE
MERRIFIELD AT THE TOP OF THE ORDER
BRADY BUNCHES THEM TOGETHER