Columbia, S.C. -
The South Carolina baseball team (38-21) has earned a spot in the 64-team field of the 2008 NCAA Baseball Tournament. Carolina will be making its ninth straight appearance in the NCAA Tournament and the 10th under head coach Ray Tanner. The Gamecocks are the No. 2 seed in the Raleigh, NC regional and will face Charlotte (43-14) on Friday, May 30. The other two teams in the Gamecocks' regional bracket are top seeded NC State (38-20) and fourth seeded James Madison (38-17). This is Carolina's 24th overall appearance in the NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament. South Carolina has reached eight College World Series as well as seven NCAA Super Regionals.
The Gamecocks are one of nine teams from the SEC to play in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. South Carolina's nine consecutive trips to the NCAA Baseball Tournament (2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008) is the longest current streak of all 12 SEC schools. Carolina is one of only eight schools in the nation that has reached the NCAA Regional in the last nine consecutive years.
The national top eight seeds are Miami (Fla.) (47-8), North Carolina (46-12), Arizona State (45-11), Florida State (48-10), Cal State Fullerton (37-19), Rice (42-13), LSU (43-16-1) and Georgia (35-21-1).
The Southeastern Conference leads all conferences in the number of teams in the championship field with nine, followed by the Atlantic Coast Conference and Big 12 with six. Conference USA and the Pacific-10 have five teams each, while the Big West has four.
Each of the 16 regionals feature four teams, playing a double-elimination format. The regionals are scheduled to be conducted from Friday, May 30, to Monday, June 2 (if necessary). Selection of the eight super regional hosts will be announced on www.ncaa.com, Monday, June 2 at approximately 11 p.m. (ET).
The 62nd Men's College World Series begins play Saturday, June 14, at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Nebraska.
NCAA REGIONAL DATES/TIMES/FORMAT
Friday, May 30
Game 1 -- #2 South Carolina vs. #3 Charlotte 2 pm
Game 2 -- #1 NC State vs. #4 James Madison 7 pm
Saturday, May 31
Game 3 -- Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 2 pm
Game 4 -- Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 7 pm
Sunday, June 1
Game 5 -- Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4 1 pm
Game 6 -- Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5 6 pm
Monday, June 2
Game 7 -- If necessary (if game 5 winner wins game 6) 1 pm
NCAA TOURNAMENT RECORD
(includes College World Series games)
HOME RUN CAREER TOP 11 LIST
1. 60 Justin Smoak (2006-07-08)
2. 48 Hank Small (1972-73-74-75)
3. 47 Garrett Carter (1985-86-87-88)
4. 45 Jeff Parnell (1990-91-92-93)
5. 44 Landon Powell (2001-02-03-04)
6. 43 Chirs Boyle (1981-82-83-84)
7. 42 Phil Disher (2005-06-07-08)
42 Steve Pearce (2004-05)
8. 41 Tripp Kelly (1998-99-2000-01)
8, 41 Charlie Aldrich (1985-86-87)
11. 40 James Darnell (2006-07-08)
RBI CAREER TOP 11 LIST
1. 201 Justin Smoak (2006-07-08)
2. 198 Mac White (1991-92-93-94)
198 Chris Boyle (1981-82-83-84)
4. 193 Landon Powell (2001-02-03-04)
5. 184 Hank Small (1972-73-74-75)
6. 182 Jeff Parnell (1990-91-92-93)
7. 180 Derick Urquhart (1995-96-97-98)
180 Ryan Bordenick (1995-96-97-98)
9. 175 Michael Campbell (2003-04-05-06)
10. 168 Garrett Carter (1985-86-87-88)
168 Charlie Aldrich (1985-86-87)
AT BATS CAREER TOP 10 LIST
1. 950 Michael Campbell (2003-04-05-06)
2. 903 Mac White (1991-92-93-94)
3. 866 Landon Powell (2001-02-03-04)
4. 864 Drew Meyer (2000-01-02)
5. 799 Derick Urquhart (1995-96-97-98)
6. 766 Chris Boyle (1981-82-83-84)
7. 750 Jeff Parnell (1990-91-92-93)
8. 734 Greg Johnson (1977-78-79-80)
9. 724 Justin Smoak (2006-07-08)
10. 718 Jeff Barns (1985-86-87)
RUNS SCORED TOP 10 LIST
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. 183 Justin Smoak (2006-07-08)
6. 182 Jeff Parnell (1990-91-92-93)
7. 181 Michael Campbell (2003-04-05-06)
8. 176 Landon Powell (2001-02-03-04)
9. 174 Garrett Carter (1985-86-87-88)
10. 166 Ryan Bordenick (1995-96-97-98)
166 Jim Curl (1978-79-80-81)
HITS CAREER LIST (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)
6. 250 Mike Curry (1996-97-98)
7. 245 Hank Small (1972-73-74-75)
8. 239 Justin Smoak (2006-07-08)
9. 231 Dave Willman (1989-90-91-92)
10. 230 Skeets Thomas (1988-89-90)
11. 227 Jeff Barns (1985-86-87)
12. 225 Jeff Parnell (1990-91-92-93)
13. 224 Chris Boyle (1981-82-83-84)
14. 211 Reese Havens (2006-07-08)
211 Ryan Bordenick (1995-96-97-98)
17. 210 Garrett Carter (1985-86-87-88)
18. 209 Burke Cromer (1989-90-91-92)
19. 207 Jim Curl (1978-79-80-81)
20. 206 Greg Johnson (1977-78-79-80)
21. 203 Greg Morhardt (1982-83-84)
22. 201 Brian Buscher (2002-03)
DOUBLES CAREER TOP 10 LIST
1. 67 Mac White (1991-92-93-94)
2. 61 Landon Powell (2001-02-03-04)
3. 54 Michael Campbell (2003-04-05-06)
4. 53 Greg Morhardt (1982-83-84)
5. 52 Justin Smoak (2006-07-08)
6. 51 Mike Curry (1996-97-98)
51 Derick Urquhart (1995-96-97-98)
8. 48 Jeff Barns (1985-86-87)
9. 47 Jeff Parnell (1990-91-92-93)
10. 45 Paul Hollins (1978-79-80-81)
TOTAL BASES CAREER TOP 10 LIST
1. 472 Michael Campbell (2003-04-05-06)
472 Mac White (1991-92-93-94)
3. 471 Justin Smoak (2006-07-08)
4. 468 Landon Powell (2001-02-03-04)
5. 438 Derick Urquhart (1995-96-97-98)
6. 433 Hank Small (1972-73-74-75)
7. 415 Jeff Parnell (1990-91-92-93)
8. 401 Mike Curry (1996-97-98)
9. 398 Garrett Carter (1985-86-87-88)
10. 387 Chris Boyle (1981-82-83-84)
BASES ON BALLS CAREER TOP 10 LIST
1. 149 Justin Smoak (2006-07-08)
149 Jeff Parnell (1990-91-92-93)
3. 137 Landon Powell (2001-02-03-04)
4. 130 Stacy Stokes (1991-92-93-94)
5. 126 Derick Urquhart (1995-96-97-98)
6. 125 Mac White (1991-92-93-94)
7. 123 John Sullivan (1981-82-83-84)
8. 122 Mark Gugino (1992-93-94)
9. 120 Paul Hollins (1978-79-80-81)
10. 118 Ryan Bordenick (1995-96-97-98)
NCAA DIVISION I SCHOOLS TO REACH NCAA REGIONALS IN LAST NINE SEASONS (2000-08) SOUTH CAROLINA
Cal State Fullerton
THE RALEIGH REGIONAL
This year's NCAA Regional in Raleigh, NC has a similar feel to last year's NCAA Regional in Colunbia, SC as three of the four schools meet up again. South Carolina was the #1 seed last year in Columbia with NC State the #2 seed and Charlotte the #3 seed. Carolina defeated Charlotte twice with victories of 12-8 and 11-6 to advance to the Super Regional. The Gamecocks and Wolfpack did not meet. Charlotte eliminated NC State with victories of 6-3 and 12-10.
A RETURN TO RALEIGH
South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner will return to the familiar surroundings of Doak Field at Dail Park (2,500) this weekend when he brings the Gamecocks to Raleigh. Coach Tanner played at NC State (1977-80), served as assistant under legendary head coach Sam Esposito (1980-88) and was head coach for nine years (1989-1996) before becoming head coach at South Carolina. Tanner went 395-173-3 (.694) in nine years at the helm of NC State.
Also returning to Raleigh is Gamecock assistant coach Sammy Esposito, who lettered four seasons for the Wolfpack from 1999-2002. Coach Esposito is in his first year on the Gamecock Coaching Staff.
SOUTH CAROLINA VS. NCAA REGIONAL FOES
South Carolina and Charlotte have met 30 times in series history with the Gamecocks leading the all-time series 22-8 including two wins in last year's NCAA Regional. Charlotte and Carolina also met this year in the regular season with the 49ers defeating South Carolina 11-2 on March 5 at Sarge Frye Field.
NC State leads the all-time series history with South Carolina 33-21 although the schools have not met since 1992 when South Carolina defeated then NC State head coach Ray Tanner and the Wolfpack 9-6 in the NCAA Coral Gables Regional. Before that, the teams had not met since the 1975 Columbia (S.C.) Regional in which the Gamecocks earned a 4-3 win over NC State to advance to the College World Series. South Carolina also defeated NC State on May 23, 1974 in the first game of the Starkville Regional with a 9-0 win in the Gamecocks first ever NCAA Tournament game in baseball.
South Carolina has met James Madison nine times with an 8-1 edge over the Dukes. The last meeting was a tight one on Feb. 14, 2003 as the Gamecocks edged out JMU 7-6 in 10 innings. James Madison did come to Columbia (S.C.) in the 2002 NCAA Regional but did not meet up with the Gamecocks in the tournament.
A LOOK BACK
South Carolina enters the NCAA Tournament coming off of a 1-2 finish at the 2008 SEC Tournament. Carolina led eight innings before falling in 10 innings to LSU 5-4 in the tournament opener, bounced back to defeat Florida 11-3 in an elimination game and fell 7-5 to Vanderbilt last Friday.
South Carolina has won at least one game in nine straight SEC Tournament appearances dating back to the 2000 season.
SMOAK & HAVENS AMONG SEMIFINALISTS FOR GOLDEN SPIKES AWARD
South Carolina junior first baseman Justin Smoak and junior shortstop Reese Havens are two of 50 players in the nation to be named semifinalists for the 2008 Golden Spikes Award, presented by USA Baseball to the top amateur player in the country.
In 59 games this season, Justin Smoak is batting 377 with 21 homers and 66 RBI. Smoak earned first team All-SEC honors. Along with his conference honors, Smoak is one of 16 players in the nation to be named a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy awarded to the top player in college baseball by the NCBWA. Smoak led all conference players in hitting in SEC games as he hit .407 in 30 league games. Smoak was a semifinalist for the Golden Spikes Award also in 2007 as a sophomore.
Reese Havens has started in all 59 games as well and is batting .363 with 16 HR and 53 RBI. The junior shortstop has led off every game this year for Carolina and he and Smoak lead the conference in walks with 55 free passes apiece on the year. Havens also received SEC All-Defensive team honors at shortstop as he fielded .977 in the 30 conference games with just two errors vs. SEC teams. In overall games, Havens has a fielding percentage of .961 with 10 errors.
Fans can visit GoldenSpikesAward.com, powered by MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM), the interactive media and Internet company of Major League Baseball. The new Web site features content devoted exclusively to the GSA, including news, voting history, past-winner photo galleries, and photographs and video highlights for 2008 semifinalists. Fans can follow online at GoldenSpikesAward.com as the list of 50 players is narrowed to five finalists on Tuesday, June 3, en route to the announcement of this year's winner on Wednesday, July 16.
The 2008 GSA will be awarded as part of a production by Major League Baseball and MLBAM that will be streamed live on the Internet exclusively at GoldenSpikesAward.com and MLB.com. The annual event will be held in New York City following MLB All-Star Week with a time and location to be announced in early June.
SEVERAL GAMECOCKS EARN ALL-SEC HONORS
Five different South Carolina players have earned SEC conference honors including junior first baseman Justin Smoak, who was named to the All-SEC first team by a vote of the league's 12 head baseball coaches. Junior third baseman James Darnell, senior designated hitter Phil Disher and junior shortstop Reese Havens earned second team All-SEC honors. Gamecock outfielder Whit Merrifield was named to the Freshman All-SEC team.
James Darnell has started all 59 games for the Gamecocks and is among SEC leaders in RBI with 78 on the year. He is currently hitting .310 and also has 18 HR. Darnell also led the conference in RBI in SEC games with 40 RBI in the 30 SEC games. Darnell was a second team All-SEC selection as a sophomore in 2007 as well.
Phil Disher has been a consistent performer for Carolina with a .309 batting average to go along with 19 HR and 57 RBI. Disher hit three home runs at the SEC Tournament including two in Carolina's game with Vanderbilt He hit .336 in SEC games with nine HR and 31 RBI in those contests. He earned first team All-SEC as a junior in 2007.
Whit Merrifield has started 58 games in center field for Carolina and is hitting .321 and is among the team leaders in runs scored with 56 this year. Merrifield is also the SEC leader in sacrifice hits with 202. He leads the team in multi-hit games as he has recorded two or more hits 25 times this year. Merrifield also leads the team on the base going 10-for-10 in stolen bases.
NUMBERS TELL A STORY
South Carolina owns a 32-2 record when scoring six runs or more this season. The Gamecocks are also 30-3 when out-hitting its opponent. South Carolina is 15-14 in games decided by three runs or less this year.
Among other superlatives, the Gamecocks also own a 28-10 record when scoring first in a game as opposed to a 10-11 mark when its opponent scores first. The Gamecocks are also 29-9 when allowing five runs or less to the opponent.
AT THE PLATE, ON THE MOUND & IN THE FIELD
Carolina leads the SEC in home runs on the year with 103 in 59 games. The team is batting .299 (617-for-2063) with 416 runs scored. The pitching staff owns a team ERA of 4.38 in 530.1 innings with 469 strikeouts to 202 walks. Carolina is fielding .978 as a team, also leading the SEC.
TRACKING Justin Smoak THE SEC RECORD BOOK
Junior first baseman Justin Smoak is one of only seven players in SEC history to reach the 60 career mark in home runs. Listed below are the seven players that have accomplished the feat.
Career Home Runs
1. Eddy Furniss, LSU (265 games) 80 1995-98
2. Brad Cresse, LSU (236 games) 78 1997-00
3. Matt LaPorta, FLA (215 games) 74 2004-07
4. Rafael Palmeiro, MSU (183 games)67 1983-85
5. Andy Phillips, ALA (244 games) 61 1996-99
6. Will Clark, MSU (175 games) 61 1983-85
7. Justin Smoak, SC (191 games) 60 2006-08
THE HOME RUN
South Carolina enters the NCAA Regional with a streak of 19 straight games with at least one home run. Carolina has tallied 32 round trippers during that streak. The Gamecocks have homered at least one time in 53 of 59 games this year. South Carolina is 35-18 when hitting at least one home run as well as 19-8 when hitting two-plus homers.
South Carolina has totaled 100 or more homers as a team in six of the last nine seasons. Below are the home run totals as well as where South Carolina ranks in the NCAA in total home runs (note these rankings are based on total homers, not home runs per game.)
DYSON MAKES HIS CASE
Freshman right-hander Sam Dyson had as solid of an outing as any pitcher at the SEC Tournament last week as he hurled 6.2 scoreless innings in the opening game vs. LSU. Dyson allowed just two hits and three walks while striking out six batters. His 6.2 innings marked the second longest outing of the season. He enters postseason play with a 7-0 record to go along with a 3.27 ERA in 44 innings. He has 43 strikeouts and opponents are only batting .212 against him.
GODWIN IS GOOD
Senior right-hander Nick Godwin has proven his merit throughout the year and has won his last two starts heading into the NCAA Tournament. Godwin improved to 7-3 with his win vs. Florida at the SEC Tournament. Godwin is 7-3 with a 3.02 ERA in a team-high 86.1 innings. He has 77 strikeouts to 22 walks. Godwin also came up big in his Friday night start vs. Tennessee in the last weekend of SEC play as he limited the Vols to just four runs, two earned, in 7.1 innings of work to earn a victory.
Godwin also defeated Clemson twice this year. He is tied for the SEC lead with eight pickoffs on the year.
DARNELL DRIVES THEM IN
Junior third baseman James Darnell tallied five RBI and a homer in the 10-8 win over Tennessee. 11 of Darnell's 18 homers have come in SEC games. He also has compiled five or more RBIs in six games this season.
For the third time this season, James Darnell reorded a multi-homer game as he hit a pair of home runs and tallied five RBI in a 7-1 win over Clemson. Earlier this year, Darnell twice tied a USC single-game record for home runs in a game with three in a win vs. Kentucky (3-29) and in a win vs. College of Charleston (3-18).
The three vs. Kentucky marked the first time ever that one player has done it twice. All three homers were two-run shots as he set a career-high with six RBI in the contest. That helped Darnell earn National Player of the Week from Collegiate Baseball.
South Carolina continues to be impressive in 38 victories this season with a total of 342 runs in those wins. That averages to 9.0 runs per contest. 17 of the 38 wins on the year have featured at least 10 runs scored by the Gamecock offense including three of the last four Gamecock victories.
HAVENS AT THE FRONT OF THE LINE
Junior shortstop Reese Havens continues to swing a solid bat with a .363 batting average (85-for-234) and also owns 16 HR and 54 RBI. He has scored a team-high 71 runs. He has spent all 59 games this year at the front of the lineup as the leadoff hitter and is tied with Justin Smoak as the SEC leader in walks with 55 free passes. Havens is fielding .961 at shortstop. He recently also just moved into the USC All-Time Career List for hits as he became the 21st player to reach the total of 200.
Havens earned SEC Player of the Week honors following his performance on opening weekend vs. East Carolina. Havens was 7-for-14 (.500) for the series with a pair of homers, six RBI and seven runs scored. His five hits in the season opener tied his career-high and he set a career-high as well with five RBI in the 22-5 win over the Pirates.