Feb. 28, 2003
Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina and Clemson renew their rivalry on the baseball diamond this weekend with a pair of games. Ranked as high as sixth in the national polls, the Gamecocks will travel to Clemson for a Saturday afternoon game at 1 p.m. and host the Tigers on Sunday afternoon with first pitch set for 1:30 p.m.
South Carolina enters the weekend with an 8-1 record following a weekend sweep at home vs. Duquesne with Clemson coming in with a 2-2 record and ranked 18th and 19th in the national polls. Last season South Carolina and Clemson split the season series three games apiece, with the Gamecocks winning the final two games of the series in Omaha at the College World Series.
South Carolina will start sophomore LHP Matt Campbell on Saturday afternoon. Campbell was named National Player of the Week and SEC Pitcher of the Week on Monday, following his performance last week. Campbell had a no-hitter into the eighth inning vs. Duquesne before a bloop hit single ended the no-hit outing. Campbell and the Gamecocks won the game 9-0, the first shutout by Carolina this season. Campbell also earned a save at The Citadel on Wednesday night in USC’s 7-5 win vs. the Bulldogs.
Live stats and live audio broadcast will be available on USCSports.com for both Saturday and Sunday’s contests.
The Clemson Series – South Carolina and Clemson have met on the baseball diamond 259 times in a rivalry that dates back 104 years to 1899. Clemson holds a 152-105-2 advantage in the series. The Tigers and Gamecocks split six games in 2002. Clemson won three of four regular season games but the Gamecocks evened the series on the year with two victories in the College World Series at Omaha. South Carolina Coach Ray Tanner has a 10-9 record against Clemson in his previous six seasons with the Gamecocks.
Tanner – Ray Tanner is in his seventh season at South Carolina and his 16th as a collegiate head coach. His record with the Gamecocks is 282-114, a winning percentage of .712 Overall, Tanner’s record is 677-287-3, a winning percentage of .702. In nine seasons at N. C. State his record was 395-173-4.
What’s Next – The Sunday game of the Clemson series begins an 11 game home stand for the Gamecocks. Gardner Webb comes to Sarge Frye Field for a 7 p.m., Tuesday game followed 24 hours later by a visit from the Furman Paladins. Radford visits Sarge Frye Field for a three game series Friday through Sunday. Game times are 7 p.m., 4 p.m., and 1:30 p.m. The home stand continues with a 7 p.m., game March 12 against Western Carolina. The Gamecocks open the 30 game Southeastern Conference schedule March 14-16 when the Arkansas Razorbacks come to Sarge Frye.
National Rankings – South Carolina, with an 8-1 record and riding a seven game win streak, is ranked sixth this week in the national poll conducted by Collegiate Baseball magazine. That’s up one spot from seventh place in last week’s poll. The Gamecocks remain eighth in the poll conducted by Sports Weekly/ESPN and has moved up two spots to 10th in the Baseball America poll.
Player of the Week – Sophomore left-handed pitcher Matt Campbell was named National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball and Southeastern Conference Pitcher of the Week for his performance in two games last week. Campbell earned a save in a 7-5 Wednesday night road win at The Citadel. He struck out all five batters that he faced, including four in the ninth inning when one Bulldog reached first on a wild pitch. Campbell was equally effective Sunday when he started against Duquesne. He took a no-hit game into the eighth inning before allowing a bloop single. Campbell retired after eight innings having allowed one hit and one walk. He struck out nine in the 9-0 Gamecock win. His week’s work showed 14 strikeouts and one hit allowed in 9 1/3 innings with a win and a save.
Records – Two school records were tied Feb. 19 in the 7-5 win over The Citadel at Charleston. Three Gamecock pitchers combined to strike out 18 Citadel batters. That tied the team mark set against The Citadel in 1993 and tied twice in 2002 against Wofford and Seton Hall. Gamecock batters also struck out 14 times against Bulldog pitchers, including four strikeouts by Kevin Melillo, tying an individual record held by many players.
Rawl – Sophomore right handed pitcher Aaron Rawl is off to a 3-0 start in his first three mound appearances this season. Rawl pitched the final three innings to win the first Charleston Southern game Feb. 7 and worked 5 1/3 innings to win a 10 inning game over James Madison a week later. The two outstanding relief appearances earned Rawl the starting assignment against The Citadel on Feb. 19. After a shaky start in which he fell behind 3-0 in the first two innings Rawl shut the Bulldogs out the next four innings. His six-inning stint earned his third victory of the young season.
Lalor – Freshman right-hander Conor Lalor was impressive in his first collegiate start. Lalor pitched the first five innings of the second game of the Duquesne series. He allowed four hits, walked one and struck out one. The two runs scored during Lalor’s stint on the mound were unearned and he was the winning pitcher. Previously Lalor had pitched one scoreless inning.
Powell – Catcher Landon Powell has swung a hot bat in the past six games to offset a slow start. Powell had only one hit, a double, in 13 at bats in the opening three game series with Charleston Southern. Since then he has collected 12 hits in 21 at bats, a .571 pace, to raise his season average to .382. Powell also has 10 bases on balls and leads the Gamecocks in runs batted in with 11. His hits include five doubles and one home run.
Hitting Streaks – Third baseman Brian Buscher has had at least one hit in each of the first nine games of the 2003 season. Shortstop Justin Harris had an eight game streak broken when he was hitless in four official at bats in the final game of the Duquesne series. Right fielder Nick Gardiner hit safely in the first seven games but has failed to get a hit in the last two.
Melillo – Sophomore Kevin Melillo has hit safely in six of seven games. Melillo sat out two games due to ankle injuries and was limited to a pinch hit single in another. He was hitless against The Citadel but has 12 hits in 24 at bats to lead the Gamecocks with a .500 average. The most versatile Carolina player, Melillo has played second base and first base this season and can also play the other infield positions and the outfield.
Homers – Melillo and designated hitter Hank Parks are the first two Gamecocks to have multiple home run games this season. Parks homered in the first and seventh innings of the first game with Duquesne and Melillo homered in the sixth and seventh innings of the same game. Parks also homered against James Madison and leads the team with three home runs. Melillo, Justin Harris and freshman first baseman Trey McDaniel have two home runs. The Gamecocks have hit at least one home run in every game except the second Duquesne game and have 12 so far this season.
Four Hit Game – Justin Harris was the first Gamecock player to collect four hits in a game this season. The senior shortstop hit his second home run, doubled and added two singles against The Citadel in five at bats. .
Melillo – Kevin Melillo reached base 12 consecutive times dating back to the final two games of the 2002 College World Series. Melillo singled in his final at bat against Clemson in Omaha. In the NCAA championship game with Texas Melillo was twice hit by a pitch and walked twice to reach four times without an official at bat. He reached his first seven plate appearances in 2003. He had a pinch hit single in the second Charleston Southern game. He walked twice and doubled twice in the third Charleston Southern game. Against James Madison Melillo singled and walked before grounding out his third appearance. The streak included six hits, four walks and two times hit by pitch. So far this season Melillo has reached base 20 times in 31 appearances for an on base percentage of .645.
Super Scholar – Steven Bondurant, South Carolina’s 2003 opening day starting pitcher, is also the top scholar on the Gamecock baseball squad. Bondurant graduated Magna Cum Laude last May with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing. He is currently in graduate school pursuing a master’s degree in Human Relations.
Attendance – Despite cold and rainy weather more than 14,000 fans have turned out for the first six South Carolina home games at Sarge Frye Field. The three game Charleston Southern Series drew 7,792 and 6,362 saw the three games with Duquesne. The start of the second Duquesne game was delayed three hours due to rain but still had an attendance of 1,310. The total for six home dates is 14,154. The upcoming Sunday home game with Clemson is sold out and will probably draw more than 5,000.
Team USA – Coach Ray Tanner, a veteran of summer participation with Team USA, will serve as head coach of the USA Baseball National Team that will compete in the 2003 Pan American games. Tanner has worked as an assistant coach with four previous USA national teams including teams that represented the USA in the 1996 and 2000 Olympic games. The 2000 team won a gold medal in the Sydney, Australia Olympics. The 2003 Team USA will play approximately 25 games throughout the United States before competing in the Pan American Games in the Dominican Republic. The schedule includes a five game series with the Japanese Collegiate All-Stars. Tanner’s assistant coaches will be Dick Cooke of Davidson, Mark Scalf of North Carolina-Wilmington and Dave Weathers of Long Beach State.
Hot Stove – Coach Tanner received the Will Wynne Award Jan. 28 at the 53rd Annual Baseball Banquet of the Raleigh Hot Stove League. The award goes to the North Carolinian who has contributed the most or had the biggest impact on baseball during the previous year. A native of Johnson County, N. C.,, and a graduate or North Carolina State University, Tanner guided South Carolina to the championship game of the 2002 College World Series in Omaha, Neb. Tanner won the Wynne Award for the second time. Ten years earlier, 1992, he won while coaching at N. C. State.
Home Grown – Half the players on South Carolina’s 2003 baseball roster are from the Palmetto State. Of the 36 players on the roster 18 list home towns in South Carolina. Seven Gamecocks hail from Florida, four from North Carolina, two each from California and Tennessee, and one each from Georgia, Virginia and New York.
Prospects – Two University of South Carolina juniors are listed among the top 100 college class for the June 2003 major league draft. Catcher Landon Powell, a pre-season All-America, is listed as the seventh best prospect among the top 100. Junior left-handed pitcher David Marchbanks is 91st on the list compiled by Baseball America. The Baseball America listing of the top 100 high school prospects for the 2003 draft includes three players signed by South Carolina in the fall period. Right-handed pitcher Chad Billingsley of Defiance, Ohio is listed as the eighth best pro prospect from high school. Shortstop David Cash of Odessa, Fla., is 81st and left-handed pitcher Darin Downs of Boynton Beach, Fla., is 85th.
Projections – Baseball America projects Chad Billingsley and Landon Powell as first round picks in the 2003 June draft. The baseball magazine published in Durham, N. C., lists its top 25 prospects for the draft. Billingsley is 16th and Powell 17th on the list.