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May 13, 2004

Columbia, S.C. – Seventh ranked South Carolina (36-13, 13-11 SEC) hosts its final home SEC series of the season this weekend as the Gamecocks face 25th ranked Tennessee (34-16, 12-12 SEC) at Sarge Frye Field. Carolina heads into the weekend series having won 11 of the last 14 games played including the last three SEC series vs. Alabama, Ole Miss and Auburn. First pitch for Friday’s opener is set for 7 p.m.

South Carolina leads the overall series with the Volunteers 28-24 and have won the last four series played between the two schools in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina is currently in third place in the SEC Eastern Division, one game ahead of Tennessee with six games remaining in conference play. South Carolina is 26-6 in home games this season including 7-5 vs. SEC opponents. The Volunteers are 9-8 on the road and 6-6 in SEC road games this year.

Live GAMETRACKER stats and live audio will be available at USCSPORTS.COM for all three games. The game will also be broadcast on all Gamecock Baseball Radio affiliates with Mike Morgan and Tommy Moody calling the action.

Saturday the Gamecocks will honor four seniors on Senior Day with first pitch set for 4 p.m. Nick Gardiner, Hank Parks, Landon Powell and Bryan Triplett will play their final home SEC series this weekend at Sarge Frye Field. Sunday’s final game will be at 1:30 p.m.

Tennessee: RHP Luke Hochevar (3-1, 3.55 ERA), So.
South Carolina: LHP Matt Campbell (7-3, 3.42 ERA), Jr.

Tennessee: RHP Craig Cobb (3-1, 2.44 ERA), Fr.
South Carolina: RHP Aaron Rawl (9-3, 4.96 ERA), Jr.

Tennessee: RHP Sean Watson (4-4, 3.37 ERA), Fr.
South Carolina: LHP Arik Hempy (3-1, 3.19 ERA), Fr.

The South Carolina-Tennessee basball series rivalry began in 1912 and the Gamecocks and Volunteers met 14 times over the years before South Carolina joined the Southeastern Conference in 1992. The series has continued annually since with South Carolina holding a 28-24 lead in the series.

The 10th inning bases loaded home run by Steve Pearce against The Citadel Wednesday night was the second grand slam of the season for the Gamecock first baseman and the third by a South Carolina player. Pearce homered with the bases loaded against Charleston Southern February 14 and Lanond Powell hit a grand slam in a win over Alabama on April 24. The second Pearce grand slam followed a bases loaded walk that broke a 1-1 tie in the 10th inning and resulted in a 6-1 Gamecock win.

Junior right-hander Cliff Donald worked six strong innings Wednesday night in his second start of the season but settled for a no decision. Donald allowed four hits, one earned run, walked one and struck out five against The Citadel. In his previous start also against The Citadel, Donald earned his first career win. He has pitched 33 1/3 innings in 18 appearances this year and his 1.89 earned run average is best on the pitching staff. Donald has one save.

Brendan Winn hit three home runs last weekend in the series at Auburn and one Tuesday (May 11) against North Carolina to move out front in the four man race for the 2004 South Carolina home run title. Winn had a solo homer in the 9-4 win over North Carolina, a two run homer in a 3-1 win over Auburn and homered twice and drove in four runs in a 12-11 Sunday win over Auburn. The four homers in three games increased his season total to 17. Landon Powell and Steve Pearce have 14 and Michael Campbell has homered 13 times.

Ray Tanner is in his eighth season at South Carolina and his 17th as a collegiate head baseball coach. His record with the Gamecocks is 355-148, a winning percentage of .706. Tanner’s overall record is 750-321-3 a winning percentage of .700. Tanner won his 350th game at South Carolina April 30 in the first game of a series with Ole Miss. The second game of the series at Auburn, May 8, a 3-1 victory, was the 500th South Carolina game coached by Tanner.

Sophomore shortstop Steven Tolleson has contributed the winning run batted in twice in extra inning games this season. After more than a month on the disabled list with leg injuries, Tolleson returned to the lineup during the week of April 21-25. His 10th inning RBI single April 25, produced a 1-0 win over Alabama. On March 7 at Clemson Tolleson led off the 10th inning with a home run to defeat the Tigers 8-7. South Carolina is 5-1 in extra inning games this season. A 10th inning home run by Landon Powell defeated Florida April 9 and two days later Brendan Winn drove in the winning run with a 10th inning single to defeat the Gators 7-6. A bases loaded walk followed by a grand slam from Steve Pearce produced a 10-inning 6-1 win over The Citadel.

The final home game is scheduled for Wednesday night at Wofford. Game time at Sarge Frye Field is 7 p.m. The regular season ends next weekend, May 21-23, with a three-game SEC series at Georgia. The SEC Tournament begins on May 26 at Hoover, Ala.