March 2, 2006
Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina and Clemson renew their historic rivalry this weekend with home-and-home games on Saturday (March 4) and Sunday (March 5). Carolina will host the Tigers in the first game with first pitch set for 1:30 pm at Sarge Frye Field. Saturday’s game at Sarge Frye Field is sold out. USC will then travel for their road game of the season on Sunday to Doug Kingsmore Stadium, where first pitch is scheduled for 2 pm. The game features two top 10 teams with the Gamecocks heading into the matchup ranked as high as No. 9 in the country and Clemson ranked No. 1 in two college baseball polls.
Live audio broadcast and live gametracker stats will be available at uscsports.com along with a live video feed for Saturday’s home game. Saturday’s game will also be broadcast on 1320 AM (WISW-Columbia) with Tommy Moody and Trey Dyson calling the action. The Gamecock Radio Network will join the game in broadcast following the conclusion of the USC-Auburn men’s basketball game. Sunday’s game will be broadcast on the Gamecock Radio Network including the flagship stations in Columbia, 103.1 FM (WOMG) and 1320 AM (WISW). Tommy Moody and Tom Price will call the action for Sunday’s contest at Clemson.
South Carolina: Arik Hempy, LHP, Jr. (0-1, 0.00 ERA, 8.0 IP, 10 K, 1 BB)
Clemson: Jason Berken, RHP, Jr. (2-0, 0.00 ERA, 9.0 IP, 12 K, 1 BB)
Sunday South Carolina:
Forrest Beverly, LHP, Jr. (3-0, 3.38 ERA, 16.0 IP, 19 K, 1 BB)
Clemson: Stephen Faris, RHP, Jr. (1-0, 0.00 ERA, 11.2 IP, 11 K, 3 BB)
The series between the two teams has been very tight recently with Carolina holding a slight edge of 13-11 in games played between the two schools since the 2000 season. The Gamecocks and Tigers have split the four contests played in each of the last two seasons with USC winning the first two games of the year and Clemson coming back to take victories in the mid-week Wednesday night games played in April. South Carolina defeated Clemson 6-3 (March 12) and 6-5 (March 13) with Clemson earning 12-2 (April 13) and 7-5 (April 20) victories.
USC and Clemson first met on the diamond on May 12, 1899 when Clemson earned a 21-8 victory in Charleston, S.C. The teams have played 271 times with Clemson leading the series history 159-110-2.
SOUTH CAROLINA IN THE RANKINGS
South Carolina moved up in all four rankings this week including four spots in this week’s Baseball America rankings to No. 9. USC is also ranked No. 12 in the Sports Weekly/ABCA coaches poll, No. 15 by Collegiate Baseball and No. 19 in the NCBWA Top 30.
AT THE PLATE
South Carolina had its most successful weekend at the plate this past weekend vs. Duquesne as the team finished with a series batting average of .355 (39-for-110). South Carolina had a season-high 15 runs scored and 16 hits in Friday’s 15-0 victory.
GRINESTAFF CONTINUES TO DELIVER A POP
After three weeks of play, Robbie Grinestaff has contributed with a solid bat in the lineup. He is currently batting .286 on the season with an SEC-high four HR and 14 RBI. The junior designated hitter had a pair of three-run homers in both the 15-0 and 6-3 wins over Duquesne this past weekend. He finished the series with a .455 batting average (5-for-11) and scored a team-high six runs in the weekend series and also had a team-high seven RBI as the Gamecocks swept the Dukes. He was a perfect 3-for-3 with three RBI in the 15-0 victory.
Freshman first baseman Justin Smoak had his best weekend of his young career at Carolina. Smoak went 3-for-3 with two doubles, one homer and five RBI in the 12-4 win. He became the first USC player this season to have multiple doubles in a game and tied a USC individual high on the year with four runs scored and five RBI in the victory. Smoak has reached base seven consecutive times heading into the Clemson series with five hits and two walks. Smoak raised his season batting average 0.70 points this weekend to .333.
GIESLER HITS HIS STRIDE
Senior infielder Neil Giesler leads Carolina in hitting after his 4-for-4 performance with four runs scored in Friday’s 15-0 win. Giesler on the season is batting .462 (12-for-26) with two HR and five RBI as well as a team-high nine runs scored. His batting average currently ranks him second in the SEC. He has hit safely for USC in six of seven games this year.
CAROLINA ON THE MOUND
Along with its best hitting series of the season vs. the Dukes, the USC pitchers continued their success on the mound. Carolina recorded the third shutout of the year on Friday and finished the weekend allowing just seven runs on 16 hits in 27 innings pitched while striking out 31 batters and walking six. Through the first nine games of the year, Carolina’s pitching staff has a team ERA of 1.63 in 83 innings pitched with just 47 hits allowed while striking out 91 batters and yielding 20 walks.
BEVERLY BRIGHTENS UP SUNDAY
Senior LHP Forrest Beverly won his third consecutive Sunday start to improve to 3-0 on the year. Beverly worked five innings and allowed three runs on six hits with seven strikeouts and no walks allowed to earn the victory. Beverly’s seven strikeouts tied his career-high set last year vs. Longwood. Beverly is 3-0 on the year with a 3.38 ERA and 19 strikeouts and just one walk allowed in 16 innings pitched. He leads the team in wins, strikeouts and innings pitched.
LAMBERT COMES UP IN THE MIDDLE AGAIN
Senior RHP Andy Lambert won his second straight game in middle relief with two innings of work picking up the ball from Saturday’s suspended game on Sunday as USC defeated the Dukes 6-3.
VALDES-FAULI CLOSES THE DOOR
Senior RHP Shawn Valdes-Fauli came on in the ninth inning of the suspended South Carolina-Duquesne game to pick up his third save of the year. Valdes-Fauli saw his streak of 14 consecutive batters retired snapped when Duquesne picked up a two-out single in the ninth inning. Valdes-Fauli, however, was able to get the third out to seal the win and has now hurled five scoreless innings for Carolina in four appearances.
THE CISCO KID
Freshman RHP Mike Cisco also has a scoreless inning streak and has allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out nine batters in eight innings pitched Cisco hurled three scoreless innings in his first career start on Friday.
CAMPBELL CONTINUES HIS CLIMB UP THE CHARTS
Senior outfielder Michael Campbell also had his best weekend of the year batting .364 with six RBI vs. the Dukes. Campbell continued his move up the USC All-Time list as he moved into a tie for sixth place in games played with 209 in his career, tying with Drew Meyer (2000-01-02) and Garrett Carter (1985-86-87-88).
With an assist from the outfield vs. Elon (2/12/06), Campbell tied Paul Hollins (1978-81) for the USC record for career assists by an outfielder with 20. The iron man at Carolina, Campbell has now made 188 consecutive starts in the outfield going back to his freshman season.
Campbell is the most experienced player in Division I baseball with 209 games under his belt as well as 202 starts. Campbell is the leading returnee for Carolina in several offensive categories including batting average (.315), games played (64), at-bats (251), runs (56), hits (79), doubles (16), triples (5), home runs (8), runs batted in (42), slugging percentage (.514), hit by pitch (10) and stolen bases (8).
TRACKING Michael CampbellGames Played1. 251 Landon Powell 2001-02-03-042. 236 Mac White 1991-92-93-943. 223 Jeff Parnell 1990-91-92-934. 221 Trey Dyson 1999-00-01-025. 217 Derick Urquhart 1995-96-97-986. 209 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-066. 209 Drew Meyer 2000-01-026. 209 Garrett Carter 1985-86-87-88
At Bats1. 903 Mac White 1991-92-93-942. 866 Landon Powell 2001-02-03-043. 864 Drew Meyer 2000-01-024. 799 Derick Urquhart 1995-96-97-985. 772 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05
Hits (200 or more)1. 303 Mac White 1991-92-93-942. 285 Drew Meyer 2000-01-023. 265 Landon Powell 2001-02-03-044. 265 Derick Urquhart 1995-96-97-985. 250 Mike Curry 1996-97-986. 245 Hank Small 1972-73-74-757. 231 Dave Willman 1989-90-91-928. 230 Skeets Thomas 1988-89-909. 229 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05
Three Base Hits1. 12 Mac White 1991-92-93-941. 12 Bill Harley 1930-31-323. 11 Mike Curry 1996-97-984. 10 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05
FLASHING THE GLOVE
The South Carolina defense came away with an errorless game in Sunday’s 12-4 win. USC leads the SEC with a fielding percentage of .982 after nine games. USC has been error-free on the field in five of nine games this year.
SAY GOODBYE TO FEBRUARY
South Carolina finishes the month of February with an 8-1 record … Dating back to the 2000 season, Carolina is now 67-2 (.971) in games played in the month of February. The only two losses in February came on Feb. 8, 2003 when Charleston Southern defeated USC 8-5 and Feb. 11, 2006, a 2-1 loss to Elon.
PELZER GETS OFF TO GOOD START
Sophomore RHP Wynn Pelzer made two consecutive starts on the mound for USC against Radford and Duquesne. Pelzer has yielded just one run and five hits in 8.2 innings pitched with 12 strikeouts and just three walks for a 1.04 ERA. Pelzer was listed as the top collegiate prospect in the Coastal Plains League this summer by Baseball America.
HURST LEADS THE WAY
Carolina’s leadoff hitter for eight of the first nine games, junior OF Cheyne Hurst is off to a fast start with hits in seven of nine contests on the year. He has the team’s second highest batting average at .394 (13-for-33) and has also scored eight runs. Hurst hit his first career homer, a two-run shot, in last Friday’s 15-0 win over Duquesne.
Hurst got off to a great start in his first career game at Carolina with a 5-for-6 performance in the 5-4 victory vs. Elon. Hurst was the first player since Steve Pearce last year vs. Niagara (2-26-05) to have five hits in one game.
The Clemson Tigers enter the week with a 5-1 record and ranked No. 1 in the nation by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball. Clemson swept its opening series with James Madison and took two of three games against Mercer. The Tigers will play at College of Charleston on Friday night (March 3) before the two games against the Gamecocks.
The Clemson pitching staff is led by junior RHP Jason Berken, who is 2-0 with a 0.00 ERA in nine innings pitched. Berken has struck out 12 batters and yielded just one walk and seven hits in his first two appearances of the year. Also making starts for Clemson in their first two series of the year was junior RHP Stephen Faris and senior RHP Josh Cribb. Faris owns a 1-0 record with a 0.00 ERA in 11.2 innings to go along with 11 strikeouts and three walks and five hits allowed. Cribb is 2-0 with a 1.64 ERA in 11 innings pitched. He has struck out nine batters and walked one with seven hits allowed.
The Tigers offense is led by junior outfielder Tyler Colvin, who is batting .450 (9-for-20) in six games played with four HR and six RBI. Senior third baseman Herman Demmink is hitting .364 (8-for-22) with sophomore outfielder Brad Chalk at a .333 (6-for-18) clip. Sophomore second baseman Taylor Harbin has been bothered by an injury early in the year and has only played in one of the first six games. Harbin earned All-ACC honors and was a freshman All-America selection in 2005.