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March 6, 2006

Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina baseball returns to action on Tuesday evening (March 7) with a non-conference tilt vs. William and Mary with first pitch set for 7 p.m. at Sarge Frye Field. Carolina is coming off a split this weekend in a two-game set with Clemson. Fresh off his performance this weekend vs. the Tigers, sophomore RHP Andrew Cruse has been named SEC Pitcher of the Week. Cruse hurled 5.2 scoreless innings of relief with seven strikeouts in the 6-2 win over Clemson on Saturday (March 4). Carolina remains ranked No. 9 in this week’s Baseball America Top 25 and moved up to No. 9 in the Collegiate Baseball Rankings. Live audio and live gametracker stats for Tuesday’s contest with the Tribe will be available at South Carolina enters with a 9-2 record while William & Mary comes into the matchup with a 5-7 mark.

Cruse is the first Carolina player to be honored by the SEC since Zac McCamie last year (April 11, 2005). The 5.2 innings pitched marked the longest outing of Cruse’s career here at USC as well as a career best seven strikeouts. He allowed just three hits and one walk to spark the Gamecock victory.

South Carolina: Harris Honeycutt (RHP, So., 0-0, 6.75 ERA)
William & Mary: Michael LaFleur (LHP, Jr., 1-0, 5.40 ERA)

Record: 9-2
SEC Record: 0-0
9-1 in home games
0-1 in road games
0-0 in neutral games
1-1 vs. top 25 teams

Last Week: 1-1
Saturday – 3/4 vs. #1 Clemson – W, 6-2
Sunday – 3/5 at #1 Clemson – L, 6-4

South Carolina is now 9-2 after this weekend’s game against in-state rival Clemson … Carolina split its weekend series with Clemson with a 6-2 victory at home on Saturday (March 4) and a 6-4 loss on Sunday (March 5) … One of the most historic rivalries in all of college baseball, it has been tight between the Gamecocks and Tigers over the last six years, with USC holding a slight edge of 14-12 since the 2000 season … Both teams will meet two more times on April 5 (at Columbia) and April 12 (at Clemson)

Sophomore RHP Andrew Cruse is 2-0 on the year with a 0.68 ERA and 15 strikeouts with just one walk allowed in 13.1 innings pitched … The Carolina pitching staff has been stellar in the first 11 games of the year with a team ERA of 1.98, as well as 105 strikeouts and just 26 walks in 100 innings pitched … Opponents are just batting .184 against the Gamecocks with just 65 hits allowed.

Junior DH Robbie Grinestaff hit a two-run HR in the 6-2 win over Clemson … Grinestaff owns a six-game hitting streak and is batting .286 with a team-high and a SEC-high five homers and 16 RBI on the year.

Junior OF Cheyne Hurst added two RBI in the Saturday victory … Hurst is hitting .359 this season, the second highest average.

Senior INF Neil Giesler has been the hottest bat for Carolina as he leads the team and the SEC with a .469 batting average (15-for-32) … He has a current four-game hit streak and has hit safely in eight of nine games played … Giesler also has two HR and six RBI to go along with a team-high 11 runs scored and 15 hits … He hit 3-for-6 in the Clemson series with an RBI.

Senior OF Michael Campbell continued his climb up the USC All-Time Charts … Campbell tied Dave Willman (1989-90-91-92) and passed Skeets Thomas (1988-89-90) on the career list with hits … Campbell is now tied for seventh place with 231 career hits.

Freshman 1B Justin Smoak had a two-run double in the first inning of Sunday’s game vs. the Tigers … Smoak is batting .306 this season with one HR and nine RBI as well as a team-high five doubles.

Tuesday – 3/7 vs. William & Mary – 7 pm
Friday – 3/10 vs. Quinnipiac – 7 pm
Saturday – 3/11 vs. Quinnipiac – 4 pm
Sunday – 3/12 vs. Quinnipiac – 1:30 pm