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March 9, 2006

Columbia, S.C. – Ninth ranked South Carolina continues its home stretch with a three-game series vs. Quinnipiac this weekend. Carolina owns a 10-2 record with Quinnipiac opening up it’s season this weekend at Sarge Frye Field. Live audio and live gametracker stats will be available for all three games at First pitch for Friday’s opener is set for 7 p.m. Saturday’s contest begins at 4 p.m. with the Sunday finale scheduled for 1:30 p.m.

Carolina is in a stretch of six non-conference games in nine days before heading on the road next weekend to begin the SEC season at Auburn. USC follows up its three-game set vs. Quinnipiac when it takes on Davidson and Yale in midweek games on March 14 and March 15. Carolina opened the stretch with an 8-1 win over William & Mary.

This is the first meeting between South Carolina and Quinnipiac. The Bobcats were Northeast Conference champions in 2005 and earned a NCAA Regional berth in Austin, Texas last year. They are coached by Dan Gooley, who is a 1969 graduate of the school.

South Carolina: Arik Hempy, LHP, Jr. (0-1, 1.59 ERA, 11.1 IP, 14 K, 4 BB)
Quinnipiac: Chris Wakefield, RHP, Sr.

South Carolina: Mike Cisco, RHP, Fr. (0-0, 0.00 ERA, 8.2, IP, 9 K, 2 BB)
Quinnipiac: Chris Gloor, LHP, Fr.

South Carolina: Forrest Beverly, LHP, Jr. (3-0, 3.48 ERA, 20.2 IP, 20 K, 1 BB) Quinnipiac: Ryan Walfield, RHP, Fr.

Quinnipiac assistant coach Dan Scarpa returns to South Carolina on this weekend, though this time it is in the opposing dugout. Scarpa lettered in the 1960’s as a member of the Gamecock baseball team and was a three-time All-ACC performer as a catcher from 1965-1967. Scarpa led the 1966 team in doubles and both the 1965 and 1966 teams in runs batted in.

There is also another Carolina connection on the Quinnipiac coaching staff with assistant coach Joe Tonelli Jr. Tonelli is the son of Joe Tonelli Sr. (1964-66), who was a teammate of Scarpa for two seasons at USC.

The Top 10 showdown between South Carolina and Clemson lived up to it’s billing with the two teams splitting a pair of games this past weekend. Carolina earned a 6-2 victory at home on Saturday (March 4) and fell to the Tigers 6-4 on Sunday (March 5). One of the 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).

South Carolina remained at No. 9 in this week’s Baseball America Top 25 and moved up six spots to No. 9 in the latest Collegiate Baseball poll. USC also moved up to No. 11 in the ESPN/Sports Weekly coaches poll and No. 15 in the NCBWA Top 30.

Sophomore RHP Andrew Cruse is the SEC Pitcher of the Week following his performance over the weekend vs. Clemson. The Cornelius, N.C. native pitched 5.2 scoreless innings of relief sparking the Gamecocks to a 6-2 victory over the Tigers. It marked Cruse’s longest outing of his career at USC. He also struck out a career-high seven batters and yielded just one walk and three hits to improve to 2-0 on the year. Cruse ranks fourth in the SEC in earned run average with a 0.68 mark. He has pitched 13.1 innings and has 15 strikeouts with just one walk and teams are just batting .176 against him.

The Carolina pitching staff has been stellar in the first 12 games of the year with a team ERA of 1.90, as well as 120 strikeouts and just 27 walks in 109 innings pitched. The ERA is second best in the conference. Opponents are just batting .189 against the Gamecocks with just 73 hits allowed. USC used six pitchers in Tuesday’s win over William & Mary and in the process struck out a season-high 15 batters.

Senior INF Neil Giesler has the hottest bat for Carolina as he leads the team and the SEC with a .514 batting average (19-for-37). Giesler went 4-for-5 with two doubles and two RBI in Tuesday’s win over the Tribe. He has a current five-game hit streak and has hit safely in nine of 10 games played. Giesler has two HR and eight RBI on the year to go along with a team-high 12 runs scored and 19 hits. He hit 3-for-6 in the Clemson series with an RBI.

Junior OF Cheyne Hurst was 3-for-4 with two doubles, two runs scored and three RBI in the 8-1 win over William & Mary on Tuesday night.. Carolina’s leadoff hitter in 11 of the first 12 games, Hurst is hitting .395 (17-for-43) this season, the second highest average on the team.

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.

Junior DH Robbie Grinestaff continued his stellar performance at the plate as he hit a two-run HR in the 6-2 win over Clemson. Grinestaff is batting .279 with a team-high and a SEC-high five homers and 16 RBI on the year.

Grinestaff didn’t have a chance to do much hitting vs. William & Mary as he walked four times in the Carolina win, tying a school record for walks by an individual player in a single game.

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.

In addition, his assist from the outfield in the win over Clemson set a new Carolina school record for assists by an outfielder with 21 in his career. Campbell bests the previous record of 20 set by Paul Hollins (1978-81). Campbell has two assists from the outfield this year.

The iron man at Carolina, Campbell has now made 191 consecutive starts in the outfield going back to his freshman season.

Campbell is the most experienced player in Division I baseball with 212 games under his belt as well as 205 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 Campbell

Games 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.  212 Michael Campbell   2003-04-05-06
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. 779 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 1989-90-91-927. 231 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

The Quinnipiac Bobcats begin their 2006 season this weekend at Sarge Frye Field. Quinnipiac comes into the year, defending champions of the Northeast Conference and winners of a NCAA tournament berth in 2005 that sent them to Austin, Texas. This year the Bobcats were selected second in the 2006 NEC preseason coaches poll. They are Baseball America’s choice to finish first in the NEC this season.

Despite the loss of 2005 NEC Player of the Year, Bryan Sabatella, Quinnipiac returns three of its four top hitters from last year including junior outfielder Tim Binkoski, a left-handed bat, who hit .340 in 47 games with four HR and 30 RBI. Binkoski was a preseason all-conference selection by Baseball America. Also back is junior infielder Wilson Matos, a .333 hitter last year with five HR and 32 RBI. Junior outfielder Ryan Rizzo also was a team leader last season at a .319 batting clip as well as five HR and 34 RBI.

On the mound, Quinnipiac returns two of three starters with 6-8 senior RHP Pat Egan back on the hill for the Bobcats. Egan pitched a team-high 76.1 innings, threw six complete games, and compiled a 7-5 record with a 4.83 ERA. Egan struck out 52 batters and walked 32 on the year. Senior RHP Chris Wakefield also put together a winning season with a 6-2 record. Wakefield had an ERA of 3.64, hurled five complete games including two shutouts and struck out 56 with 38 walks in 66.2 innings pitched.

Head coach Dan Gooley is in his 16th year at Quinnipiac and his 21st year overall as a head coach. Gooley enters the season with a 382-310-6 career record. Gooley also coached five years at Hartford (1988-1992). Gooley has coached several top players including current Major Leaguers, Jeff Bagwell (Hartford) and Turk Wendell (Quinnipiac). Gooley played at Quinnipiac as a pitcher form 1967-70 and is the career strikeout leader (316) as well as ranking second in wins (20) and earned run average (2.47).