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May 11, 2006

Columbia, S.C. – 15th ranked South Carolina (33-16, 13-11 SEC) and Tennessee (28-20, 9-14 SEC) meet this weekend in a three-game SEC series beginning on Friday night at Sarge Frye Field. The Gamecocks and Vols will face off in two nationally televised contests. Friday’s game will be broadcast on ESPNU with first pitch set for 7 pm. Saturday’s game is on ESPN with a 12 noon start. Mark Neely and Kyle Peterson will call the action. Sunday’s game is a 1:30 first pitch with the Gamecock seniors recognized before the game. All three games are also available on the Gamecock Radio Network and with Mike Morgan and Tommy Moody on the call.

Carolina leads the series history 33-28 including four straight wins in Columbia dating back to the 2002 season. Both teams have fared well at home over the recent years with Carolina having won five straight series against the Vols at home (1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004) including a three-game sweep in 2004. Tennessee won all three games in Knoxville last year with both teams splitting two contests at the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala.

South Carolina enters the weekend tied with Georgia for second place in the Eastern Division, three games behind Kentucky. Tennessee is currently in fifth place in the Eastern Division.


South Carolina: Wynn Pelzer, RHP, So. (4-2, 2.61 ERA, 48.1 IP, 44 K, 24 BB)
Tennessee: Craig Cobb, RHP, Jr. (8-2, 2.80 ERA, 96.1 IP, 57 K, 16 BB)

South Carolina: Mike Cisco, RHP, Fr. (5-2, 3.90 ERA, 62.1 IP, 52 K, 16 BB)
Tennessee: James Adkins, LHP, So. (7-5, 4.19 ERA, 92. IP, 100 K, 33 BB)

South Carolina: Will Atwood, LHP, Fr. (3-1, 4.30 ERA, 37.2 IP, 24 K, 7 BB)
Tennessee: Josh Lindblom, RHP, Fr. (4-5, 4.26 ERA, 80.1 IP, 65 K, 23 BB)

South Carolina backed up sophomore RHP Harris Honeycutt’s longest career outing with eight runs in the seventh and eighth innings on its way to a 12-3 win over The Citadel on Tuesday evening in front of 5,351 fans at Joe Riley Park. The attendance was the third highest crowd in school history for the Citadel. The Gamecocks pounded out 13 hits in the win including a 2-for-4 performance with two doubles and three RBI from Drew Martin. Carolina snapped its four-game losing streak and is now 33-16 on the year.

Honeycutt worked 7.2 innings and struck out a career-high 11 batters to pick up the win. He is now 4-0 on the year. He allowed just three runs on six hits. Junior LHP Chase Tucker relieved Honeycutt and struck out four batters in 1.1 innings of work to finish the game for USC. Citadel senior RHP Ken Egleton suffered the loss and is now 0-3 on the year. He allowed eight runs, four earned on five hits with seven strikeouts and three walks.

Martin, Reese Havens, Cheyne Hurst and Chris Brown all had two hits on the evening for USC. It was a return to the low country and the Charleston area for several key Gamecock players including Martin (Walterboro, S.C.), Havens (Sullivan’s Island, S.C.) Justin Smoak (Goose Creek, S.C.) and Mike Cisco (Mt. Pleasant, S.C.).

South Carolina moved down in each of the four collegiate baseball rankings this week. Carolina is ranked as high as No. 15 in the Sports Weekly/ESPN poll. Carolina is also 19th in both the Baseball America Top 25 and the NCBWA Top 30 and are No. 24 in Collegiate Baseball.

When James Brown’s song “The Boss” hits the speakers at Sarge Frye Field, it means only one thing, sophomore RHP Wynn Pelzer is entering the game. Pelzer made his first start vs. an SEC team this year on Friday April 28 in the 11-5 win over the Bulldogs. Pelzer earned a win and limited MSU to two runs on five hits in 8.1 innings of work.

On the year, Pelzer is 4-2 with a 2.61 ERA as well as 44 strikeouts in 48.1 innings of work. He has allowed just 10 runs on 19 hits in nine SEC appearances (35 innings) with four wins and three saves vs. SEC teams. He is the scheduled starter for Friday.

Freshman RHP Mike Cisco had his best outing of his young career and earned SEC Pitcher of the Week in a 1-0 win over Ole Miss. Cisco worked eight innings, the longest stint of his career and allowed no runs on three hits while striking out eight batters to pick up the win.

Cisco is 5-2 with a 3.90 ERA and 52 strikeouts and just 16 walks allowed in 62.1 innings pitched. Opponents are only batting .227 against him. Four of his five wins are against SEC opponents. Cisco is the Saturday starter for the Gamecocks.

Freshman LHP Will Atwood made his first SEC start on April 30 vs. Mississippi State and finished with a no-decision. Atwood worked six innings and allowed just two runs on eight hits with four strikeouts. He also started last Sunday in a loss at Georgia.

Atwood earned a win vs. The Citadel on April 19 with 6.2 innings of four-hit ball allowing just one run. He is 3-1 on the year with a 4.30 ERA.

In only his second start of his career, Atwood worked a 5.2 innings and allowed just two runs on six hits with four strikeouts and no walk, earning a no-decision in a 3-2 loss to Clemson on April 5.

South Carolina first baseman Justin Smoak set a school record for home runs by a freshman with a pair of three-run ninth inning homers at Georgia over the weekend. Smoak has 12 homers that bested the previous record of 11 set by Drew Meyer in 2000.

Smoak earned SEC Freshman of the Week following his performance in the series against Mississippi State. Smoak was 6-for-11 (.545) in that series including a 3-for-4 performance in Friday’s 11-5 win over the Bulldogs. Smoak recorded his first multi-homer game of his career and tied his career-high in hits in the six-run win over MSU.

Smoak is the third Gamecock this season to earn an SEC weekly honor. Andrew Cruse and Mike Cisco each earned SEC Pitcher of the Week in March and April respectively. Smoak is currently batting .277 (51-for-184) on the year with 12 HR and 38 RBI as well as 11 doubles. Smoak and Michael Campbell are the only members of the Carolina baseball team to start all 49 games this year.

Freshman Andrew Crisp has been swinging the hot bat as of late with an 18-game hitting streak entering the Friday night game at Tennessee. Since it began he is batting .447 (34-for-76) with 20 runs scored, three HR and 10 RBI.

He currently leads the SEC in SEC games with a .439 batting average (29-for-66). On the season, Crisp is batting .359 with four HR and 12 RBI as well as 23 runs scored. Three of those four HR have come over the last month including a game-winner on April 14 vs. Ole Miss. His two-out RBI single in the top of the seventh inning also broke a 1-1 tie as Carolina defeated the Tigers of LSU 2-1 to sweep the series on April 2.

Senior OF Michael Campbell has been selected as the University of South Carolina 2005-06 Co-Male Athlete of the Year, announced on Monday, April 24 at the 2005-06 All Sports Banquet. Campbell earned the honors with football wide receiver Sidney Rice.

Campbell is second in the SEC in hitting in SEC games with a .416 average (42-for-101) along with four HR, 24 runs scored and 25 RBI in 24 conference games. Campbell this season is batting .358 with four HR and 43 RBI along with a team-high 69 hits.

Campbell has set a school career record for at-bats, passing Mac White (1991-94) and now in first place with a total of 934. Campbell moved past Drew Meyer (2000-02) and is in second place on the career hits list at USC with 292 in his career. He is 11 shy of the school record set by White (303). Campbell also had inched closer to Landon Powell’s (2001-04) games played record. Campbell has played 249 career games with the Gamecocks and is two short of Powell’s record of 251 games. Campbell is the most experienced player in Division I baseball with 249 games under his belt as well as 242 starts.

In addition, his assist from the outfield in a win over Clemson set a new Carolina school record for assists by an outfielder. He has three on the season and 22 in his career. The previous record was 20 held by Paul Hollins (1978-81).

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.  249 Michael Campbell   2003-04-05-06
At Bats1. 934 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-06 SCHOOL RECORD
Hits (200 or more)1. 303 Mac White 1991-92-93-942. 292 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-06
One Base Hits1. 209 Drew Meyer 2000-01-022. 198 Mac White 1991-92-93-943. 197 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-06
Two Base Hits1. 67 Mac White 1991-92-93-942. 61 Landon Powell 2001-02-03-043. 53 Greg Morhardt 1982-83-844. 52 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-06
Three Base Hits1. 12 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-06 SCHOOL RECORD1. 12 Mac White 1991-92-93-941. 12 Bill Harley 1930-31-32
Runs Batted In1. 198 Mac White 1991-92-93-941. 198 Chris Boyle 1981-82-83-843. 193 Landon Powell 2001-02-03-044. 184 Hank Small 1972-73-74-755. 182 Jeff Parnell 1990-91-92-936. 180 Derick Urquhart 1995-96-97-986. 180 Ryan Bordenick 1995-96-97-988. 169 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-06
Runs Scored1. 223 Derick Urquhart 1995-96-97-982. 215 Mike Curry 1996-97-983. 212 Drew Meyer 2000-01-024. 209 Mac White 1991-92-93-945. 182 Jeff Parnell 1990-91-92-936. 176 Landon Powell 2001-02-03-047. 174 Garrett Carter 1985-86-87-888. 173 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-06

Junior OF Jon Willard has had a clutch bat as of late with three-run homers popping up all over the place. Four times this season including three times in the last three weeks, Willard has hit a three-run homer to ignite a Gamecock rally.

The three-run binge began at Kentucky on April 21 as part of a seven-run eighth inning that saw Willard’s two-out three-run homer tie the game and send it into extra innings. Willard’s heroics came up in the Sunday rubber game vs. Mississippi State on April 30. With two outs and the Gamecocks down by three runs in the 11th inning, Willard hit the first pitch over the right field wall to tie the game and set up the eventual game-winning homer from Michael Campbell. Willard continued his tear on May 3 with a three-run blast at Wofford.

South Carolina saw its phenomenal streak of error-less games end at 13 games on Sunday, April 16 when USC freshman second baseman James Darnell misplayed a ground ball in the third inning vs. Ole Miss.

The Gamecocks had handled 507 consecutive defensive chances, 370 putouts and 137 assists before committing their 17th error in 37 games. The errorless span covered 123 1/3 innings.

South Carolina is second in the nation with a .981 fielding percentage (1328 putouts, 454 assists, 35 errors). South Carolina has played 27 out of 49 error-less games.

South Carolina sophomore catcher Trent Kline has swung the bat well in the last few weeks at the plate. Kline is batting .343 (37-for-108) on the year and has started 27 games behind the dish, splitting time with senior catcher Ian Paxton. Kline tied a season-high with three hits including his team-high third triple with two RBI in Saturday’s 7-5 loss at Georgia.

Three of Kline’s four homers this year have come against SEC oppoents. His SEC batting average is .375 (21-for-56).

Despite being hampered with a back injury, Senior INF Chris Brown has been productive offensively with a season batting average at .370 (37-for-100) with 29 runs scored.

Brown returned to the lineup on April 30 at Mississippi State and has continued to contribute as he leads the team in hitting. Brown has also been providing a strong bat with a pair of homers in the last four games; one at Georgia (5/5) and one at Citadel (5/9).

Brown had a stellar week at the plate in the SEC opening series at Auburn as well as he went .526 (10-for-19) in five games with five RBI and seven runs scored. Brown was 4-for-5, tying his career-high in hits in the 7-3 win vs. the Tigers. He also had three hits in the 12-8 SEC opener vs. Auburn.

Freshman shortstop Reese Havens has been productive at the plate as of late and is batting .285 (51-for-179) with a team-high 12 doubles. He hit a two-run homer in a 11-5 win vs. Mississippi State. Havens tied a season-high with three hits and a homer vs. The Citadel and a had a season-high three RBI in Saturday’s loss vs. Kentucky. He also had three hits including a game-winning RBI double in a 12-inning contest against Alabama.

The freshman from Sullivan’s Island, S.C. has fielded .969 (63 putouts, 126 assists, six errors) in his first year at shortstop for Carolina.

Junior OF Robbie Grinestaff leads the team in several offensive categories including home runs (13), and RBI (45). He is batting .271 (45-for-166) with a slugging percentage of .554. He has twice had two-homer games on the year.

Senior INF Neil Giesler saw his hitting streak end at 20 games on April 2 at LSU. Throughout that 20-game hitting streak, Giesler batted .494 (40-for-81) with two HR and 23 RBI.

On the year, Giesler is batting .358 with three HR and 32 RBI. He has hit safely in a majority of games played and has 19 mutli-hit games.

Before coming to Carolina, both Neil Giesler and Robbie Grinestaff were teammates in 2004 at Okaloosa-Walton JC in Florida. Giesler is in his second year with the Gamecocks with Grinestaff in his first season as a member of the garnet & black.

Cheyne Hurst has provided a steady bat atop the Carolina lineup this year. Hurst is batting .305 (51-for-167) with nine doubles to go along with three HR and 26 RBI. He has been the leadoff hitter in 40 of 49 games played.

Hurst was 3-for-5 with a grand slam, three runs and five RBI in the 21-4 win over Florida. His five RBI against Florida is tied for the most by a Gamecock player in a game this year.

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.

Hurst and Trent Kline were also both teammates last year at St. Petersburg JC in Florida. Their team won the FCCAA junior college state title in 2005.

Sophomore RHP Andrew Cruse has been steady in relief for USC with a 4-3 record on the year and a 3.05 ERA in 44.1 innings pitched to go along with 41 strikeouts and just 17 walks.

He earned his first save of the year with 1.1 shutout innings of work in the 4-1 win over the Gators. Cruse earned SEC Pitcher of the Week following his performance vs. Clemson. It marked Cruse’s longest outing of his career at USC with 5.2 scoreless innings of relief. He also struck out a career-high seven batters and yielded just one walk and three hits.