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May 17, 2006

Columbia, S.C. – The SEC season concludes this weekend with the final three-game series of the year as 17th ranked South Carolina (35-18, 14-13 SEC) meets Vanderbilt (31-22, 14-13 SEC) beginning on Thursday night at 6 pm CT at Hawkins Field. Friday’s game is also scheduled for 6 pm CT and will be televised on CSS-TV. The Saturday game will be a 1 pm CT start. Both teams enter the weekend tied for third place in the SEC Eastern Division.

The Gamecocks and Commodores can clinch a spot in the SEC Tournament either with one win or two of these three SEC teams losing one game (LSU, Mississippi State, and Tennessee). Vanderbilt won just its second series ever against the Gamecocks last year in Columbia when the Commodores took two of three games with 11-3 and 2-1 wins at Sarge Frye Field. Carolina won the Sunday game 7-4 against Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks lead the series history 37-9 with head coach Ray Tanner 25-4 against Vandy. USC won two of three games in 2004 against Vanderbilt, the last time both teams met in Nashville, Tenn.

South Carolina: Wynn Pelzer, RHP, So. (4-3, 2.98 ERA, 57.1 IP, 50 K, 26 BB)
Vanderbilt: Matt Buschmann, RHP, Sr. (4-4, 4.02 ERA, 71.2 IP, 64 K, 23 BB)

South Carolina: Mike Cisco, RHP, Fr. (5-3, 4.14 ERA, 67.1 IP, 60 K, 18 BB)
Vanderbilt David Price, LHP, So. (7-4, 3.90 ERA, 90 IP, 130 K, 31 BB)

South Carolina: Will Atwood, LHP, Fr. (4-1, 4.19 ERA, 43 IP, 29 K, 7 BB)
Vanderbilt: Ty Davis, RHP, So. (5-4, 3.98 ERA, 54.1 IP, 52 K, 22 BB)

South Carolina collected a season-high nine extra base hits including a grand slam homer from Robbie Grinestaff and three doubles from Justin Smoak on its way to a 15-12 victory over Furman on Tuesday evening at West End Field in Greenville, S.C. The game was played in front of 6,155 fans. Smoak’s three doubles tied a Carolina single-game record and Grinestaff finished with five RBI for the third time this season as the Gamecocks belted out 15 hits on the evening.

Grinestaff and Smoak each finished with three hits on the evening. Michael Campbell was 2-for-2 but reached base all five times at the plate and scored an individual high five runs for the Gamecocks, one short of the USC single-game record. Neil Giesler was 2-for-4 with three RBI and James Darnell 2-for-4 with two RBI. Reese Havens also added two hits.

South Carolina is ranked in three of the four collegiate baseball rankings this week. Carolina is ranked as high as No. 17 in the Sports Weekly/ESPN poll. Carolina is also 22nd in the NCBWA Top 30 and are No. 26 in Collegiate Baseball Top 30.

South Carolina enters the final week of the regular season leading the SEC in hitting in both the all games and conference games categories. Carolina’s season average of .314 (591-for-1885) leads in all games played among the 12 conference teams and the team’s .317 (309-for-976) clip is the best in 27 conference games played. Both Michael Campbell and Neil Giesler are among the league leaders in hitting with Campbell batting .359 and Giesler batting .355 this year. Andrew Crisp leads hitting in SEC games with a .413 average.

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. The sophomore right-hander also is one of 20 players to be invited to the USA Baseball National Team Trials to be held June 22-July 1 in exhibition games played against teams in the New England Collegiate League. The USA Baseball National Team will be selected from a pool of 36 players, of which an additional 16 have yet to be determined. The official 22-man team roster will be announced on July 2. Head coach for this year’s national team is Tim Corbin of Vanderbilt.

Pelzer hurled his first career complete game in a 5-4 loss to Tennessee on Friday night. He 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 4-3 with a 2.98 ERA as well as 50 strikeouts in 57.1 innings of work. He is the toughest pitcher to hit in the SEC as opposing teams are batting just .188 on the year against him. He has allowed just 15 runs on 29 hits in 10 SEC appearances (44 innings) with four wins and three saves vs. SEC teams. Pelzer is the scheduled starter for Carolina on Thursday night.

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 5-3 with a 4.14 ERA and 60 strikeouts and just 18 walks allowed in 67.1 innings pitched. Opponents are only batting .235 against him. Four of his five wins are against SEC opponents. Cisco is the scheduled starter for Friday night.

Freshman LHP Will Atwood earned his first SEC win with a quality start last Sunday in a 9-2 win vs. Tennessee. Atwood took a shutout into the sixth inning and limited the Vols to two runs on four hits while tying a career-high with five strkeouts.

He 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.

On the season, Atwood is 4-1 with a 4.19 ERA in 12 appearances with 43 innings of work. 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. Atwood is the scheduled starter for Saturday night.

South Carolina first baseman Justin Smoak is on a tear as of late and has raised his season batting average to .301 (59-for-196) with 13 HR and 46 RBI. His three-double performance vs. Furman tied a USC single-game record. He set a school record for home runs by a freshman with a pair of three-run ninth inning homers at Georgia over the weekend. He also hit a solo homer in Saturday’s loss vs. Tennesee. Smoak has 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 and Michael Campbell are the only members of the Carolina baseball team to start all 53 games this year.

Freshman Andrew Crisp has been swinging the hot bat as of late and leads the SEC in conference games with a .413 batting average (33-for-80). On the season he is hitting .333 (41-for-123) with 24 runs scored, four homers and 14 RBI. His 19-game hitting streak ended on Saturday vs. Tennessee.

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 .402 average (45-for-112) along with four HR, 25 runs scored and 30 RBI in 27 conference games. Campbell this season is batting .359 with four HR and 48 RBI along with a team-high 74 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 945. He also set the games played record on Sunday vs. Tennessee in his 252nd career game. Campbell moved past Drew Meyer (2000-02) and is in second place on the career hits list at USC with 297 in his career. He is six shy of the school record set by White (303). Campbell is the most experienced player in Division I baseball with 253 games under his belt as well as 246 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), and slugging percentage (.514).

TRACKING Michael CampbellGames Played1.  253 Michael Campbell   2003-04-05-06       SCHOOL RECORD
At Bats1. 947 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-06 SCHOOL RECORD
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
Hits (200 or more)1. 303 Mac White 1991-92-93-942. 297 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-06
One Base Hits1. 209 Drew Meyer 2000-01-022. 200 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-06
Two Base Hits1. 67 Mac White 1991-92-93-942. 61 Landon Powell 2001-02-03-043. 54 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. 179 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-06Runs 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. 174 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-06

For the third time this season, junior DH Robbie Grinestaff had five RBI in one game as USC defeated Furman 15-12. Grinestaff hit a grand slam homer and added a triple to help the lead the Gamecocks in Tuesday’s win. Junior OF Robbie Grinestaff leads the team in several offensive categories including home runs (14), and RBI (50). He is batting .284 (50-for-176) with a slugging percentage of .580. He has twice had two-homer games on the year.