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May 23, 2006

Hoover, Ala. – South Carolina begins SEC Tournament action on Wednesday morning (May 24) as the Gamecocks battle the Kentucky Wildcats in the opening game with first pitch set for 10 am CT at the Hoover Met. Carolina heads into this week’s tournament as the No. 7 seed with a 36-20 mark and after finishing in fourth place in the SEC Eastern Division with a 15-15 conference record. Kentucky earned a share of the SEC championship with Alabama and is the No. 2 seed with a 42-13 record, 20-10 in the SEC. South Carolina and Kentucky met three times in late April with the Wildcats sweeping the series against the Gamecocks. Kentucky earned wins of 10-9 (11 innings), 15-12 and 12-9 and rallied in the final two games of the series from six runs down to defeat Carolina.

Live audio broadcast is available at and on the Gamecock Radio Network with Mike Morgan and Tom Price calling the action.

Carolina Starting Pitcher
RHP Mike Cisco (Fr.) 5-4, 4.19 ERA, 68.2 IP, 62 K, 18 BB

2006 Tournament BracketWednesday, May 24Game 1 10:00 a.m. #7 South Carolina vs. #2 Kentucky [CSS]Game 2 1:00 p.m. #6 Vanderbilt vs. #3 Georgia [CSS]Game 3 5:00 p.m. #8 LSU vs. #1 Alabama [CSS]Game 4 8:00 p.m. #5 Ole Miss vs. #4 Arkansas [CSS]Thursday, May 25Game 5 10:00 a.m. Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2 [CSS]Game 6 1:00 p.m. Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4 [CSS]Game 7 5:00 p.m. Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2 [CSS]Game 8 8:00 p.m. Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4 [CSS]Friday, May 26Game 9 3:00 p.m. Winner Game 5 vs. Loser Game 7 [FSN]Game 10 6:30 p.m. Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 8 [FSN]Saturday, May 27Game 11 10:00 a.m. Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 9 [FSN]Game 12 1:30 p.m. Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 10 [FSN]Game 13* 5:00 p.m. Winner Game 11 vs. Loser Game 11 [CSS]Game 14* 8:30 p.m. Winner Game 12 vs. Loser Game 12 [CSS]Sunday, May 28Game 15* 3:00 p.m. Winner Game 13 vs. Winner Game 14 [FSN] *

South Carolina won one of three games last week in the final regular season SEC series against Vanderbilt. Carolina lost 8-7 and 10-6 in the first two games before defeating the Commodores 6-3 in the final game of the series.

South Carolina finished the regular season leading the SEC in hitting in both the all games and conference games categories. Carolina’s season average of .312 (619-for-1986) leads in all games played among the 12 conference teams and the team’s .313 (337-for-1077) clip is the best in the 30 conference games played. Michael Campbell finished the conference games as the SEC leader in hitting with a .409 average (47-for-115) with Andrew Crisp also in the top 10 with a .383 average (36-for-94).

Seven different South Carolina players have earned SEC conference honors including senior outfielder Michael Campbell, who was named to the All-SEC first team by a vote of the league’s 12 head baseball coaches. Freshman shortstop Reese Havens, junior designated hitter Robbie Grinestaff and sophomore pitcher Wynn Pelzer earned second team All-SEC honors. Carolina also had three freshmen named to the All-Freshman Team (Justin Smoak (1B), Andrew Crisp (OF) and Mike Cisco (RHP). The seven players was the most representation of all the 12 SEC schools.

South Carolina first baseman Justin Smoak is on a tear as of late and has raised his season batting average to .298 (57-for-191) with 15 HR and 53 RBI. Smoak has hit 12 of his 15 homers as well against SEC opponents. 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 three weeks ago. He also hit a solo homer in Saturday’s loss vs. Tennessee. 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 is the only member of the Carolina baseball team to start all 56 games this year.

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 3.25 ERA as well as 53 strikeouts in 63.2 innings of work. He is the toughest pitcher to hit in the SEC as opposing teams are batting just .197 on the year against him. He has allowed just 19 runs on 36 hits in 11 SEC appearances (50.1 innings) with four wins and three saves vs. SEC teams.

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 5-4 with a 4.19 ERA and 62 strikeouts and just 18 walks allowed in 68.2 innings pitched. Opponents are only batting .241 against him. Four of his five wins are against SEC opponents. Cisco is the likely starter for Carolina against Kentucky.

Freshman Andrew Crisp has been swinging a solid bat and is among SEC leaders in conference games with a .413 batting average (36-for-94). On the season he is hitting .321 (44-for-137) with 24 runs scored, four homers and 15 RBI. His 19-game hitting streak ended on Saturday vs. Tennessee.

A LOOK AT Michael Campbell
South Carolina senior outfielder Michael Campbell is likely out for the season with a broken right hand of the fourth metacarpal. Campbell would have to leave after the first inning of Friday’s game after being hit by a pitch in the top of the first. He will have surgery this week in Columbia. Friday night’s game for Campbell was his 255th in a Gamecock uniform, a school record, as well as his 234th consecutive start in the outfield. He finished four hits shy of the school record of hits and has 299 in his four-year career.

TRACKING Michael CampbellGames Played1.  255 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-06 SCHOOL RECORD
At Bats1. 950 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-06 SCHOOL RECORD
Three Base Hits1. 13 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-06 SCHOOL RECORD
Hits1. 303 Mac White 1991-92-93-942. 299 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-06
One Base Hits1. 209 Drew Meyer 2000-01-022. 201 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-06

Sophomore RHP Harris Honeycutt is 5-0 and had the best performance on his career last Saturday at Vadnerbilt. Honeycutt worked a career-high eight innings and allowed just three runs in a 6-3 victory over the Commodores. Honeycutt also recently struck out a career-high 11 batters in a 12-3 win over The Citadel. He made his first SEC start of his career vs. Ole Miss and worked 5.2 innings. Honeycutt is 5-0 with a 3.21 ERA and has 55 strikeouts and 25 walks in 53.1 innings pitched.

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 is among SEC leaders in several offensive categories including home runs (15), and RBI (51). He is batting .283 (52-for-184) with a slugging percentage of .582. He has twice had two-homer games on the year.