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March 29, 2007

Columbia, S.C. – Sarge Frye Field will be the site for one of the nation’s top college baseball series this weekend as top ranked South Carolina (22-4, 4-2 SEC) hosts third ranked Vanderbilt (24-3, 3-3 SEC) in an SEC Eastern Division showdown. Live video for Friday and Sunday will be available at with Saturday’s game televised on FSN South with Dave Neal and Larry Conley calling the action. Saturday’s game is officially sold out as well. All three games can also be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network with Mike Morgan and Tommy Moody behind the microphone.


SC Harris Honeycutt (Jr.) RHP 6-0, 1.42 ERA, 38.0 IP, 43 K, 12 BB
VU David Price (Jr.) LHP 5-0, 2.79 ERA, 51.2 IP, 79 K, 13 BB

SC Mike Cisco (So.) RHP 2-1, 3.51 ERA, 41.0 IP, 32 K, 5 BB
VU Mike Minor (Fr.) LHP 3-0, 2.35 ERA, 30.2 IP, 37 K, 5 BB

SC Blake Cooper (Fr.) RHP 3-0, 1.00 ERA, 18.0 IP, 17 K, 4 BB
VU Nick Christiani (So.) RHP 5-1, 3.05 ERA, 41.1 IP, 33 K, 18 BB

South Carolina returns home to Sarge Frye Field after a five-game road trip. The Gamecocks posted a 4-1 record away from Columbia including a win this past Tuesday night at Elon. South Carolina defeated the Phoenix 10-6 at Latham Park with Travis Jones hitting a pair of homers and Justin Smoak adding his team-leading ninth home run of the season. South Carolina has tallied at least 10 hits in seven straight games heading into the weekend series with Vanderbilt. Junior RHP Jordan Costner pitched three scoreless innings to pick up the win. He is 3-0 on the year.

South Carolina won four of five games last week with wins of 9-2 vs. UNC Asheville and 13-1 at Wofford in the midweek and victories in two of three games at Mississippi State. Carolina defeated the Bulldogs 20-3 on Friday night, fell 6-5 in 12 innings on Saturday and won the rubber game 8-3 on Sunday afternoon. South Carolina has now won four straight series vs. the Bulldogs dating back to the 2002 season (2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 – teams did not play any series in 2004 and 2005).

The Gamecock offense had a productive weekend in Starkville batting .388 (52-for-134) as a team and outscoring the Bulldogs 33-12 and out-hitting the SEC-leading Bulldogs 52-32 as well. The 25 hits tallied by the Gamecocks in Friday’s 17-run win over MSU was the largest single-game total of the season for Carolina and the fifth largest ever by a Ray Tanner coached team at South Carolina. The last time Carolina tallied as many as 25 hits was a record-setting performance in 2004 at Charleston Southern. Friday’s hit total featured four doubles, a triple and three home runs.

The top hitter of Friday’s game and the MSU series was Reese Havens, who tallied a career high five hits (5-for-6) including three doubles. Those three doubles marks the second time this season a Carolina player has accomplished the feat, it ties a single-game school record for the Gamecocks. Havens is now batting .273 with 20 RBI.

The Gamecocks are now batting .319 as a team with 44 home runs in 26 games. South Carolina tallied five home runs in the weekend series (James Darnell, Phil Disher (2), Trent Kline, Justin Smoak) vs. Mississippi State and three vs. Elon (Justin Smoak, Travis Jones (2).

The Gamecocks finished their longest homestand of the season, nine games, with last Tuesday’s game vs. UNC Asheville. The Gamecocks have played well at home at Sarge Frye Field with a 12-1 record. USC hosts Vanderbilt this weekend.

Sarge Frye Field has been a tough spot for opponents over the last seven years as the Gamecocks have racked up a 230-48 record (.827) in that timespan. The crowds have been incredible for the Gamecocks as well, with USC averaging 4,829 fans in 12 dates (one doubleheader).

South Carolina moves to the top spot in the nation for the first time this season with a No. 1 ranking in Baseball America. Carolina is also listed No. 2 by the NCBWA, No.3 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll and at No. 4 in Collegiate Baseball newspaper.

The Gamecock pitching staff has delivered in the early going with the staff posting a team ERA of 2.54 in 237.2 innings of work. That 2.54 ERA is the best in the SEC. The staff has 263 strikeouts to just 77 walks and allowed just 189 hits and opponents only batting .217 on the year.

Junior RHP Harris Honeycutt improved to 6-0 picking up the victory in Friday night’s 20-3 win over MSU. Honeycutt has 43 strikeouts in 38 innings pitched and a 1.42 ERA with just 22 hits allowed.

The junior right-hander is now 14-0 in his career with the Gamecocks. Harris Honeycutt was named SEC Pitcher of the Week following his performance in the 12-0 win at Clemson. Against second ranked and in-state rival Clemson, Honeycutt delivered with a top performance on the mound limiting the Tigers to just two hits in seven innings of work. He combined with three other players for the first shutout of the Tigers since 1986 and the first Gamecock shutout at Doug Kingsmore Stadium since 1974. Honeycutt struck out seven batters in the win, took a no-hitter into the fifth inning and allowed just one Clemson player to reach third base. Honeycutt’s honor marks the second time a Carolina player has been honored by the SEC office this season.

Friday’s win at Mississippi State also showcased an impressive relief performance from sophomore LHP Alex Farotto, who struck out seven of eight batters he faced to close out the game, a career-high. Senior RHP Jeff Jeffords had a big decision in Sunday’s game in middle relief and delivered in 3.2 innings of work allowing just one run in the 8-3 win. His six strikeouts in the game also tied a career-high. Jeffords is now 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA in seven appearances with 19 strikeouts in 11.2 innings of work. Junior RHP Wynn Pelzer closed out Sunday’s game in the last 2.1 innings and was stellar allowing just two hits and no runs while striking out four. Pelzer is 1-1 with a 1.59 ERA in 17 innings and has 26 strikeouts to just four walks.

Trent Kline had a pair of multi-hit games for the Gamecocks in the series at Mississippi State and also tallied four hits at Elon on Tuesday night. Kline had a 2-for-3 performance on Friday at MSU that featured a triple and a home run. Kline continues to lead the team in hitting with a .392 average (38-for-97) with four RH and 24 RBI. He leads the team with 13 multi-hit games.

In a 9-5 win over the LSU Tigers, Kline went 4-for-5 performance at the plate. Kline set a career-high with his four hits and also tied career marks in runs (3) and RBI (4) as he tallied two doubles, a single and a homer in the victory. Kline batted 8-for-13 in the series vs. LSU.

Sophomore first baseman Justin Smoak has hit home runs in two consecutive games with a pair of two run homers on Sunday at MSU and Tuesday at Elon. He also had four RBI in Sunday’s win vs. the Bulldogs. Smoak is batting .349 this season and also leads the team with 36 RBI.

Junior outfielder Harley Lail has been impressive in the last three weeks since taking over leadoff duties for the Gamecocks. Lail is batting .345 on the year (20-for-58) with three doubles, three homers and 13 RBI in 14 starts for the Gamecocks.

It was another great Sarge Frye Field moment vs. Brown on Sunday, Mar. 11 when junior left-hander Arik Hempy made his 2007 debut for the Gamecocks. Following a standing ovation, Hempy had a solid first appearance with 2.2 innings of work and allowing just one run on three hits while striking out four batters. The game against Brown was Hempy’s first since undergoing Tommy John surgery in early April of 2006. Hempy had made seven starts last season and was 2-1 with a 2.65 ERA with 47 strikeouts in 34 innings before going down with the injury to his arm on March 31 at LSU. Hempy received a medical redshirt due to the injury.

Hempy earned his first win of the season at Wofford lat Wednesday night with three scoreless innings of work vs. the Terriers. He is 1-0 with a 4.70 ERA in three games with 7.2 innings of work and nine strikeouts.

South Carolina continues to boast one of the top defensive teams in all of college baseball as the Gamecocks lead the SEC in fielding percentage, 26 games into the season. After setting a school record for fielding last year, the Gamecocks are off to another solid start defensively with a .980 percentage and just 20 errors and nine error-less contests.

Sophomore infielder James Darnell has struck with a strong bat this year as he owns seven home runs and had a pair of three-hit games at Mississippi State. He currently owns a .338 batting average and has 26 RBI.

Sophomore Andrew Crisp is getting a hot bat at the right time for the Gamecocks. Crisp had a four-hit game on Saturday vs. Mississippi State and is now batting .316 (25-for-79) on the year. He has also scored 19 runs for the Gamecocks. Crisp is currently starting in center field for the Gamecocks.

Junior left-hander Will Atwood and junior right-hander Curtis Johnson have been a relief for the Gamecocks out of the bullpen to start the year. Johnson leads the team with 12 appearances with Atwood right behind him at 11 on the year. Atwood is 1-0 with a 2.42 ERA in 26 innings and has 22 strikeouts with just four walks. Johnson has pitched 13.2 innings with teams batting just .159 against him. He has recorded 19 strikeouts on the year.

Freshman right-hander Blake Cooper has been productive in his first three career starts for Carolina. In the 9-5 win over LSU, Cooper worked 5.2 scoreless innings of work allowing just two hits while striking out four batters. The week before, Cooper allowed just one run, unearned and struck out six batters in five innings to pick up his first career win in the 13-1 victory over Brown. Cooper is 3-0 in seven appearances this year and has a 1.00 ERA in 18 innings with 17 strikeouts and just four walks.

Sophomore right-hander Mike Cisco has put together six quality starts to open the season and leads the team with 41.0 innings pitched. He has reached at least six innings in six of seven starts made this year. In the 11-2 win over Brown, he pitched six scoreless innings and allowed just two hits while striking out eight batters. Cisco is 2-1 this season.

He picked up his first win of year in a 5-1 win over Eastern Michigan. In that start he also worked 6.2 innings and allowed just one run on five hits while striking out nine batters. Cisco owns a 3.51 ERA with 32 strikeouts on the year.

Coming of a strong end to the 2006 season, junior designated hitter Phil Disher has picked up where he left off with a .341 batting average to start the year as well as six home runs. Disher had a pair of home runs this past weekend at Mississippi State.

Disher had a three-run homer and four RBI a win at Clemson and added two RBI in another win over the Tigers. His second career grand slam lifted the Gamecocks to an 8-5 win over Eastern Michigan, a game-winning hit with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Disher was 2006 NCAA Regional MVP in Charlottesville, Va.

Captain Steven Reinhold has been a key ingredient to the Gamecocks success in the early season. Coming off the bench as a defensive replacement, Reinhold has played in 24 games, all at center field and has been a productive pinch hitter and pinch runner as well. This season he is 2-for-9 with five runs scored has been hit by three pitches and owns a sacrifice bunt. The bunt helped the Gamecocks score the winning run in Sunday’s game vs. Clemson.

Senior first baseman Drew Martin had a solid final two games of the Brown series. In Saturday’s 11-2 win over Brown, Martin started at DH and went 3-for-5 with two doubles, two runs and a RBI. Sunday’s 9-4 win featured a two-out bases loaded home run from Martin off the bench to break a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the seventh inning.

In 12 games, he is batting .333 with three homers and seven RBI. Six of his eight hits this season are extra base hits (3 doubles, 3 homers).

Junior right-handed pitcher Jordan Costner brings a different delivery to the mound compared to other Gamecock pitchers with a sidearm approach that has been effective in 10 appearances. He owns a 0.73 ERA in 12.1 innings and a 3-0 record. He has allowed just nine hits this year.