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April 3, 2007

Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina (23-6) hosts Furman (8-19) on Wednesday night in a non-conference midweek game at Sarge Frye Field. First pitch is set for 7 pm with live audio, video and gametracker stats available at This is the only meeting of the season between the Gamecocks and Paladins. Carolina defeated Furman twice last season and leads the all-time series 99-51-2, that dates back all the way to 1896.

It was a high-scoring affair in the last game played between the two schools with Carolina holding on for a 15-12 victory over the Paladins in a game played at West End Field in Greenville. The Gamecocks belted out 15 hits in the contest including a grand slam home run from Robbie Grinestaff and three doubles from Justin Smoak.


SC Arik Hempy (Jr.) LHP 1-0, 4.70 ERA, 7.2 IP, 9 K, 4 BB
Furman TBA

South Carolina went 2-2 this past week with a 10-6 win at Elon and an 8-2 win over Vanderbilt on Sunday. After three weeks of SEC play, Carolina sits in a tie for third place overall in the conference with a 5-4 record.

Sunday’s win vs. Vanderbilt featured a quality performance on the mound from freshman RHP Blake Cooper. Cooper worked a career-high 7.2 innings and allowed just two runs on six hits while striking out four batters. It was the longest stint by a Carolina pitcher this year as well. Cooper did not allow a run against the third ranked Commodores until the eighth inning.

Cooper has won three of four starts in the last weeks and is 4-0 on the year with a 1.40 ERA in 25.2 innings of work with just 20 hits allowed and 21 strikeouts to just five walks.

Sunday’s win also featured home runs from both James Darnell and Phil Disher. Darnell went 2-for-4 with two runs and three RBI in Sunday’s victory. Darnell is batting .355 this season (33-for-93) with eight HR and 30 RBI. Disher finished 3-for-4 and tied a career-high with four RBI in Sunday’s game. His average raised to .356 and owns seven HR and 28 RBI on the season.

Sophomore first baseman Justin Smoak tallied hits in all four games this past week and extended his hitting streak 10 games, that is the longest streak of the season for a Gamecock player. Smoak is among the leading hitters on his team with a .357 batting average as well as nine HR and 38 RBI. The nine home runs and 38 RBI is among the leaders in the SEC.

The South Carolina bats have been strong over the last two weeks with at least 10 hits in nine of the last 10 games as well as 17 home runs in that span. The team is currently batting .312 on the year (328-for-1050) with 46 home runs as well.

Be sure to get your Easter Brunch done in time for some baseball this Sunday, as the South Carolina-Florida baseball game scheduled for April 8 will be televised on ESPN with Mike Gleason and Kyle Peterson on the call. First pitch is set for 1 pm at McKethan Stadium in game three of the series between the Gamecocks and Gators.

Carolina’s pitching staff continues to be among the best in the nation with a 2.69 ERA and a 23-6 record. Carolina pitchers have logged 267.2 innings and own 290 strikeouts to just 87 walks and teams are batting just .223 in those games. South Carolina has lost just six games with five of those losses coming by one run and three in extra innings.

Junior right-handed pitcher Harris Honeycutt performed well in Friday night’s game vs. Vanderbilt despite a no-decision. Honeycutt allowed just three runs, two earned, on six hits in 6.1 innings of work. In seven appearances, Honeycutt is 6-0 with a 1.62 ERA in 44.1 innings of work with 50 strikeouts to just 13 walks.

The junior right-hander is 14-0 in his career with the Gamecocks.

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

The Gamecocks have played well at home at Sarge Frye Field with a 13-3 record. and have drawn incredible crowds with 75,149 fans this season for an average of 5,009 per game. The three-game series vs. Vanderbilt featured weekend attendance of 6,039, 5,569 and 5,521 for a total of 17,129 fans.

Sarge Frye Field has been a tough spot for opponents over the last seven years as the Gamecocks have racked up a 231-50 record (.822) in that timespan.

South Carolina sits at fourth in the nation in the ESPN/Sports Weekly coaches’ poll and fifth in both the Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball rankings released on Monday afternoon.

The Gamecock bullpen has come up big in the first half of the year for the Gamecocks with several pitchers providing important relief in the later innings.

Junior RHP Wynn Pelzer is 1-1 with a save in 12 appearances and owns a 1.47 ERA in 18.1 innings pitched. He has struck out 26 batters to just five walks allowed.

Sophomore LHP Alex Farotto has been productive in the last few weeks and showcased an impressive relief performance at Mississippi State two weeks ago, where he struck out seven of eight batters he faced to close out the game, a career-high. Farotto is 1-0 with a 0.75 ERA in seven appearances and 12 innings with 23 strikeouts to two walks.

Senior RHP Jeff Jeffords had a big decision in Sunday’s game at Mississippi State 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 2-0 with a 2.25 ERA in eight appearances with 19 strikeouts in 12.0 innings of work.

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 13 appearances with Atwood right behind him at 12 on the year. Atwood is 1-1 with a 2.54 ERA in 28.1 innings and has 24 strikeouts with just five walks. Johnson has pitched 15.1 innings with teams batting just .163 against him. He has recorded 21 strikeouts on the year.

Junior catcher Trent Kline continues to own the highest batting average on the team at a .385 clip (42-for-109) including a team-high 10 doubles, four HR and 24 RBI as well as 14 multi-hit games. He also leads the team with a .421 batting average in SEC contests.

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.

Junior outfielder Harley Lail has been impressive in the last month since taking over leadoff duties for the Gamecocks. Lail is batting .324 on the year with an on-base percentage of .440 as well as four stolen bases. He has the hot bat with three doubles, three homers and 13 RBI in 17 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 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 sit second in the SEC in fielding percentage, 29 games into the season. After setting a school record for fielding last year, the Gamecocks are off to another solid start defensively with a .978 percentage and just 24 errors and nine error-less contests.

Junior second baseman Travis Jones became the first Carolina player this season to hit two home runs in one game, when he hit a pair in the 10-6 win at Elon on Tuesday night. Jones and Justin Smoak are the only two Gamecock players to start in all 29 games this season. Jones is batting .255 with six doubles, two triples, three homers and 15 RBI. He also leads the team with seven stolen bases.

CRISP HITTING Sophomore Andrew Crisp is getting a hot bat at the right time for the Gamecocks. Crisp had a four-hit game vs. Mississippi State and is now batting .301 (28-for-93) on the year. He has also scored 20 runs for the Gamecocks. Crisp is currently starting in center field for the Gamecocks.