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April 19, 2007

Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina (30-8, 9-6 SEC) begins an eight-game stretch that includes seven road games starting this weekend with a three-game series at Ole Miss (25-14, 8-7 SEC). All three games will be televised on Sport South with Dave Neal and Larry Conley calling the action. The games will also be broadcast on the Gamecock Radio Network with Mike Morgan and Tom Price handling the call. First pitch on Friday is 7:30 pm ET, with Saturday’s game at 5 pm ET and Sunday’s series finale set for 2:30 pm ET.

Carolina leads the all-time series history 22-13 including victories in two of three games at Sarge Frye Field last year. Carolina defeated the Rebels 1-0 and 6-3 before falling 11-6 in the series finale. Ole Miss has won the last two series played in Oxford between the two schools (2003, 2005).

The Gamecocks head into the weekend tied for first in the Eastern Division with Vanderbilt as each team holds a 9-6 conference record. Arkansas leads the SEC at the halfway point with an 11-4 record.

Nine of South Carolina’s last 15 conference games come on the road.


SC Harris Honeycutt, Jr. (RHP) 7-1, 2.65 ERA, 54.1 IP, 69 K, 20 BB
UM Will Kline, Jr. (RHP) 4-1, 2.92 ERA, 71.0 IP, 79 K, 23 BB

SC Arik Hempy, Jr. (LHP) 3-0, 1.86 ERA, 19.1 IP, 19 K, 10 BB
UM Lance Lynn, So. (RHP) 3-3, 3.02 ERA, 62.2 IP, 78 K, 23 BB

UM Nathan Baker, Fr. (LHP) 5-1, 2.96 ERA, 45.2 IP, 30 K, 11 BB

South Carolina’s four home runs in Wednesday night’s game tied a season high for a game this season for the team. The Gamecocks are among the nation’s leaders with 67 on the year including 13 from James Darnell, 12 from Justin Smoak and 11 from Travis Jones. Darnell and Smoak hit back-to-back homers in Wednesday’s game, the first time this season that the team accomplished the feat. The Gamecocks are 27-4 on the year when hitting at least one home run in a game.

With his solo homer on Wednesday night, James Darnell heads into the weekend having tallied a home run in four straight games. He hit a pair of three-run homers on Saturday and Sunday vs. Auburn along with a pair of solo shots vs. Wofford and Clemson in the midweek contests.

Darnell leads the team with a .359 batting average to go along with the 13 HR and 43 RBI. He is at a .710 slugging percentage to go along with a .473 on-base percentage. He currently owns a 12-game hitting streak.

Junior INF Travis Jones continues to swing a hot bat. He has eight home runs in the last eight games including a solo shot in Wednesday’s win over Clemson. He batted .417 (5-for-12) this past weekend with two more HR and eight RBI vs. the Auburn Tigers. Jones now is batting .312 (44-for-141) on the year with 11 HR and 38 RBI on the year and is also fielding .990 with just two errors at second base.

The Gamecock pitching staff continues to lead the conference with a team ERA of 2.98. The Gamecock pitchers have 369 strikeouts to 133 walks in 350.1 innings of work with opponents batting just .223 on the year.

Junior first baseman Justin Smoak currently holds the longest hitting streak of the season, 19 games. He continued the streak with a solo home run in Wednesday’s win over Clemson. Smoak is batting .340 with 12 HR and 43 RBI on the year.

During the 19-game hitting streak, Smoak has compiled a .380 average (30-for-79), scored 16 runs, hit four doubles and tallied six homers to go along with 18 RBI. He has also walked 16 times in those games.

Sophomore shortstop Reese Havens has hit safely in nine straight games and has raised his season batting average to .291 with 10 doubles and 30 RBI. He is hitting .304 in SEC games (17-for-56) with 12 RBI.

The Gamecock offense has now homered 67 times in 38 games, among the nation’s leaders in the category. The team is batting .315 on the year (435-for-1380) and .319 in SEC games as well. The .319 average in conference games is the best among all 12 SEC schools.

Saturday’s 10-1 victory over Auburn featured a solid performance on the mound from junior left-hander Arik Hempy that earned him SEC Pitcher of the Week. In his first start against at SEC team this season, Hempy limited the Tigers to just two hits in a season-high 6.2 innings of work with five strikeouts and four walks. Hempy did not allow a hit from the 2nd-5th inning against Auburn. He is now 3-0 on the year with a 1.86 ERA in five games as well as 19.1 innings, with 19 strikeouts.

Junior RHP Jeff Jeffords contributed again on Sunday in a Gamecock win to help the club win a series. Jeffords worked 3.1 scoreless innings of relief and picked up the win in Sunday’s game vs. the Tigers. He allowed just two hits in his appearance. Jeffords is 4-0 with a 1.17 ERA in 11 relief appearances and 23 innings. He has struck out 29 and walked just five; opponents are batting .139 against him.

South Carolina has now won eight straight series vs. Auburn (1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007) and leads the all-time series 27-16. The Gamecocks have won four of the first five SEC series this year.

Junior RHP Harris Honeycutt lost his first career game in a Gamecock uniform in Friday’s loss to Auburn. He is now 15-1 in his career with the Gamecocks. Honeycutt is still 7-1 this season with a 2.65 ERA with 69 strikeouts in 54.1 innings of work as well.

Honeycutt was named SEC Pitcher of the Week following his performance in the 12-0 win at Clemson back in March. 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