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March 12, 2009

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Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina (10-2) begins SEC play this weekend with a three-game series at Mississippi State (10-4). First pitch for the opener is set for 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday with Saturday’s contest at 3 p.m. ET and Sunday’s series finale scheduled for 2:30 p.m. ET. Live audio broadcast is available at The games can also be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network including flagship station 107.5 FM “The Game.”

South Carolina swept the series vs. Mississippi State last year in Columbia. Carolina earned victories of 9-1, 4-1 and 10-3 over the Bulldogs. South Carolina also won the last series the two schools played in Starkville, Miss. when Carolina took two of three games vs. MSU in the 2007 season. South Carolina leads the all-time series 27-22 over the Bulldogs. MSU is under the leadership of John Cohen, who is in his first year as head coach Mississippi State. Cohen previously served as head coach at Kentucky for five seasons.

South Carolina has gone 2-1 on the week with a 6-5 win over Presbyterian, 13-3 win over Old Dominion and a 16-8 loss to Wofford.

Pitching Rotations (probable starters)
Friday Pitcher 09 Stats
SC – Sam Dyson (RHP, So.) – 2-0, 0.49 ERA, 18.1 IP, 5 BB, 17 K
MSU – Tyler Whitney (LHP, Jr.) – 1-0, 0.82 ERA, 11.0 IP, 3 BB, 10 K or
Nick Routt (LHP, Fr.) – 2-0, 1.42 ERA, 19.0 IP, 5 BB, 17 K

MSU – Whitney or Routt


Series Record: SOUTH CAROLINA LEADS 27-22

South Carolina’s 10-2 start for the season has been sparked by the Gamecocks ability to score in the early innings. Carolina has scored in the first two innings in 10 of 12 games this year and has outscored its opponent 34-13 in the first two innings.

South Carolina has homered in all 12 games this year. South Carolina had a season-high five on Wednesday night in the 16-8 loss to Wofford. Carolina also had 10 in the weekend series with Long Beach State with four apiece in both the Saturday and Sunday games. Outfielder DeAngelo Mack leads the team with seven home runs with Nick Ebert just behind him at five. Ebert has homered in four consecutive games. The Gamecocks have gone back-to-back four times as well including on Wednesday night vs. Wofford (Mack & Ebert).

Junior infielder Nick Ebert has shown remarkable strength since enduring a very difficult situation with the loss of his apartment due to a fire in the complex. Despite the tough loss, Ebert has shown up to play baseball and has played in all 12 games with seven straight starts at first base. Ebert has homered in four straight games and is batting .409 (9-for-22) on the year with six HR and 14 RBI. He owns a slugging percentage of 1.318. His four RBI in Monday’s 6-5 win vs. Presbyterian is also an individual high by a Gamecock player this year.

The University of South Carolina Athletics Department has established a Fire Relief Fund for two of its own who were affected by the recent fire at a Columbia apartment complex, it was announced today.

Ebert and Adam Nonnemacher, a full-time intern in the athletics marketing department, lost nearly all of their possessions in a fire at the Waterford Apartments off Broad River Road that occurred on February 23. The fire displaced 25 people and caused an estimated $1 million in damage.

“This is a very difficult time for these two young men who are a part of the Gamecock Athletics Family,” said Carolina Athletics Director Eric Hyman. “The Red Cross has assisted in the relief effort, but we wanted to fill in the gaps. We were looking for a way that we could help Nick and Adam recover some of their losses and do so within the framework of the NCAA rules. Former Gamecock pitcher Blake Taylor, a vice president at Southern First Bank, has worked with us to make this a reality.”

Those interested in contributing to the fund should send their donation in care of the E/N Fire Relief Fund, Southern First Bank, 717 Lady Street, Suite D, Columbia, S.C. 29201. Contributions are not tax deductable. If there are any proceeds remaining after Ebert and Nonnemacher’s needs are met, that money would go to the Red Cross.

Junior outfielder DeAngelo Mack is off to a solid start at the plate. Mack is among the team’s leading hitters with a .378 average (17-for-45) and leads the squad in runs scored (14) and RBI (17). Mack homered in Wednesday’s 16-8 loss to Wofford.

He tallied his first multi-homer game of his career in last Saturday’s win vs. Long Beach State. Mack also hit a game-winning solo homer in the 3-1 victory at Clemson on February 28. In addition, he hit a pair of three-run homers in the opening series vs. Duquesne.

Mack started the season in left field for the Gamecocks. He had a strong end to the 2008 season and made his way into the starting lineup late in the year. Mack blasted seven homers including a pair at the 2008 NCAA Raleigh Regional that put him also on the All-Tournament team. Mack joined Whit Merrifield on the Cape this summer with the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox.

Mack played in 38 games with 30 starts, hit .283 (30-for-106), tallied five doubles, a triple, seven homers and 21 RBI. He also scored 25 runs and stole a pair of bases. His slugging percentage is 1.083. He has also walked six times and is at .556 for on-base percentage.

Sophomore right-hander Sam Dyson has established himself as the ace of the Gamecock pitching staff. Dyson continued his strong start on the mound last week with seven innings of work vs. Long Beach State without allowing an earned run to pick up the win. On the year, Dyson is 2-0 with a 0.49 ERA and has just six hits allowed in 18.1 innings. He has struck out 17 batters. Dyson is 10-0 in his career with the Gamecocks.

Senior LHP Alex Farotto has been solid out of the bullpen with a 1-0 record and three saves in four appearances and has not allowed a hit in 8.1 innings. Farotto’s latest save came with 2.2 scoreless innings and five strikeouts in the 7-5 win over Long Beach State. He also worked 2.2 scoreless innings of relief to pick up a win vs. the Clemson Tigers.

Junior catcher Justin Dalles is the team’s leading hitter through 12 games. Dalles is hitting .424 (14-for-33) and has also collected three doubles to go along with four HR and 11 RBI. Dalles currently owns a six-game hitting streak. His three RBI vs. Wofford on Wednesday night is a season-high. He has put together four multi-hit games.

Dalles is a three-time MLB draft selection, once after his senior year in high school and twice in junior college.

South Carolina’s 3-1 win over Clemson on Saturday, Feb. 28 marked Carolina’s fifth consecutive win over its rival and its eighth victory in the last nine games vs. the Tigers. Carolina is 22-15 vs. Clemson since the 2000 season with head coach Ray Tanner 24-20 in his career vs. the Tigers. Sunday’s game at Carolina Stadium in Columbia was canceled due to poor weather conditions. Attempts are being made to reschedule the game.

The South Carolina pitching staff is 10-2 with a 4.08 ERA and 110 strikeouts in 108.0 innings pitched. Opponents are batting just .214 on the year (83 hits in 387 at-bats). Carolina is also hitting .306 (123-for-402) with 26 home runs. The team is fielding at a .972 clip with just 13 errors.

Sophomore outfielder Whit Merrifield is finding his way on base as well. On the year, he is batting .311 (14-for-45) with a pair of triples, three HR and eight RBI. His on-base percentage is .491.

Last year, Merrifield was a 2008 SEC All-Freshman team selection and played in 62 of 63 games. Merrifield was among the team’s leading hitters in 2008 as he hit .326 (77-for-236) with nine doubles, a triple and three HR. He was also a 2008 NCAA Regional All-Tournament team pick in Raleigh, N.C. He scored 58 runs and led the team in stolen bases with 11. Merrifield played last summer for the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod League.

Freshman left-hander Adam Westmoreland had his first extended outing two weeks ago and was outstanding in the 2-0 win vs. Georgia State. Earning his first victory, Westmoreland pitched six scoreless innings and struck out eight batters for Carolina. He is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in nine innings pitched with 12 strikeouts to three walks.

Freshman OF Jackie Bradley, Jr. has showed promising signs through 12 games. Bradley, Jr. is hitting .304 (14-for-46), has two doubles, a triple, one homer and five RBI. He also owns a .418 on-base percentage.

A native of Prince George, Va., Bradley, Jr. was a 2008 all-state performer in the state of Virginia. Bradley, Jr. looks to maybe sit at top of Ray Tanner’s batting order for the 2009 season.