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March 26, 2009

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Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina (16-6, 2-4 SEC) heads back on the road for a weekend series with Kentucky (15-7, 3-3 SEC) as SEC action continues. First pitch for the opener on Friday is set for 6:30 pm with both Saturday and Sunday’s games scheduled for 1 pm. All three games can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network and on with Mike Morgan and Tommy Moody on the call.

The Gamecocks have won two consecutive series against the Wildcats. Both were played in Columbia at Sarge Frye Field in the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Carolina is 35-26 in all-time series history vs. Kentucky.

Pitching Rotations (probable starters)

SC – Sam Dyson (RHP, So.) – 3-1, 2.73 ERA, 29.2 IP, 13 BB, 28 K
UK – James Paxton (LHP, Jr.) – 4-0, 3.30 ERA, 30.0 IP, 6 BB, 47 K

UK – Chris Rusin (LHP, Sr.) – 4-1, 2.97 ERA, 33.1 IP, 7 BB, 46 K

SC – Blake Cooper (RHP, Jr.) – 3-2, 4.74 ERA, 24.2 IP, 7 BB, 26 K
UK – Alex Meyer (RHP, Fr.) – 1-1, 4.81 ERA, 24.1 IP, 19 BB, 24 K

DeAngelo Mack’s two-out RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning lifted South Carolina to a 2-1 victory over Georgia Southern on Wednesday night at a rainy and damp Carolina Stadium. The Gamecocks have won two straight and are now 16-6 on the year while the loss drops Georgia Southern to 17-5 for the season. Carolina heads back on the road for a weekend SEC series at Kentucky. The opener is scheduled for 6:30 pm and can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network.

With the score deadlocked at 1-1 in the bottom of the 10th, South Carolina got things going with a one-out single by Jackie Bradley, Jr. Five pitches later, the Gamecocks had two runners on base as Whit Merrifield drew a walk against GSU reliever Dexter Bobo. With two outs and runners still on first and second base, Mack came to the plate. On Bobo’s 1-2 pitch, Mack drilled a base hit through the right side and Bradley, Jr. scored from second base with the winning run for a Gamecock victory. Mack finished the night 3-for-4 at the plate and also was intentionally walked once. Bradley, Jr. also had two hits as the Gamecocks won the first extra inning game for the team this season.

Freshman outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. had the top bat last week as he batted 6-for-15 (.400) in the five games. Five of his six hits for the week were extra base hits (three doubles, two homers). Bradley, Jr. reached base three times with a solo home run in the 7-3 win vs. LSU on Friday night. He also homered in the Wednesday night win at Furman.

He is currently on a six-game hitting streak and had two hits in the 2-1 win over Georgia Southern. Bradley, Jr. on the year is hitting .310 (26-for-84) with four HR and 12 RBI. He has also scored a team-high 22 runs.

Sophomore right-hander Sam Dyson has established himself as the ace of the Gamecock pitching staff. Dyson won a pitching duel vs. LSU’s Anthony Ranaudo on Friday night as the Gamecock hurler went seven innings allowing one run on two hits to pick up the victory. He struck out five in the contest.

Dyson owns a 3-1 record with a 2.73 ERA in 29.2 innings pitched. He also has 28 strikeouts. Teams are only batting .167 against him, which is the lowest batting average allowed by an SEC pitcher this season, per the conference statistic report.

THE STOPPER – Alex Farotto
Senior left-hander Alex Farotto continues to factor in Gamecock victories as his perfect one inning stint vs. Georgia Southern earned him a victory. Farotto has factored in a win in all seven appearances, sporting a3-0 record with four saves. He has 19 strikeouts in 14.2 innings; opponents are only batting .106 against him.

Senior infielder Andrew Crisp reached a milestone in Wednesday’s win at Furman as his 2-for-5 day at the plate put him at 200-plus hits in his career at Carolina. He is now the 22nd player in school history that has tallied 200 or more hits. Crisp went 3-for-4 with three RBI in Tuesday’s 14-2 win at College of Charleston.

Crisp had his nine-game hitting streak snapped in the Sunday loss vs. LSU. Despite the hitting streak being snapped, Crisp has been among the team’s leaders in hitting with a .318 average (27-for-85) with six HR and 20 RBI. He is also batting .318 in SEC games (7-for-22) with a team-high nine RBI in SEC contests.

He now has 207 career hits that puts him at 20th on the All-Time list. Crisp and senior DeAngelo Mack are tied for the team high in multi-hit games with nine.

1) 303 Mac White 1991-92-93-942) 299 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-063) 285 Drew Meyer 2000-01-024) 265 Landon Powell 2001-02-03-045) 265 Derick Urquhart 1995-96-97-986) 250 Mike Curry 1996-97-987) 246 Justin Smoak 2006-07-088) 245 Hank Small 1972-73-74-759) 231 Dave Willman 1989-90-91-9210) 230 Skeets Thomas 1988-89-9011) 227 Jeff Barns 1985-86-8712) 225 Jeff Parnell 1990-91-92-9313) 224 Chris Boyle 1981-82-83-8414) 215 Reese Havens 2006-07-0815) 211 Ryan Bordenick 1995-96-97-9816) 210 Garrett Carter 1985-86-87-8817) 209 Burke Cromer 1989-90-91-9218) 207 Andrew Crisp 2005-06-07-08-09 207 Jim Curl 1978-79-80-81

Crisp has also made his way on the career list at Carolina for singles in a career. Crisp currently has 160 career singles with the Gamecocks, eighth highest in school history

SC All-Time Singles List
1) 209 Drew Meyer 2000-01-022) 201 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-063) 198 Mac White 1991-92-93-944) 176 Derick Urquhart 1995-96-97-985) 172 Greg Jonson 1977-78-79-806) 165 Dave Willman 1989-90-91-927) 162 Mike Curry 1996-97-988) 160 Andrew Crisp 2005-06-07-08-09

South Carolina is 15-0 in games this year when tallying more hits than its opponent. South Carolina’s 22-hit total in last Wednesday’s 15-0 win at Furman was the most in a single game for Carolina this year. South Carolina is 3-0 in one-run games and 4-0 in two-run games year. Carolina’s record is 7-1 this season in games decided by three runs or less. The last game decided by three runs or less was the 2-1 win in 10 innings over Georgia Southern.

South Carolina continues to hit home runs as the Gamecocks have now homered in 20 of 22 games this year. The team now owns a total of 40 for the season. The Gamecocks had a home run in 13 straight games to start the season before going without one in the second game of the series vs. Mississippi State.

Junior first baseman Nick Ebert continues to swing the hot bat for Carolina and is among the SEC’s leading hitters with a .386 average (22-for-57). He also has eight HR and 20 RBI. He homered in the 14-2 win at College of Charleston on Tuesday. In addition, Ebert reached base five times in the 15-0 win at Furman (3-for-3 with two walks) as well as three times vs. Davidson (1-for-2 with two walks).

Ebert went 4-for-5 in the 5-4 win over Mississippi State, he is the first Gamecock player this year to record four or more hits in a game (3/15). He also was 1-for-2 with four RBI in the 6-5 win over Presbyterian (3/9). He finished last week in six games batting 10-for-18 (.556) with three HR and nine RBI.

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.

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 had the game-winning hit in the 10th inning vs. Georgia Southern and is among the team’s leading hitters with a .373 average (31-for-83) and leads the squad in RBI (25). Mack went 2-for-4 with a RBI and run scored at College of Charleston in the 14-2 win. He also tallied three hits and tied a career-high with four RBI at Furman (3/18).

He tallied his first multi-homer game of his career in the Saturday 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.

South Carolina is hitting .296 (219-for-741) as a team with 158 runs scored, 38 doubles and six triples. The Gamecocks continued to field well with a .975 fielding percentage and only 21 errors for the season.

Carolina is also 15-0 on the year when allowing five runs or less by an opponent. The staff owns a 4.48 ERA in 195 innings with 198 strikeouts. Opponents are batting just .231 against the squad, the lowest average allowed by an SEC staff on the year.

Freshman right-hander Matt Price had a career outing vs. Georgia Southern as he hurled seven scoreless innings of relief in the 2-1 win. Price allowed just three hits and one walk and also set a season-high with four strikeouts as he kept the Eagles off the scoreboard. On the year, Price is 1-0 with a 2.60 ERA in six appearances. He has 13 strikeouts in 17.1 innings.

Sophomore outfielder Whit Merrifield is finding his way on base as well. On the year, he is batting .277 (23-for-83) with a pair of triples, four HR and 16 RBI. His on-base percentage is .364. Merrifield tied his career-high with three hits in the 15-0 win at Furman and hit a two-run homer in the 7-3 win over LSU.

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.