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April 2, 2009

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Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina (19-9, 4-5 SEC) returns home for a three-game series vs. SEC-leading Arkansas (20-5, 8-1 SEC) this weekend at Carolina Stadium. Friday’s series opener is set for 7 p.m., with Saturday’s tilt at 4 p.m. and Sunday’s series finale scheduled for 1 p.m. All three games can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network and at The Razorbacks head to Carolina ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation.

This is Arkansas’ first visit to Columbia since the 2005 season when the Hogs took two of three against the Gamecocks. Arkansas leads the all-time series history 27-18 including a series sweep in Fayetteville vs. Carolina last year. The Gamecocks last won a series vs. Arkansas in 2001 when Carolina swept the Razorbacks at Sarge Frye Field.

Pitching Rotations (probable starters)

SC Sam Dyson (RHP, So.) – 4-1, 4.21 ERA, 36.1 IP, 17 BB, 33 K
ARK Dallas Keuchel (LHP, Jr.) – 4-0, 3.32 ERA, 38.0 IP, 4 BB, 31 K

SC Nolan Belcher (LHP, Fr.) – 0-1, 5.70 ERA, 23.1 IP, 15 BB, 22 K
ARK TJ Forrest (RHP, Jr.) – 2-1, 3.72 ERA, 29.0 IP, 13 BB, 30 K

SC Blake Cooper (RHP, Jr.) 4-2, 4.01 ERA, 33.2 IP, 11 BB, 31 K
ARK Drew Smyly (LHP, Fr.) 2-1, 2.84 ERA, 25.1 IP, 8 BB, 19 K

South Carolina starting pitcher Jay Brown worked 6.2 scoreless innings and combined with relievers Adam Westmoreland and Michael Roth on a six-hit shutout as the Gamecocks defeated Furman 10-0 on Wednesday evening in non-conference college baseball action at Carolina Stadium.

In his third start of the year, Brown had command of the strike zone the entire night and limited the Paladins to just four hits and four walks while striking out five batters. He improved to 2-0 on the year. Westmoreland followed with 1.1 scoreless innings, he allowed just two hits and one walk while striking out two. Roth closed the game out in the ninth with one perfect inning of relief with a strikeout. Furman reliever Spencer Hale took the loss and is now 2-1 for the year. He allowed two runs on five hits in two innings of relief.

“After last night not playing very well and losing at The Citadel it was great to come home and get a win,” said South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner. “Jay Brown gave us a quality start. We left some runners on base early in the game, but we had a big six-run eighth inning. We did a nice job and got a win.”

The win was Carolina’s second shutout of the Paladins this year and the team’s sixth shutout of the season. South Carolina is 17-1 on the year when allowing five runs or less in a game.

South Carolina’s 20-19 win vs. Kentucky featured several team notes.

South Carolina hit back-to-back home runs with Andrew Crisp and Justin Dalles in the top of the second inning. The last time Carolina went back-to-back was earlier in the week, 3/24/09, Kyle Enders and Andrew Crisp in a win at College of Charleston.

South Carolina set a season-high with 20 runs scored. Previous high was 15 vs. Long Beach State (3/6/09) and at Furman (3/18/09). The most runs by the Gamecocks since Carolina scored 22 in a 22-5 win over East Carolina on Feb. 23, 2008. The most runs by South Carolina in an SEC game since a 20-3 victory at Mississippi State on March 23, 2007.

South Carolina set a season-high with 25 hits. Previous high was 22 at Furman (3/18/09). It is the most hits by the Gamecocks in a game since Carolina tallied 25 at Mississippi State on March 23, 2007. It ties for the fifth highest hit total in games under head coach Ray Tanner.

South Carolina set a season-high with six home runs. Previous high was five vs. Wofford (3/11/09). It ties for the fourth highest home run total in games under head coach Ray Tanner. It is the most home runs in a game by Carolina since the Gamecocks tallied eight vs. Georgia in a NCAA Super Regional game on June 10, 2008.

South Carolina’s 20 runs vs. Kentucky marks the fifth time in school history that South Carolina has scored 20 or more runs in an SEC game.

March 28, 2009 South Carolina 20, Kentucky 19
March 23, 2007 South Carolina 20, Mississippi State 3
March 21, 2006 South Carolina 21, Florida 4
March 17, 1996 South Carolina 22, Ole Miss 12
April 16, 1994 South Carolina 24, Georgia 12

South Carolina continues to have success with the Wildcats. Carolina has defeated Kentucky in three consecutive series and leads the all-time series 37-27.

It was a s strong week on the mound for Blake Cooper, who won both his starts with a pair of victories on the road. The junior right-hander first helped Carolina to a 14-2 victory at the College of Charleston on Tuesday night, then bounced back and started on Sunday and hurled first complete game of the year to help Carolina clinch an SEC series on the road with a 4-2 victory over Kentucky.

Sunday’s complete game victory marked the first complete game by a Gamecock pitcher this year and the second of Cooper’s career. Pitched Sunday’s game in wintry conditions with a wind chill in the 20’s. He limited Kentucky to just two runs on eight hits to earn the win.

On the year, Cooper is 4-2 with a 4.01 ERA in 33.2 innings pitched. He has 31 strikeouts.

Freshman outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. keeps performing at a high level for the Gamecocks. Bradley, Jr. had three hits at The Citadel and added a pair more vs. Furman this week. The product of Prince George, Va. went 7-for-15 (.467) in the series vs. Kentucky as well with five runs scored, a home run and three RBI. He set a career-high with four hits in the 20-19 victory over Kentucky.

Bradley, Jr. is third on the team in hitting with a .340 average (38-for-109) with six HR and 157 RBI. He also leads the team in run scored with 30. Bradley, Jr. has been stellar in SEC games as well with a .389 average (14-for-36) in conference games with 12 runs scored as well. He currently owns a nine-game hitting streak.

Carolina went ahead for good in this past Sunday’s game vs. Kentucky with a RBI double off the bat of Whit Merrifield in the sixth inning. He had a career-high four hits as well as a pair of doubles in the 20-19 victory over Kentucky. The sophomore outfielder hit .375 (6-for-16) in the series with four doubles and four runs scored. Merrifield is now up to a .302 average (32-for-106) with a team-high nine doubles.

Sophomore right-hander Sam Dyson has established himself as the ace of the Gamecock pitching staff. Dyson improved to 4-1 with a victory in the series opener vs. Kentucky. Dyson owns a 4.21 ERA and has a team-high 33 strikeouts in a team-high 36.1 innings pitched. Opponents are batting just .194 against him.

THE STOPPER – Alex Farotto
Senior left-hander Alex Farotto continues to factor in Gamecock victories as his 1.2 innings of work at Kentucky earned him a save. Farotto has received a decision in all nine appearances out of the pen this year, sporting a 3-1 record with five saves. He has 20 strikeouts in 16.2 innings; opponents are only batting .143 against him.

Senior infielder Andrew Crisp continues to reach milestones as he has now played in 200 career games in a Gamecock uniform. He is currently at 202 career games with the Garnet & Black. Crisp has started all 27 games this year and is batting ..321 (35-for-109) with eight HR and 23 RBI.

Crisp also hit well last week at Kentucky batting 6-for-15 (.400) in the series. Crisp had three homers on the week, two in the 20-19 win vs. Kentucky and one at College of Charleston.

Crisp is also hitting .351 (13-for-37) with five HR and 11 RBI in SEC games.

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 2006-07-08 215 Andrew Crisp 2005-06-07-08-09

Crisp has also made his way on the career list at Carolina for singles in a career. Crisp currently has 163 career singles with the Gamecocks, seventh 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) 163 Andrew Crisp 2005-06-07-08-09
SC All-Time Games Played List
1) 255 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-062) 251 Landon Powell 2001-02-03-043) 236 Mac White 1991-92-93-944) 223 Jeff Parnell 1990-91-92-935) 221 Trey Dyson 1999-00-01-026) 217 Derick Urquhart 1995-96-97-987) 209 Drew Meyer 2000-01-02 209 Garrett Carter 1985-86-87-889) 208 Chris Boyle 1981-82-83-8410) 204 Ryan Szwejbka 1993-94-95-96-9711) 202 Andrew Crisp 2005-06-07-08-09 202 Dave Willman 1989-90-91-92

South Carolina is 17-1 in games this year when tallying more hits than its opponent. Carolina is 4-1 in one-run games and 5-0 in two-run games year. Carolina’s record is 9-2 this season in games decided by three runs or less. All three games of the Kentucky series were decided by three runs or less this weekend.

South Carolina has homered in 23 of 27 games this year with a total of 48. The team hit a season-high six homers in the 20-19 victory over Kentucky. Carolina is 17-6 when hitting at least one home run in a game.

South Carolina freshman right-handed pitcher Matt Price sustained a fractured right wrist injury in a collision at first base in Tuesday night’s game at The Citadel and will miss the remainder of the 2009 season. The baseball team will pursue a medical hardship for Price. The Gamecock right-hander was 1-1 with a 4.05 ERA in seven appearances and 20 innings pitched.

Junior first baseman Nick Ebert continues shine at the plate with a .365 average (27-for-74). Ebert hit his first career grand slam and the team’s first grand slam of the season in the 20-19 victory over the Wildcats. He also had a big two-run single in the 4-2 victory on Sunday. Ebert reached base five times in the game with a hit and four walks, the first Gamecock player this year to walk four times in one game … He has nine HR and 29 RBI for the season.

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 the team’s leading hitter with a .375 average (39-for-104) and leads the squad in RBI (29). 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 .308 as a team (286-for-928) with 48 homers and 186 RBI. The Gamecocks are fielding .976 with just 25 errors on the year. The fielding percentage leads the SEC. The South Carolina pitching staff has a 5.06 ERA in 238.1 innings. The Gamecocks have 228 strikeouts to 128 walks. Opponents are batting .243 on the year, second lowest by opponents in the SEC this year.