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April 9, 2009

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Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina (21-11, 5-7 SEC) heads back on the road for a weekend SEC series at Ole Miss (24-8, 8-4 SEC) beginning on Friday night at 7:30 p.m. ET at Swayze Field. Ole Miss ranks as high as No. 14 in the nation and owns an eight-game winning streak heading into the series. All three games can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network and at with Mike Morgan and Tommy Moody calling the action.

South Carolina took two of three games vs. the Rebels last year. South Carolina won 6-2 in the series opener, fell 5-2 in the Saturday game and won the series with a 4-1 win in the rubber game on Sunday. The rubber game win featured a complete game from right-handed pitcher Blake Cooper, who would pick up SEC Pitcher of the Week honors after a six-hitter in the win.

South Carolina leads the series history 25-16. Carolina head coach Ray Tanner is 20-12 (.625) all-time as head coach at Carolina vs. the Rebels.

Pitching Rotations (probable starters)

SC Sam Dyson (RHP, So.) – 4-2, 4.85 ERA, 42.2 IP, 20 BB, 40 K
UM Drew Pomeranz (LHP, So.) – 3-0, 3.09 ERA, 32.0 IP, 16 BB, 32 K

SC Nolan Belcher (LHP, Fr.) – 1-1, 4.50 ERA, 32.0 IP, 18 BB, 31 K
UM Phillip Irwin (RHP, Jr.) – 5-1, 2.93 ERA, 43.0 IP, 6 BB, 31 K

SC Blake Cooper (RHP, Jr.) – 4-2, 4.42 ERA, 38.2 IP, 13 BB, 31 K
UM Scott Bittle (RHP, Sr.) – 2-2, 2.03 ERA, 26.2 IP, 13 BB, 42 K

South Carolina split a pair of midweek games with rival Clemson. The Gamecocks won on Tuesday at home 7-6 and fell on Wednesday night at Clemson, 7-5.

Tuesday’s 7-6 win featured the Gamecocks rallying from a run down in the ninth inning. DeAngelo Mack tallied a two-run single with one out in the bottom half of the ninth to seal the comeback victory. Curtis Johnson hurled 2.1 scoreless innings of relief to pick up a win out of the bullpen. Clemson scored three runs in both the third and fifth innings to earn the 7-5 victory over the Gamecocks in the Wednesday contest.

South Carolina has defeated Clemson in two of three games this year and nine of the last 11 games played between the two schools dating back to the beginning of the 2007 season.

Junior first baseman Nick Ebert tallied his first multi-homer game of his career at Carolina and the third by a Gamecock player this season in the 9-1 win over Arkansas. Ebert is second on the team with a .348 average (31-for-89) and has 11 HR and 33 RBI. He has a team-high 10 multi-RBI games. His slugging percentage of .798 is third best in the SEC with his on-base percentage of .504 fourth best in the conference. He has also walked a team-high 27 times, tied for third highest in the conference. He also owns a .350 average (14-for-40) in SEC games.

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 is the team’s best hitter with a .361 average (44-for-122) and has 36 RBI. Mack went 2-for-4 with a homer and four RBI in the 7-6 win vs. Clemson on April 7. He followed that game up with a 1-for-3 day at the plate on April 8 vs. the Tigers and reached base three times in the game. He has team-high 14 multi-hit games.

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.

Probable Starting LineupPos.    Player  09 Stats (Avg-HR-RBI)   NotesC   Justin Dalles (Jr.)  .310-5-17   4-for-9 series vs. Arkansas
1B Nick Ebert (Jr.) .348-11-33 Multi-homer game in 9-1 win over Arkansas
2B Scott Wingo (So.) .194-3-11 Hit a solo home run in 7-6 win over Clemson
SS Bobby Haney (Jr.) .256-1-13 6-for-15 in last week's games/three RBI vs. Furman
3B Andrew Crisp (Sr.) .302-8-24 14th on USC All-Time list in hits
LF DeAngelo Mack (Jr.) .361-9-36 Game-winning two-run single in 7-6 win over Clemson
CF Whit Merrifield (So.) .297-5-23 Two-run homer Friday vs. Arkansas/team-high 10 doubles
RF Jackie Bradley, Jr. (Fr.).313-6-17 Second highest total of multi-hit games with 12
DH Parker Bangs (So.) .293-2-14 Solo home run in 7-6 win over Clemson or Kyle Enders (Jr.) .294-2-5 Has started eight games at catcher and designated hitter
(note probable starting lineup comes from SID)

South Carolina has been getting off to the quick start this year outscoring its opponent 77-25 in the first two innings. South Carolina is 12-6 on the year when scoring first in a game including a 13-4 mark when scoring in the first inning.

The Gamecocks sport a 19-2 record when out-hitting its opponent

The Gamecocks continue to lead the SEC in fielding with a .975 fielding percentage and just 30 errors on the year. South Carolina also leads the SEC in the opposing batting average category as Gamecock pitchers have limited opponents to a .243 batting average on the year.

The team is hitting .299 (327-for-1095) on the year with 55 HR and 213 RBI. The team is pitching with a 5.04 ERA in 282.1 innings with 264 strikeouts to 154 walks.

South Carolina has homered in 26 of 32 games this year with a total of 55. The team hit season-high six homers in the 20-19 victory over Kentucky. Carolina is 19-7 when hitting at least one home run in a game.

THE ACE – Sam Dyson
Sophomore right-hander Sam Dyson has established himself as the ace of the Gamecock pitching staff. Dyson is 4-2 on the year and owns a 4.85 ERA and has a team-high 40 strikeouts in 42.1 innings pitched. Opponents are batting just .208 against him.

Sophomore outfielder Whit Merrifield was 7-for-20 (.350) in the five games last week with six runs scored, a homer and five RBI. He also stole three bases. Merrifield had four hits and four runs scored vs. Arkansas.

He is hitting .297 on the year (38-for-128) with a team-high 10 doubles, 32 runs scored, five HR and 23 RBI. He also leads the team with 11 stolen bases.

Freshman left-handed pitcher Nolan Belcher turned in this best appearance of his young career this weekend in the 9-1 victory over Arkansas. Belcher allowed just one run on four hits in a career-high 8.1 innings and struck out a career-high nine batters and walked just three. He did not allow a hit until the sixth inning in the game. He earned his first victory and improved to 1-1 on the year. He owns a 4.50 ERA and has struck out 31 batters in 32 innings pitched with opponents only batting .250 against him. Belcher sports a 3.33 ERA as well in four SEC games, that is ninth best in the league.

Senior infielder Andrew Crisp continues to reach milestones as he has now played in 207 career games in a Gamecock uniform. Crisp has started all 32 games this year at third base and is batting .302 (39-for-129) with eight HR and 24 RBI.

Crisp also hit well 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.

He also has a .327 average (16-for-49) in SEC games. He has 10 multi-hit games and seven multi-RBI games.

1) 303 Mac White 1991-92-93-942) 299 Michael Campbell2003-04-05-063) 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) 219 Andrew Crisp 2005-06-07-08-09
SC All-Time Singles List
1) 209 Drew Meyer 2000-01-022) 201 Michael Campbell2003-04-05-063) 198 Mac White 1991-92-93-944) 176 Derick Urquhart 1995-96-97-985) 172 Greg Jonson 1977-78-79-806) 166 Andrew Crisp 2005-06-07-08-09
SC All-Time Games Played List
1) 255 Michael Campbell2003-04-05-062) 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) 207 Andrew Crisp 2005-06-07-08-09

Freshman outfielder Adam Matthews hit the first Gamecock inside the park home run in eight years in the 9-1 win last Saturday vs. Arkansas. The last time a Gamecock hit and inside the park home run was Garris Gonce on May 19, 2001 in South Carolina’s 7-6 win over Mississippi State at the SEC Tournament in Hoover, Ala. Matthews finished 2-for-2 with two RBI in the victory, his first multi-hit game of the season.

Matthews is hitting .385 (10-for-26) in 19 games played and has made five starts as well. He has three stolen bases.

Junior catcher Justin Dalles hit .444 (4-for-9) in the Arkansas series and had three walks as well for a .583 on-base percentage.

Dalles is hitting .310 (27-for-87) on the year with five HR and 17 RBI. He is also hitting .343 in SEC games (12-for-35).

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 last 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 .313 average (41-for-131) with six HR and 17 RBI. He also leads the team in run scored with 33.

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 10 appearances out of the pen this year, sporting a 3-2 record with five saves. He has 24 strikeouts in 20.2 innings; opponents are only batting .194 against him.