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May 19, 2009

Hoover, Ala. – South Carolina baseball had four players earn second-team All-SEC honors in addition to two honorees on this year’s All-Freshman team and two players selected to the All-Defensive squad. Junior catcher Justin Dalles, junior first baseman Nick Ebert, junior shortstop Bobby Haney and junior outfielder DeAngelo Mack were named to the all-conference team announced by the league on Tuesday morning. Outfielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. and left-handed pitcher Nolan Belcher received All-Freshman team recognition with Haney and sophomore outfielder Whit Merrifield named to the All-Defensive team. The conference office also recognized senior pitcher Jay Brown on the 2009 SEC Baseball Community Service team.

Nick Ebert, who just yesterday earned National Player of the Week honors for his performance in the Georgia series, is among the league leaders in several categories. Ebert is second in the league in slugging percentage (.777), on-base percentage (.488) and walks (47), tied for second in home runs (22) and fifth in RBI (70). He his hitting .341 on the year as well. 12 of Ebert’s 22 HR have come in SEC contests with 38 RBI as well. Ebert’s honor gives Carolina’s its third consecutive year with an All-SEC player at first base. Justin Smoak earned All-SEC at first base in 2007 and 2008 for the Gamecocks.

Justin Dalles also put up big numbers for Carolina this year with a .301 average (47-for-156) to go along with 12 HR and 35 RBI in 48 games played. Dalles also hit .320 (32-for-100) in SEC games with eight HR and 22 RBI. Dalles is the first Gamecock catcher since Landon Powell in 2004 to be recognized on the all-conference team.

Bobby Haney has filled in nicely at the shortstop position following in the footsteps of last year’s second-team All-SEC shortstop Reese Havens. Haney has started all 56 games at shortstop and is batting .273 (54-for-198) with four HR, 27 RBI as well as 11 doubles. He is also fielding a crisp .953 with just 10 errors that led to his All-Defensive team recognition. Haney saved some of his best hitting for the conference season with a .307 average (31-for-101) in league games.

DeAngelo Mack currently owns a 17-game hitting streak and leads the SEC in hits with 83 on the year. Mack is batting .374 (83-for-222) for the season, third best in conference and has hit 14 HR with 56 RBI. Mack owns a .468 on-base percentage as well as a .640 slugging percentage. Mack has hit at a .336 clip in conference games. Mack leads the team with 26 multi-hit games. He also has 15 multi-RBI games.

In his first season in right field, Jackie Bradley, Jr. has been a consistent performer with 54 starts in 56 games played. Bradley is batting .338 (76-for-225) with nine HR and 41 RBI. Bradley is also hitting .328 in SEC games with six HR and 22 RBI in 30 conference games played. Bradley earned SEC Co-Freshman of the Week honors following his performance in the Gamecocks’ weekend sweep vs. Vanderbilt. Bradley, Jr. was stellar at the plate as he hit .643 (9-for-14) in the series with five runs scored, a homer and four RBI. He recorded three hits apiece in all three Carolina victories over the Commodores. Bradley also is the 2008-09 University of South Carolina Male New Student-Athlete of the Year.

Nolan Belcher has been a key component of the weekend rotation for Carolina this year. Belcher struck out a career-high 11 batters in the 7-4 win over the Georgia Bulldogs last Friday night. With the win, Belcher improved to 4-3 on the year with a 4.99 ERA. He has hurled 70.1 innings, opponents batting just .261 against him, 12th best in the conference. All four of his wins have come in conference play (Arkansas, at Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Georgia). Belcher hurled first career complete game in series-clinching victory over No. 14 Ole Miss. He limited the Rebels to just one run on nine hits in 8-1 win. He allowed just two runs in victories over nationally ranked Arkansas and nationally ranked Ole Miss.

Whit Merrifield has been as consistent as any player on this year’s team. Merrifield has been sharp in center field the entire season with a .969 fielding percentage with just five errors. Merrifield had a 1.000 fielding percentage in this year’s 30 conference games.

Jay Brown was a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and worked with the Midlands Reading Consortium as well as the Harvest Hope/SEC Food Drive and relief efforts in Louisiana for Hurricane Katrina Victims. Brown also attended the Martin Luther King, Jr. Service Event where he helped to coordinate the all day event. A team Captain for the baseball team Brown was the Brad Davis SEC Male Community Service Scholarship representative for South Carolina and received the President’s Award for South Carolina, which is the most prestigious award given out by the Athletic Department for a senior student-athlete who displays extraordinary talents in the areas of athletics, scholarship, leadership, and service.

Coaches are not permitted to vote for their own players, thus a unanimous selection earns 11 of the 12 first-team votes. The complete 2009 All-SEC Team follows:

SEC PLAYER OF THE YEAR - *Kent Matthes, AlabamaSEC PITCHER OF THE YEAR - *Louis Coleman, LSUSEC CO-FRESHMEN OF THE YEAR - Preston Tucker, Florida; Matty Ott, LSUSEC SCHOLAR-ATHLETE OF THE YEAR - Ben Jones, AuburnSEC COACH OF THE YEAR - Paul Mainieri, LSU                                                             * unanimous selection
FIRST TEAM1B - Rich Poythress, Georgia2B - Ross Wilson, Alabama; Josh Adams, Florida3B - Jake Smith, AlabamaSS - Josh Rutledge, Alabama; Brian Harris, VanderbiltC - Blake Forsythe, TennesseeOF - *Kent Matthes, AlabamaOF - Avery Barnes, FloridaOF - Jordan Henry, Ole MissDH - Blake Dean, LSUP - *Louis Coleman, LSUP - Austin Hyatt, AlabamaRP - Matty Ott, LSU
SECOND TEAM1B - Nick Ebert, South Carolina2B - Chris Bisson, Kentucky3B - Joseph Sanders, AuburnSS - Chris Wade, Kentucky; Bobby Haney, South CarolinaC - Justin Dalles, South CarolinaOF - Steven Liddle, VanderbiltOF - DeAngelo Mack, South CarolinaOF - Ryan Schimpf, LSUDH - Bryce Massanari, GeorgiaP - Scott Bittle, Ole MissP - Anthony Ranaudo, LSU; Drew Pomeranz, Ole MissRP - Billy Bullock, Florida
ALL FRESHMAN TEAM1B - *Preston Tucker, Florida2B - Riley Reynolds, Vanderbilt3B - Colby May, GeorgiaSS - Zach Osborne, TennesseeOF - Taylor Dugas, AlabamaOF - Mikie Mahtook, LSUOF - Jackie Bradley, Jr., South CarolinaDH - Aaron Westlake, VanderbiltP - Nick Routt, Mississippi StateP - Nolan Belcher, South CarolinaRP - *Matty Ott, LSU
ALL DEFENSIVE TEAMP - Trevor Holder, Georgia1B - Rich Poythress, Georgia2B - Ross Wilson, AlabamaSS - Bobby Haney, SC; Brian Harris, Vanderbilt3B - Jake Smith, AlabamaC - Micah Gibbs, LSUOF - Matt den Dekker, FloridaOF - Whit Merrifield, South CarolinaOF - Trent Mummey, Auburn