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March 1, 2010

Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina (4-2) returns home for a Tuesday night non-conference tilt with Presbyterian (1-6) at Carolina Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. with the game broadcast live on 107.5 FM “The Game” and on the Gamecock Radio Network. Live video broadcast is also available at along with live gametracker stats. South Carolina is ranked No. 13 by, No. 15 by Baseball America, No. 22 by Collegiate Baseball and No. 23 by USA Today/ESPN (Coaches) released Monday afternoon.

South Carolina and Presbyterian have played a pair of tight games in the past two years with Carolina coming out on top in two one-run contests. South Carolina won 2-1 in 10 innings on Mar. 10, 2008 at Sarge Frye Field and 6-5 on Mar. 9, 2009 at Carolina Stadium.

Probable Starting Pitchers

South Carolina Nolan Belcher (So. LHP) 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2.0 IP, 1 BB, 4 SO
Presbyterian Jesse Harmon (Sr. RHP) 0-0, 1.29 ERA, 7.0 IP, 0 BB, 10 SO

South Carolina-Presbyterian Series
Series Record: South Carolina leads 40-19
Series Began/Last Meeting: 1901/2009
Last Score: South Carolina (6), Presbyterian (5)
Current Winning Streak: South Carolina (5)

South Carolina continued the 2010 season winning one of three games in a weekend series at East Carolina. The Gamecocks took the opener 6-2 before falling to the Pirates 4-3 and 4-2 in the final two games. South Carolina was one out away from a series victory in Saturday’s game before three consecutive two-out base hits by the Pirates lifted ECU to a one-run victory.

Senior right-hander Blake Cooper continues to pitch stellar on the mound as he earned a victory in the 6-2 win over ECU … Cooper allowed just two runs on four hits while striking out four batters and walking two … He is now 2-0 on the year with a 3.00 ERA and has 12 innings pitched with 11 strikeouts and four walks allowed. Cooper now has 23 career wins, one behind Bret Baynham (1978-81) for 13th on the South Carolina career victories list. His 23 career victories tie him for the second highest total of current pitchers in the nation with wins.

Junior right-hander Sam Dyson worked four innings and allowed two runs on two hits with five strikeouts and one walk in a no-decision vs. East Carolina. Dyson has also been decent on the mound in 7.2 innings with 11 strikeouts to two walks and just two hits allowed in his first two games of the year. The opposing batters are hitting 0.080 against him, that is the lowest batting average among SEC leaders.

Another solid outing for the Gamecocks came from freshman left-hander Tyler Webb, who hurled 4.1 scoreless innings of relief in Sunday’s loss to East Carolina. Webb yielded jus two hits and struck out three batters. He has pitched 8.2 scoreless innings in his first two appearances with the Gamecocks. Webb is one of three players listed by the SEC for lowest earned run average (0.00).

Junior right-hander John Taylor earned his first career save with 1.1 scoreless innings of relief in Friday’s win.

After the first two weekends, the Gamecock pitching staff is 4-2 with a 3.08 ERA in 52.2 innings. The ERA is fourth best in the SEC. The staff has 61 strikeouts to 17 walks with opponents only hitting .238 on the year.

Whit Merrifield and Kyle Enders have hit safely in all six games this season with Merrifield extending a hitting streak that began last year to 20 games. He has now just five shy of the school record set by Greg Keatley (25; 1976). Enders is the team’s leading hitter with a .450 batting average (9-for-20) with four runs scored, three doubles and a pair of RBI as well as a .600 slugging percentage. His batting average is ninth best in the Southeastern Conference. Enders had a pair of doubles in the 6-2 win over the Pirates. Merrifield leads the team with nine runs scored and is tied for eighth in the Southeastern Conference. Junior outfielder Robert Beary also owns a five-game hitting streak and is batting .333 (7-for-21) on the year.

Junior infielder Scott Wingo is closer to a career school record as he was plunked twice on the weekend, moving him two shy of the school record for hit by pitches. Wingo has been hit 32 times in his career. The school record is 34 set by Garris Gonce (2001-02) and Michael Campbell (2003-04-05-06). Wingo is batting .400 (4-for-10) after the first six games with an on-base percentage of .625.

The Gamecocks saw the return to the lineup of first baseman Nick Ebert, who missed the first week of the season due to academic concerns. Ebert doubled in his first at bat and added four walks and three runs scored vs. the Pirates. He started all three games at first base. Sophomore outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. also returned to the plate in a hitting situation for the first time since surgery on his hand over two weeks ago and he collected a pinch-hit single in the top of the eighth inning in Sunday’s loss to East Carolina.

The Gamecocks have been consistently sound on the defensive end too with a fielding percentage of .987 through the first six games with just three errors in 231 chances. That percentage is currently the best in the Southeastern Conference.