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March 15, 2010

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Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina (11-4) will make its second trip to Greenville, S.C. this season with a Tuesday night non-conference tilt with Furman (6-9) scheduled for 7 p.m. at Fluor Field at the West End. The game can be heard live on the Gamecock Radio Network and at with Andy Demetra and Tommy Moody on the call. Tuesday’s game is the first of two meetings with Furman. South Carolina will host the Paladins on Tuesday, May 18 as well. South Carolina is ranked No. 16 this week by Baseball America as well as No. 23 by Collegiate Baseball.

Tuesday Pitching
South Carolina Nolan Belcher (So. LHP) 1-0, 1.04 ERA, 8.2 IP, 4 BB, 15 SO
Furman Barry Benton (Sr. LHP) 0-2, 12.96 ERA, 8.1 IP, 10 BB, 4 SO

Three two-out RBI hits from Whit Merrifield, Jackie Bradley Jr. and Kyle Enders were part of a three-run ninth inning as South Carolina rallied from an early four-run deficit to defeat Clemson 7-5 on Saturday Mar. 6 at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C. South Carolina is now 4-0 in all-time games at Fluor Field with three victories vs. Furman (2006, 2008, 2009) and one over Clemson (2010).

South Carolina continued the 2010 season winning all five games on the week with a pair of midweek victories vs. Valparaiso and a three-game sweep of Brown this past weekend. South Carolina is now 11-4 on the year including a 9-1 mark at home at Carolina Stadium.

Junior Whit Merrifield set a school record for consecutive games with a hit safely as he reached 26 in his hitting streak, besting the previous mark of 25 set by Greg Keatley in the 1976 season. Merrifield hit safely in the last 14 games of the 2009 season and the first 12 games of the 2010 season. The streak ended on Mar. 13 in the first game of the doubleheader against Brown. For the season, Merrifield is batting .313 (20-for-64) and has scored a team-high 20 runs and also has three HR and 13 RBI.

South Carolina pitchers Jimmy Revan, Matt Price and Parker Bangs combined to strike out 18 batters to tie a school single-game record in the 7-3 win over Valparaiso on Wednesday afternoon. The Carolina pitching staff was in command for most the afternoon on its way to the victory over the Crusaders. Price earned the win in relief of Revan with four scoreless innings and just one hit allowed while striking out eight and walking one. Bangs closed the game out striking out the side to preserve the win in his one inning of relief. Revan had seven strikeouts to two walks in four innings as the starter. The strikeout total of 18 is the seventh time in school history that the Gamecocks have reached the mark. The last time was on March 18, 2006 when six Gamecock pitchers totaled 18 in a win at Auburn.

Senior right-hander Blake Cooper worked six innings on Friday and allowed two runs on two hits with six strikeouts and four walks to earn the victory. He is 3-0 on the year. With the victory, Cooper now has 24 career victories and is tied with Bret Baynham (1978-81) for the 13th on the South Carolina career victories list.

Junior Parker Bangs figured in several games this week with both the bat and the arm. Bangs homered, was 3-for-4 and drove in a career-high four RBI in the 8-4 win over Brown in the first game of a doubleheader. He also helped close out the Wednesday game out of the bullpen with one perfect inning of relief and also hurled 1.2 scoreless innings in Sunday’s victory over Brown. In six relief appearances, Bangs has allowed just one hit in five innings of work and has eight strikeouts with a 0.00 ERA.

Junior reliever Jose Mata pitched a career-high six innings of relief in the 12-4 win over Valparaiso on Tuesday night. Mata allowed just one hit on two runs with four strikeouts to earn his first career victory with the Garnet & Black.

Senior right-hander Jay Brown earned his first victory of the season in relief of the nightcap in Saturday’s doubleheader. Brown settled in with a strong 4.1 innings of relief. He would yield just one run, a solo homer in the seventh inning and struck out four and walked none to earn the victory.

Eight different Gamecock pitchers have earned victories in the first 11 wins for Carolina this season. Cooper leads the way with a 3-0 record with freshman right-hander Matt Price owning a 2-0 record as well. Sophomore left-hander Michael Roth leads the team in appearances with eight on the season.

South Carolina pitchers lead the Southeastern Conference in a couple of categories. The Gamecock pitchers have allowed opponents to hit just .221 on the year in 133.2 innings pitched and the staff has 159 strikeouts as well, both best among SEC staffs.

Junior infielder Adrian Morales has been a consistent performer in the lineup through the first part of the season. Morales, who has started at both second base and third base, owns a 10-game hitting streak. He is batting .333 (13-for-39) with nine runs scored and 10 RBI as well as a .440 on-base percentage. He was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and three RBI in the 12-4 win over Valparaiso.

Junior infielder Scott Wingo had a wild day that included one of the more interesting stats you will see in baseball. Wingo made a combined eight plate appearances in both games of the doubleheader but had just one official at bat. He walked five times, was hit by a pitch and also had a sacrifice bunt. His hit by pitch set a school record as it was his 35th of his career, besting the previous mark of 34 set by Michael Campbell (2003-04-05-06) and Garris Gonce (2001-02). For the season, Wingo is batting .310 (9-for-29) with 14 runs scored. He has an on-base percentage of .571 with 12 walks and seven hit by pitches.

Senior catcher Kyle Enders went 3-for-5 with a career-high four RBI including a two-out RBI base hit in the 10th inning to lift South Carolina to a 6-5 win over Brown and sweep a three-game series. Enders has been another consistent bat as he owns a .404 batting average (19-for-47) with five doubles, seven runs scored and 10 RBI.

Senior catcher Brady Thomas has also shown sparks with the bat including a 2-for-3 day at the plate with a triple and three runs scored in the 7-3 win over Valparaiso. Thomas is hitting .360 (9-for-25) with five of his nine hits on the year, extra base hits (four doubles, one triple). Thomas also had two hits in the 10-7 win over Brown.

South Carolina is hitting .304 (157-for-516) as a team with a .972 fielding percentage on the year.