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April 13, 2010

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Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina (25-7) returns to action on Wednesday night traveling to Charleston, S.C. to face The Citadel with first pitch at 7 p.m. at Joe Riley Park. The game will be broadcast live on the Gamecock Radio Network and at Carolina enters fresh off a weekend series victory at Vanderbilt.

This week, South Carolina is ranked No. 5 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 10 by Baseball America and No. 13 in the USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll.

Carolina leads the all-time series history 118-46-1 including a 10-1 win vs. the Bulldogs on Mar. 30, 2010 at Carolina Stadium. The win was head coach Ray Tanner’s 600th at South Carolina as well.

Probable Starting Pitchers
South Carolina Colby Holmes (Fr. RHP) 2-0, 4.24 ERA, 17.0 IP, 8 BB, 17 SO
The Citadel Austin Pritcher (Fr. RHP) 2-1, 5.55 ERA, 24.1 IP, 13 BB, 10 SO

Friday, April 16 vs. Ole Miss (7 p.m.) (SportSouth)
Saturday, April 17 vs. Ole Miss (3 p.m.) (SportSouth)
Sunday, April 18 vs. Ole Miss (1:30 p.m.)
All times eastern

South Carolina belted a season-high five home runs and the Gamecock pitching staff recorded double-digit strikeouts for the 13th time this season as South Carolina defeated The Citadel 10-1 at Carolina Stadium.

Carolina tallied 13 hits in the game including the five home runs, tying a Carolina Stadium record for home runs in a single game. Robert Beary homered and finished 4-for-5 with a pair of RBI as well as a double. His four hits tied a season-high by a Gamecock player for hits in a game. Jackie Bradley Jr. also was 3-for-5 with a homer, two runs scored and three RBI. Whit Merrifield had a base hit to extend his hitting streak to 12 games. He has hit safely in 24 of 25 games this year. Jeffery Jones, Michael Roth and Scott Wingo also tallied home runs for the Gamecocks. Jones, Wingo and Merrifield are tied for the team lead with five home runs apiece.

Freshman right-hander Colby Holmes earned his first career victory after five innings of work. He allowed just one run on five hits with four strikeouts and one walk. John Taylor hurled two scoreless innings of work with a pair of strikeouts, Matt Price pitched a perfect inning of relief and struck out the side and Ethan Carter closed the game out with a perfect inning of relief with a strikeout. Holmes is now 1-0 on the year. Citadel starter TJ Clarkson suffered the loss and is now 1-2 on the year. He lasted only 1.1 innings and allowed six runs, four earned, on four hits with four walks and two strikeouts.

South Carolina went 3-1 this past week with a non-conference win vs. College of Charleston on Wednesday night and two victories in three games in a weekend series at Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks are now 25-7 on the year and 9-3 in SEC play. South Carolina is tied for the lead in league play with Arkansas and one game ahead of Florida in the SEC Eastern Division. The Gamecocks are the only SEC squad to have won all four of its conference series and have won seven consecutive SEC series dating back to 2009.

The Gamecock pitching staff leads the SEC in opposing batting average with opponents batting just .217 for the season. The staff also ranks second in the league in ERA (3.43) and strikeouts (309). The staff owns five shutouts on the year as well.

The staff has allowed five runs or less in 26 of the team’s 31 outings on the year. South Carolina is 23-3 for the season when allowing five runs or less.

The Gamecocks are batting .294 (321-for-1090) for the season with a .398 on-base percentage and .465 slugging percentage. South Carolina is 10-4 in games decided by three runs or less. Carolina is 22-1 for the season when leading entering the top of the seventh inning. South Carolina is also 18-1 for the season when scoring first in a game. In other superlatives, the Gamecocks are 21-2 when out-hitting its opponent.

Senior right-hander Blake Cooper continues to excel on Friday night for the Gamecocks. Cooper was effective in Friday’s 3-2 win over Vanderbilt. He ended up going 7.1 innings and allowed two runs, one earned, on two hits with three strikeouts and four walks to improve to 6-0 on the year. He is tied with three other pitchers for first in victories in the SEC (6) and also ranks second in the conference in opposing batting average (.195) and innings pitched (53.2). He also is seventh in the league in strikeouts (47) and ninth in ERA (2.85). Cooper now is tied for 10th on the all-time career victory list at Carolina with 27 career wins alongside Jason Haynie (1993-96).

South Carolina Career Victories List    45  Kip Bouknight   1998-01        (45-12)    36  Tim Lewis   1973-76                (36-6)    35  Aaron Rawl  2002-05        (35-15)    34  Earl Bass   1972-75                (34-3)    34  Greg Ward   1972-75                (34-13)    31  David Marchbanks 2001-03        (31-8)    31  Matt Threehouse1989-93        (31-14)    31  Dennis Lubert   1979-82                (31-9)    30  Mike Cook   1983-85                (30-8)    27  Blake Cooper  2006-09        (27-12)    27  Jason Haynie    1993-96        (27-18)

Junior Whit Merrifield continues to be one of the top bats in the Southeastern Conference. Merrifield had two hits including a game-winning homer to lead off Sunday’s 2-0 victory at Vanderbilt. He has hit safely in 31 of 32 games this year and currently owns a 19-game hitting streak. Merrifield is now tied for 15th on the all-time hits list at Carolina with 215 alongside Reese Havens (2006-07-08). He is also 10th on the all-time list in singles with 157. Merrifield is the only Gamecock player to have started all 32 games and is batting .353 (47-for-133) with seven HR and 24 RBI. He has a .428 on-base percentage and a .571 slugging percentage. Merrifield is third in the SEC in runs scored (40) and is tied for ninth in hits (47) as well as total bases (76). He is 18-for-47 (.383) in SEC games. Merrifield now sits tied for 16th on the all-time hits list at Carolina with 211. He is also approaching the Top 10 for runs scored and singles at Carolina. Earlier this year Merrifield set the school record for consecutive games with a hit. He hit safely in 26 straight games, 14 at the end of 2009 and the first 12 games of 2010.

Runs Scored    223 Derick Urquhart1995-96-97-98    215 Mike Curry  1996-97-98    212 Drew Meyer  2000-01-02    209 Mac White   1991-92-93-94    188 Justin Smoak  2006-07-08    182 Jeff Parnell    1990-91-92-93    181 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-06    176 Landon Powell    2001-02-03-04    174 Garrett Carter  1985-86-87-88    166 Ryan Bordenick  1995-96-97-98    166 Jim Curl     1978-79-80-81-------------------------------------------------    165 Whit Merrifield    2008-09-10
Singles 209 Drew Meyer 2000-01-02 201 Michael Campbell 2003-04-05-06 198 Mac White 1991-92-93-94 191 Andrew Crisp 2005-06-07-08-09 176 Derick Urquhart1995-96-97-98 172 Greg Jonson 1977-78-79-80 165 Dave Willman 1989-90-91-92 162 Mike Curry 1996-97-98 159 Landon Powell 2001-02-03-04 157 Whit Merrifield 2008-09-10 156 Skeets Thomas 1988-89-90 156 Hank Small 1972-73-74-75
Hits (200 or more) 303 Mac White 1991-92-93-94 299 Michael Campbell2003-04-05-06 285 Drew Meyer 2000-01-02 265 Landon Powell 2001-02-03-04 265 Derick Urquhart 1995-96-97-98 262 Andrew Crisp 2005-06-07-08-09 250 Mike Curry 1996-97-98 246 Justin Smoak 2006-07-08 245 Hank Small 1972-73-74-75 231 Dave Willman 1989-90-91-92 230 Skeets Thomas 1988-89-90 227 Jeff Barns 1985-86-87 225 Jeff Parnell 1990-91-92-93 224 Chris Boyle 1981-82-83-84 215 Whit Merrifield 2008-09-10 215 Reese Havens 2006-07-08 211 Ryan Bordenick 1995-96-97-98 210 Garrett Carter 1985-86-87-88 209 Burke Cromer 1989-90-91-92 207 Jim Curl 1978-79-80-81 206 Greg Johnson 1977-78-79-80 203 Greg Morhardt 1982-83-84 201 Brian Buscher 2002-03

South Carolina senior right-hander Jay Brown has earned SEC Pitcher of the Week honors. In his second career SEC start, Brown pitched a season-high 6.1 innings and combined with relievers Michael Roth and Matt Price to face the minimum in Sunday’s 2-0 victory at nationally ranked Vanderbilt to help the Gamecocks clinch the rubber game of a three-game SEC series.

Brown did not walk a batter and allowed just two singles. He also did not allow a batter to get past second base in the entire outing. It was the third longest outing in Brown’s career at Carolina. Brown, Roth and Price finished with a two-hit shutout, the first time since 2005 that Vanderbilt had been shutout at home in an SEC game. The loss was only Vanderbilt’s third of the season at home.

Brown is now 2-0 on the year and owns a 2.84 ERA in 25.1 innings pitched. Opponents are batting just .225 against him.

With the 2-0 win at Vanderbilt on Sunday afternoon, head coach Ray Tanner tallied his 1000th career victory. He is the fourth fastest active coach to tally 1,000 Division I victories in games played (Tanner is 1,000-446-3 in Division I, .691 winning percentage). He is 605-273 in 14 years at South Carolina (.689).

Freshman right-hander Matt Price earned a pair of saves at Vanderbilt last weekend. The freshman right-hander worked two perfect innings with three strikeouts to earn his fourth save of the season in the 2-0 win at Vanderbilt. Price also earned a save in Friday’s victory over Vanderbilt with 0.2 perfect innings of relief.

Price has been strong out of the pen for the Gamecocks with a 3-0 record and a 1.23 ERA in 13 appearances. He now has four saves on the year as well. Price has struck out 35 batters and walked just five in 22 innings pitched. Opponents are batting just .133 against him. All four of his saves have come in SEC play, the most among SEC relievers in SEC games. He is tied for fifth overall in the conference.

Senior first baseman/designated hitter Nick Ebert has hit safely in four straight games and hit his third home run of the season in Wednesday’s 6-3 win over College of Charleston. Ebert was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and three RBI in the victory over the Cougars. He has raised his batting average to .264 (19-for-72) and has a .409 on-base percentage.

South Carolina did not make an error in the Vanderbilt series, the first time this season that South Carolina went errorless in a weekend series. South Carolina owns a .975 fielding percentage.

Carolina’s pitchers faced a Vanderbilt team that came into the weekend series batting .340 for the season and the Gamecock staff limited the Commodores to 19 hits in three games.

Freshman reliever Ethan Carter continues to put together stellar appearances out of the pen. Carter is now 1-0 with a 0.71 ERA in 11 appearances and 12.2 innings pitched. He has 13 strikeouts and opponents are batting just .119 against him. Carter did not allow a run in 0.2 innings of relief in Friday’s win at Vanderbilt.

Depth has been a key ingredient for the Gamecocks this year. For the season, South Carolina has used 29 different starting lineups in 32 games. In addition, 13 different pitchers have accounted for the 25 victories on the year. Also, 16 position players have been in the starting lineup at least once this season. Production has come from all parts in the lineup as well as 12 different players have recorded double-digit RBI totals. Merrifield leads the team with 24 RBI with Adrian Morales behind him at 22 RBI.

Senior catcher Brady Thomas hit a pair of two-run homers in the 10-2 win over Mississippi State. He was 3-for-4 with four RBI and three runs scored in the win.

Thomas is batting .345 (20-for-58) with 12 of his 20 hits extra base hits (eight doubles, one triple, three homers). He has also driven in 15 runs on the year.

Junior Parker Bangs was 2-for-3 with two runs on Tuesday vs. College of Charleston and had a key three-run homer in Sunday’s win over Mississippi State. Bangs is 6-for-18 (.333) against SEC teams with a pair of HR an a team-high nine RBI in SEC games. For the season, he is bating .355 (11-for-31) with three HR and 13 RBI. Bangs also has 19 strikeouts in 12 innings pitched on the mound in a relief role.

Having recovered from a couple of injuries, sophomore outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. has also been a key part of the Gamecock lineup. Bradley went 4-for-9 (.444) with five walks and a hit by pitch in the series vs. Mississippi State. Bradley had an on-base pct. of .667 vs. the Bulldogs and scored six runs.

Bradley is batting .337 (29-for-86) on the year with a pair of HR and 14 RBI as well as 17 runs scored.

Junior right-hander John Taylor has been key out of the bullpen in recent outings. Taylor had six consecutive scoreless outings for the Gamecocks before allowing a run in Wednesday’s game vs. College of Charleston. He has a 3.86 ERA in 11.2 innings pitched and 11 appearances.

Sophomore outfielder Adam Matthews had a key three-run homer in the 11-5 win vs. Auburn and went 4-for-9 with four RBI and two runs scored in the weekend series vs. the Tigers. He was also 2-for-3 with a double, two runs scored and two walks in an 8-5 win over Georgia Southern.

Matthews owns a .301 batting average (28-for-93) on the year with seven doubles, two triples, two homers and 18 RBI.

Despite the loss on Saturday, Carolina received a strong relief outing from junior right-hander Jose Mata. The Gamecock reliever kept the team in the game with 4.2 scoreless innings of relief and just four hits allowed. Mata is 2-0 with a 2.04 ERA on the year in 13 appearances. He has pitched 17.2 innings and opponents are batting just .210 against him for the year.

Sophomore left-hander Michael Roth is second in the SEC in appearances with 17 for the season. Roth retired the lone batter he faced in Friday’s win at Vanderbilt and got a double play against Vandy in Sunday’s win as well. He has a 2.45 ERA and three saves in 11 innings pitched with 12 strikeouts.

Roth has also been a left-handed bat for the Gamecocks with eight plate appearances including a home run this year.

Junior right-hander Sam Dyson was stellar in a pitcher’s duel at Auburn and earned a victory in the 2-0 win over the Tigers that helped the Gamecocks clinch the series. Dyson pitched seven scoreless innings and struck out nine batters and walked none to help lead Carolina to the victory.

For the season, He is 2-2 with a 5.87 ERA. Dyson has 42 strikeouts and just six walks in 38.1 innings pitched.

Junior infielder Scott Wingo homered in the 10-1 win over The Citadel and he also had a homer in the 11-5 win vs. Auburn and finished the Auburn series with four hits and three runs scored. Wingo had the game-winning RBI double in the 2-0 victory vs. the Tigers.

He is hitting .318 (27-for-85) with 25 runs scored, four doubles, two triples, five HR and 19 RBI. He owns a .496 on-base percentage and a .588 slugging percentage.

He drove in a career-high four runs in the at Furman at Fluor Field and tied a career-high with three hits in the 8-3 win vs. Davidson. He was 3-for-9 with a homer in this weekend’s series vs. Tennessee.

Junior infielder Adrian Morales has been a clutch performer in the lineup through the first part of the season. Morales, who has started at both second base and third base, hit a key two-out RBI double in the 2-0 win at Vanderbilt in the ninth inning. Morales is second on the team in RBI with 22 on the year.