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April 15, 2010

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Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina (26-7, 9-3 SEC) is back in SEC action this weekend hosting a three-game series vs. Ole Miss (23-11, 7-5 SEC) beginning on Friday night at 7 p.m. at Carolina Stadium. The game will be televised live on SportSouth. Saturday’s game will also be televised on SportSouth and is scheduled for 3 p.m. The Sunday series finale is set for 1:30 p.m. All three games can also be heard at and on the Gamecock Radio Network.

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. Ole Miss enters ranked No. 14 by Baseball America and No. 18 in both the Collegiate Baseball poll and USA Today/ESPN coaches’ poll.

Probable Starting Pitchers

South Carolina Blake Cooper (Sr. RHP) 6-0, 2.85 ERA, 53.2 IP, 20 BB, 47 SO
Ole Miss Drew Pomeranz (Jr. LHP) 6-0, 1.57 ERA, 51.2 IP, 20 BB, 80 SO

South Carolina Sam Dyson (Jr. RHP) 2-2, 5.87 ERA, 38.1 IP, 6 BB, 42 SO
Ole Miss Austin Barrett (Sr. RHP)6-1, 1.90 ERA, 52.0 IP, 21 BB, 63 SO

South Carolina Jay Brown (Sr. RHP) 2-0, 2.84 ERA, 25.1 IP, 10 BB, 22 SO
Ole Miss TBA

Scott Wingo homered twice and drove in three runs and the Gamecocks pounded out nine hits on its way to a 10-4 victory over The Citadel on Wednesday evening at Joe Riley Park in non-conference baseball action. The Gamecocks improve to 26-7 for the season while the loss drops The Citadel to 23-13 for the year.

Gamecock reliever John Taylor earned the win in relief to improve to 2-1 for the season. He allowed one run, unearned, on one hit in 2.1 innings of work with three strikeouts and one walk. The Citadel starter Austin Pritcher suffered the loss and is now 2-2 for the season. He allowed six runs, one earned, on five hits in 4.2 innings with three strikeouts and two walks allowed.

Trailing 2-1 entering the top of the fifth inning, the Gamecocks would score five runs and chase starting pitcher Austin Pritcher to take a 6-2 lead on the Bulldogs. Evan Marzilli led off with a double and with one out scored as Scott Wingo reached base on a fielding error by Citadel first baseman Justin Mackert. That error would come back to haunt The Citadel as Carolina scored four more of its runs with two outs. Jackie Bradley Jr. tallied a RBI double, Jeffery Jones drove in a pair with a RBI double as well and Nick Ebert tallied a RBI single as the Gamecocks built a four-run cushion. Scott Wingo increased the Gamecock lead to 7-2 in the top of the sixth with a solo homer his second of the game. The last Gamecock player to hit two home runs in one game was Brady Thomas on April 2, 2010 in a 10-2 win over Mississippi State.

After The Citadel scored a run in the bottom of the sixth, the Gamecocks came back with three runs in the top of the eighth inning. Nick Ebert opened the inning with a walk and Adam Matthews set down a sacrifice bunt but would reach base as third baseman David Greene threw wide allowing the runners to advance to second and third respectively. Adrian Morales would drive in Ebert with a RBI single. On the play left fielder William Ladd misplayed the single allowing Matthews to also score from second base. Wingo would eventually drive in his third run of the game with a RBI single that scored Morales. The Citadel scored a single run in the ninth inning as Josh Pless tripled and scored on Matt Reifsnider’s RBI ground out.

South Carolina out-hit The Citadel 9-7 with Ebert 2-for-3 and Wingo 3-for-4 to lead the Gamecocks. Bryan Altman went 2-for-4 with two runs to lead The Citadel.

South Carolina leads the series history with Ole Miss 27-17 including series victory over the Rebels the last two seasons. Carolina defeated Ole Miss in two of three games last year in Oxford as well as two of three games in 2008 at Sarge Frye Field in Columbia. Last season, the Gamecocks won the first two games vs. Ole Miss with the Rebels salvaging game three on Sunday.

In the series opener last year, Whit Merrifield had a career day at the plate going 5-for-6 and Justin Dalles went 3-for-4 with a homer and four RBI as South Carolina defeated Ole Miss 12-10. Carolina tagged Ole Miss starting pitcher Drew Pomeranz in the first two innings and jumped out to a 9-2 lead on the Rebels. Pomeranz lasted only 1.2 innings and allowed nine runs, four earned, on seven hits with two strikeouts and one walk. South Carolina starting pitcher Sam Dyson was effective in 5.2 innings as he allowed just seven runs, five earned, on eight hits with six strikeouts and four walks to pick up the victory.

In game two of the series, left-handed pitcher Nolan Belcher hurled his first complete game and backed by a two-homer game by Bobby Haney and another home run by Nick Ebert earned an 8-1 victory Ole Miss. Belcher kept the opponent at bay as he scattered nine hits vs. the Rebels throughout nine innings. Belcher also ended an inning with a pickoff at second base and the Gamecocks twice ended frames with catcher Justin Dalles throwing out a runner trying to steal second base. Belcher struck out eight and walked three as well.

In the series finale, Ole Miss scored six unanswered runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings on its way to a 6-1 victory over South Carolina. Ole Miss starting pitcher Scott Bittle worked six-plus innings to earn the victory. He allowed one run on four hits with seven strikeouts and two walks. Carolina starting pitcher Blake Cooper suffered the loss. Cooper allowed five runs, four earned, on nine hits with four strikeouts and two walks in 6.2 innings.

South Carolina - Ole Miss Series HistorySeries Record: South Carolina leads 27-17Runs:  South Carolina 289, Ole Miss 242
Date Winning Team Score Site4/1/1994Ole Miss 7-4 Oxford4/2/94 Ole Miss 12-1 Oxford4/3/94 South Carolina 5-2 Oxford3/31/95 Ole Miss 5-1 Columbia4/1/95 South Carolina 6-5 Columbia4/2/95 Ole Miss 20-3 Columbia3/15/96 South Carolina 17-1 Oxford3/16/96 South Carolina 17-11 Oxford3/17/96 South Carolina 22-12 Oxford3/14/97 South Carolina 10-2 Columbia3/15/97 South Carolina 13-6 Columbia3/16/97 South Carolina 16-4 Columbia4/3/98 South Carolina 10-8 Oxford4/4/98 South Carolina 4-2 Oxford4/5/98 South Carolina 9-7 Oxford3/12/99 South Carolina 5-3 Columbia3/13/99 South Carolina 8-2 Columbia3/14/99 Ole Miss 9-7 Columbia5/20/99 Ole Miss 2-0# Hoover5/3/2002South Carolina 17-12 Columbia5/4/02 South Carolina 6-4 Columbia5/5/02 Ole Miss 4-2 Columbia4/25/03 Ole Miss 6-5 Oxford4/26/03 South Carolina 13-2 Oxford4/27/03 Ole Miss 2-0 Oxford4/30/04 South Carolina 7-3 Columbia5/1/04 Ole Miss 6-1 Columbia5/2/04 South Carolina 3-0 Columbia5/26/04 South Carolina 7-6 (10)#Hoover5/13/05 South Carolina 2-0 Oxford5/14/05 Ole Miss 7-2 Oxford5/15/05 Ole Miss 8-4 Oxford4/14/06 South Carolina 1-0 Columbia4/15/06 South Carolina 6-3 Columbia4/16/06 Ole Miss 11-6 Columbia4/20/07 Ole Miss 8-5 Oxford4/21/07 Ole Miss 6-0 Oxford4/22/07 South Carolina 11-9 Oxford4/18/08 South Carolina 6-2 Columbia4/19/08 Ole Miss 5-2 Columbia4/20/08 South Carolina 4-1 Columbia4/10/09 South Carolina 12-10 Oxford4/11/09 South Carolina 8-1 Oxford4/12/09 Ole Miss 6-1 Oxford# -- Southeastern Conference Tournament

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 and also leads the league with 319 strikeouts. The staff ranks second in the league in ERA (3.42) and owns five shutouts on the year as well.

The staff has allowed five runs or less in 27 of the team’s 32 outings on the year. South Carolina is 24-3 for the season when allowing five runs or less.

The Gamecocks are batting .293 (330-for-1127) for the season with a .395 on-base percentage and .466 slugging percentage. South Carolina is 10-4 in games decided by three runs or less. Carolina is 23-1 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 22-2 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 Threehouse 1989-93        (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. Despite his 19-game hitting streak being snapped on Wednesday night at The Citadel, Merrifield has been a productive bat as he has hit safely in 31 of 33 games this year. Merrifield is 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 33 games and is batting .341 (47-for-138) with seven HR and 24 RBI. He has a .414 on-base percentage and a .551 slugging percentage. Merrifield is third in the SEC in runs scored (40). He is 18-for-47 (.383) in SEC games.

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 Urquhart 1995-96-97-98    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 Whit Merrifield    2008-09-10    166 Ryan Bordenick  1995-96-97-98    166 Jim Curl     1978-79-80-81
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 Urquhart 1995-96-97-98 172 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 Campbell 2003-04-05-06 285 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 1,001-446-3 in Division I, .691 winning percentage). He is 606-273 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 five straight games including a 2-for-3 day at the plate in the 10-4 win at The Citadel. He has raised his batting average to .280 (21-for-75) and has a .429 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 .974 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. He has not allowed a run in 11 of 12 relief appearances this season. Carter is now 1-0 with a 0.64 ERA and 14.0 innings pitched. He has 14 strikeouts and opponents are batting just .109 against him.

Depth has been a key ingredient for the Gamecocks this year. For the season, South Carolina has used 30 different starting lineups in 33 games. In addition, 13 different pitchers have accounted for the 26 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 with 23 RBI and Jeffery Jones and Scott Wingo with 22 apiece.

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 .333 (20-for-60) 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 .333 (30-for-91) on the year with a pair of HR and 15 RBI as well as 18 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 last Wednesday’s game vs. College of Charleston. Taylor earned his second win of the year and did not allow an earned run in 2.1 innings with three strikeouts in the 10-4 win at The Citadel. He has a 3.21 ERA in 14.0 innings pitched and 12 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 .292 batting average (28-for-96) on the year with seven doubles, two triples, two homers and 18 RBI.

Despite the 8-2 loss at Vanderbilt, 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 2.00 ERA on the year in 14 appearances. He has pitched 18.0 innings and opponents are batting just .210 against him for the year.

Sophomore left-hander Michael Roth is tied for 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 twice in a game for the first time in his career in the 10-4 win at The Citadel. He also drove in three runs in the victory. Wingo 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 .337 (30-for-89) with 27 runs scored, four doubles, two triples, seven HR and 22 RBI. He owns a .504 on-base percentage and a .663 slugging percentage that puts him among the SEC leaders.

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 and had a key RBI single in the 10-4 win at The Citadel. Morales is second on the team in RBI with 23 on the year.