May 4, 2010
Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina (34-9) is back in action on Wednesday night hosting Winthrop (21-21) at Carolina Stadium with first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m. Live video broadcast is available at GamecocksOnline.com and the game can also be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network. South Carolina enters ranked No. 4 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 6 by Baseball America and No. 7 in the ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll.
This is the first meeting between the Gamecocks and Eagles since March 23, 1999 when Carolina defeated Winthrop 8-5 in Rock Hill, S.C. South Carolina leads the all-time series 14-6 as well.
Probable Starting Pitchers
South Carolina Colby Holmes (Fr. RHP) 2-0, 4.63 ERA, 23.1 IP, 10 BB, 22 SO
Winthrop Ken Monteith (So. RHP) 0-1, 10.50 ERA, 12.0 IP, 7 BB, 2 SO
South Carolina went 2-1 this past week winning two of three games in a weekend SEC series vs. Alabama. The Gamecocks are now 34-9 on the year and 16-5 in SEC play. The Gamecocks lead the Southeastern Conference by one game over Florida. The Gamecocks are the only SEC squad to have won all seven of its conference series this year. Carolina has won 10 consecutive SEC series dating back to last year.
IF YOU BUILD IT – THEY WILL COME
For the Alabama series, the three-game total attendance of 24,204 was the largest for a weekend series at Carolina Stadium in school history. The previous high was 23,220 vs. Georgia from May 14-16, 2009. Friday’s game of 8,145 was second highest for the season with Saturday’s 8,053 the third highest and Friday’s mark of 8,006 the fourth highest mark for the season. For the season, the Gamecocks have a total of attendance of 171,986, an average of 6,614 fans in 26 home games.
SOUTH CAROLINA AT THE PLATE
This past weekend was South Carolina’s best weekend series at the plate as the Gamecocks batted .379 (47-for-124) against the Crimson Tide. Carolina also tallied nine homers for the weekend; that is the most in a three-game series for the Gamecocks as well this year.
South Carolina is hitting .301 (442-for-1467) as a team on the year with the squad’s on-base percentage .401 and slugging percentage at .491 for the season. The Gamecocks have scored 324 runs with 88 doubles, 10 triples, and 57 homers.
CAROLINA STADIUM RECORD SET FOR HITS IN A GAME
South Carolina pounded out a season-high 25 hits setting a Carolina Stadium record for hits in a game with Kyle Enders driving in a career-high five runs on five hits and Brady Thomas batting 3-for-3 with four RBI as well as the Gamecocks defeated Alabama 20-15 on Sunday afternoon at Carolina Stadium.
The 25 hits were the most in the game by the Gamecocks this year. Eight Gamecock players tallied multi-hit games on Sunday. Enders is the first Gamecock player this year to tally five hits in a game, a career-high for the senior catcher. He also hit his first home run of the season. Thomas’ 3-for-3 day at the plate saw him tally his sixth home run of the year and second of the series. He also scored four runs on the afternoon. Whit Merrifield finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI. Adam Matthews was 2-for-3 with two RBI with Evan Marzilli also tallying two RBI with his first career home run. Jackie Bradley Jr. was 2-for-3 with a homer, three RBI and three runs scored. Scott Wingo also had two hits as did Christian Walker, who scored three runs. The 25 hits ties for the fifth highest mark in a game by a Gamecock team coached by Ray Tanner.
BRADY BUNCHES THEM TOGETHER
Senior catcher Brady Thomas had a clutch bat this weekend as he went 4-for-9 in the series vs. the Crimson Tide. Thomas won Friday’s 9-7 game with a two-out two-run homer in the bottom of the 11th inning. He then hit a pinch-hit three-run homer in the bottom of the fourth inning to tie the game at 8-8 and help key a six-run fourth inning that saw South Carolina regain the lead on the Crimson Tide. Thomas, in 28 games with 19 starts, is batting .338 (27-for-80) with six HR and 22 RBI. Also, 16 of his 27 hits are extra base hits on the year (nine doubles, a triple, six HR). He has a .700 slugging percentage.
Sophomore outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. put on a performance in Friday’s 9-7 win. Bradley was 3-for-5 with a triple, homer and four RBI as well as two assists from the outfield. Bradley has been hot at the plate recently and is leading the team with a .343 batting average (46-for-134) with five HR and 25 RBI in 34 starts. He also has stolen seven bases on the year.
Bradley has been invited to the 2010 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team Trials set for July 5-July 11 at the National Training Complex in Cary, N.C. Bradley will be fighting for a spot on the final 22-man roster that will be selected on Sunday, July 11. The team will then tour across the USA with the summer season culminating on July 30- Aug. 7 at the FISU World University Baseball Championships in Tokyo, Japan.
Bradley was impressive vs. Georgia batting .538 (7-for-13) in the series with a homer, three RBI and five runs scored vs. the Bulldogs. Bradley reached base five times with four hits including a homer and a game-winning RBI single in the top of the seventh inning as South Carolina held on for an 8-7 victory over Georgia in game two of the doubleheader. His four hits was a season-high as well.
Several former Gamecocks have played on the Collegiate National Team including most recently, Justin Smoak (2007), who made his Major League Baseball debut this past Friday with the Texas Rangers. In addition to playing for Team USA in 2007, Smoak also played on the 2009 USA Baseball World Cup team that won a gold medal last September at the IBAF World Cup. Smoak earned the 2009 Richard W. “Dick” Case Award recognizing him as USA Baseball’s Athlete of the Year. Smoak helped lead Team USA to the gold medal at the 2009 IBAF Baseball World Cup in September in Europe. He set a U.S. World Cup record with nine home runs in the event, and he was named to the All-World Cup Team as well as the event’s Most Valuable Player. Smoak finished the tournament with a .291 average, and in addition to pacing the team in home runs; he also topped the club with 22 RBIs and 16 runs scored. His performance earned him USA Baseball’s nomination for the USOC September Athlete of the Month award, and he was later named the 2009 IBAF Senior Athlete of the Year.
Current Major Leaguers and former Gamecocks Landon Powell (2002) and Adam Everett (1997) also represented the Red, White & Blue on the Collegiate National Team. Everett also was on the 2000 U.S. Olympic Team that won a gold medal at the Sydney Olympic Games.
South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner also has association with USA Baseball. He has served five stints with the Red, White & Blue including his latest in 2003 as head coach for the USA National Baseball Team. At the helm of some of the top freshmen and sophomores in the country, Tanner’s club finished with a 27-2 record, the best record for a U.S. National Team (.931 winning percentage) and won a silver medal at the 2003 Pan American Games. He was named the U.S. National Coach of the Year for his work that season. Prior to his head coaching stint, Tanner served as an auxiliary coach for the 2000 Olympic Team under Tommy Lasorda that won a gold medal at the XXVII Olympiad in Sydney, Australia. He was also an assistant with the 1995-1996 USA teams under former LSU coach Skip Bertman that culminated in a bronze medal win at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta, Ga. Tanner also served alongside former Mississippi State coach Ron Polk on Bertman’s staff. Tanner’s first stint with USA Baseball came as an assistant coach to the national team in the summer of 1993.
MORALES WITH A HOT BAT
Junior infielder Adrian Morales has also had a hot bat and has raised his batting average to .301 (40-for-133) on the year. Morales hit .400 (6-for-15) for the series with a pair of RBI and four runs scored. In SEC games, he is batting .311 with four HR and 20 RBI as well as eight doubles.
Morales had a career-high four hits and drove in a pair of runs and also scored three times in the 20-15 win over Alabama. He also doubled twice in the 9-7 win over the Crimson Tide.
WALKER ON THE OFFENSIVE
Freshman infielder Christian Walker hit .500 (5-for-10) against the Crimson Tide including a two-run homer in Saturday’s game. He also scored five runs in the series. He is hitting .288 (32-for-111) for the year with four HR and 25 RBI. Walker owns a .366 average (15-for-41) in SEC games.
Junior infielder Scott Wingo hit a solo homer in Friday’s win vs. Alabama and also had two doubles in the 20-15 victory vs. the Crimson Tide. He now leads the team with nine homers for the season. Wingo is hitting .306 (37-for-121) for the season and has a .465 on-base percentage to go along with a .612 slugging percentage.
MARZILLI HITS FIRST CAREER HOME RUN
Freshman outfielder Evan Marzilli hit his first career homer, a two-run shot, in the 20-15 win over Alabama. Marzilli has primarily been a defensive replacement with 39 games played and just seven starts. He has been effective at the plate though, batting .368 (14-for-38) and has also scored 16 runs.
THE PITCHING STAFF
Carolina’s pitching staff continues to be among the top in the nation sporting a 3.64 ERA in 385.2 innings pitched. The squad’s ERA ranks second best in the SEC with the squad leading the conference in opponents batting average allowing teams to be hitting at just a .227 clip on the year. Carolina also is second in the Southeastern Conference with 401 strikeouts.
In SEC contests, Carolina leads the conference in opposing batting average (.243) and is second best in ERA (3.89) and strikeouts (177).
BANGS TIES A SCHOOL RECORD
Junior Parker Bangs tied a South Carolina single-game record with three doubles in the 6-4 loss vs. Alabama. In a limited role at the plate, Bangs is batting .341 (14-for-41) with three HR and 15 RBI as well as six doubles.
South Carolina is now 29-1 for the season when leading entering the top of the seventh inning. South Carolina is also 23-3 for the year when scoring first in a game. In other superlatives, the Gamecocks are 27-3 when out-hitting its opponent. The Gamecocks are 14-6 in games decided by three runs or less.
Despite a no-decision vs. Alabama, senior right-hander Blake Cooper still sits atop the SEC with an 8-0 record. Cooper went 6.1 innings in the no-decision on Friday vs. Alabama and allowed four runs on 11 hits with three strikeouts and a walk. Cooper leads the SEC in innings pitched (77.0), is fourth in opponents batting average (.212), fifth in strikeouts (69) and eighth in earned run average (2.92).
Cooper has also been strong in SEC games with five wins that is tied with Drew Smyly of Arkansas for most conference victories. Cooper has pitched a SEC-high 52.1 innings and is second in strikeouts (45), fifth in opponents batting average (.219) and seventh in earned run average (2.75) in conference contests.
With the win, Cooper moved up on the all-time career victory list at Carolina with 29 career wins. He is currently 10th on the school career list. His 29 career victories is third highest among current players in Division I. Matt Ridings of Western Kentucky leads Division I with 33 career wins with Daniel Bibona of UC Irvine second with 30,
Cooper earned SEC Pitcher of the Week honors in a 5-0 win over Ole Miss. Cooper struck out a career-high 10 batters in the victory, his fifth complete game of his career but his first career complete game shutout. He allowed just four hits and one walk in the victory. The complete game shutout was the first by a Gamecock pitcher since Aaron Rawl on May 13, 2005 in a 2-0 win at Ole Miss.
South Carolina Career Victories Top 10 List1) 45 Kip Bouknight 1998-01 (45-12)2) 36 Tim Lewis 1973-76 (36-6)3) 35 Aaron Rawl 2002-05 (35-15)4) 34 Earl Bass 1972-75 (34-3) 34 Greg Ward 1972-75 (34-13)6) 31 David Marchbanks2001-03 (31-8) 31 Matt Threehouse 1989-93 (31-14) 31 Dennis Lubert 1979-82 (31-9)9) 30 Mike Cook 1983-85 (30-8)10) 29 Blake Cooper 2006-09 (28-12)
MERRIFIELD NAMED 2009-10 EARNEST BROOKS CO-MALE STUDENT ATHLETE OF THE YEAR AT SOUTH CAROLINA
Junior Whit Merrifield continues to be one of the top bats in the Southeastern Conference and recently received 2009-10 Earnest Brooks Co-Male Student-Athlete of the Year honors at South Carolina along with men’s golfer George Bryan IV.
Merrifield went 5-for-12 in the weekend series vs. Alabama. He now has 228 career hits that moves him up to 12th all-time on the hits list at Carolina. He is two shy of Skeet Thomas (1988-90) for 11th and three shy of Dave Willman (1989-92) for 10th in school history. Merrifield has hit safely in 40 of 43 games this year and has hit safely in 26 straight conference games dating back to last year. He is fifth in the SEC in runs scored with 51 for the season. He is the only Gamecock player to have started all 43 games this year. He is batting .339 (60-for-177) with eight HR and 26 RBI. His eight home runs tie for second highest on the team.
Merrifield has saved his best for SEC play as he owns a .378 average (31-for-82) in conference games with 24 runs scored as well as five home runs. That average is eighth best in the SEC in SEC games. He also has a .598 slugging percentage and a .474 on-base percentage; on-base is seventh best in the SEC and slugging is 11th.
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. He has made 161 consecutive starts for the Gamecocks dating back to March 7, 2008.
South Carolina Career ListsRuns Scored1) 223 Derick Urquhart 1995-96-97-982) 215 Mike Curry 1996-97-983) 212 Drew Meyer 2000-01-024) 209 Mac White 1991-92-93-945) 188 Justin Smoak 2006-07-086) 182 Jeff Parnell 1990-91-92-937) 181 Michael Campbell2003-04-05-068) 176 Landon Powell 2001-02-03-04T8) 176 Whit Merrifield 2008-09-10
Singles1) 209 Drew Meyer 2000-01-022) 201 Michael Campbell2003-04-05-063) 198 Mac White 1991-92-93-944) 191 Andrew Crisp 2005-06-07-08-095) 176 Derick Urquhart 1995-96-97-986) 172 Greg Jonson 1977-78-79-807) 168 Whit Merrifield 2008-09-10
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 1988-89-90 228 Whit Merrifield 2008-09-10 227 Jeff Barns 1985-86-87 225 Jeff Parnell 1990-91-92-93 224 Chris Boyle 1981-82-83-84 215 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
CARTER A RELIEF
Freshman reliever Ethan Carter continues to put together stellar appearances out of the pen. He has not allowed a run in 14 of 17 relief appearances this season. He is 2-0 on the year with a 2.70 ERA in 23.1 innings pitched. He has 27 strikeouts to just five walks with opponents batting just .205 against him.
South Carolina has been stellar defensively as the team has committed just 42 errors in 43 games with the squad fielding .975 for the season. In addition, the team has a .978 fielding mark in 21 SEC games with just 17 errors in conference contests.
THE PRICE IS RIGHT
Freshman reliever Matt Price is 3-0 with a 3.34 ERA in 29.2 innings pitched. Price also has four saves. He has 46 strikeouts to just nine walks with opponents batting just .196 against him for the season. He has not allowed a run in 12 of 18 appearances.
MATA THE STOPPER
The 9-7 win over Alabama featured junior right-hander Jose Mata, who struck out the lone batter he faced to earn the win in the 11-inning affair. Mata is now 4-0 for the season with a 1.52 ERA in 18 appearances and has 17 strikeouts in 23.2 innings pitched. Opponents are batting just .195 against him. He owns a scoreless innings streak of 13.0 right now.
MAKING AN APPEARANCE
Sophomore left-hander Michael Roth is tied for fourth in the SEC in appearances with 21 for the season. He has a 2.08 ERA and three saves in 13.0 innings pitched with 14 strikeouts. He has not allowed a run in 16 of 21 appearances for the year.
Roth has also been a left-handed bat for the Gamecocks with eight plate appearances including a home run this year.
Depth has been a key ingredient for the Gamecocks this year. For the season, South Carolina has used 37 different starting lineups in 43 games. In addition, 13 different pitchers have accounted for the 34 victories on the year. Also, 16 position players have been in the starting lineup at least once this season.