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May 10, 2010

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Columbia, S.C. – South Carolina (36-11) returns home to host Wofford (16-31) on Tuesday night with first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m. at Carolina Stadium. The game will be televised live on SportSouth and can also be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network and at This is the first of two midweek games at home as the Gamecocks also host Charleston Southern on Wednesday night.

South Carolina leads the all-time series history 69-23-1 over Wofford although the Terriers were able to defeat Carolina 16-8 last season at Carolina Stadium.

Probable Starting Pitchers

South Carolina Nolan Belcher (So. LHP) 2-0, 2.75 ERA, 19.2 IP, 10 BB, 24 SO
Wofford Cash Collins (So. LHP) 1-1, 6.11 ERA, 28.0 IP, 10 BB, 28 SO

South Carolina went 2-2 this past week winning a midweek non-conference game vs. Winthrop, 14-6, and winning one of three games in a weekend SEC series at Kentucky. The Gamecocks are now 36-11 on the year and 17-7 in SEC play. The Gamecocks are tied for first place in the Southeastern Conference with Florida. Carolina had won all seven SEC series this year and had won 10 straight conference series before the series loss at Kentucky this past weekend.

South Carolina sophomore left-hander Nolan Belcher will be making his fifth start of the season on Tuesday for the Gamecocks. Belcher is 2-0 on the year with a 2.75 ERA in 19.2 innings pitched. He has 24 strikeouts to 10 walks allowed. This will be Belcher’s first start since March 23 at Georgia Southern. He has victories over both Presbyterian and Furman this season.

Senior right-hander Blake Cooper became the 10th pitcher in school history to record 30 victories in a win on Friday night at Kentucky. He went 5.2 innings and allowed seven runs, three earned, on nine hits with three strikeouts and three walks. Cooper is now tied with Mike Cook for ninth on the USC all-time career wins list. On the year, Cooper leads the SEC with a 9-0 record. Opponents are batting just .224 against him. He leads the conference in innings pitched (82.2) is fifth in strikeouts (72), sixth in earned run average (3.05) and sixth in opponents batting average (.224).

Despite a loss on Saturday, junior right-hander Sam Dyson gave the Gamecocks another quality start. Dyson hurled his second complete game of the year and allowed two runs on six hits with eight strikeouts and four walks. He is now 4-4 on the year with a 4.30 ERA in 67 innings pitched. He is sixth in the SEC in opponents batting average (.254) and sixth in strikeouts (71).

Freshman Christian Walker is swinging a hot stick and owns a six-game hitting streak. He is also up to 12 multi-hit games, that ties for third on the team. Walker was 4-for-6 with three runs scored, four RBI and three doubles in the 13-9 win over Kentucky. The three doubles ties him for the school record for doubles in a game. Walker is hitting .323 (41-for-127) on the year with five HR and 32 RBI. He leads the Gamecocks in SEC games with a .396 average vs. conference foes.

Sophomore Jackie Bradley Jr. has been strong at the plate lately as well. Bradley had his first multi-homer game of his career in the 14-6 win over Winthrop. He was also 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI in the win on Friday at Kentucky. He is hitting .342 (51-for-149) for the season with seven HR and 31 RBI.

The Gamecock pitching staff continues to do well as the staff leads the SEC with a .234 opponents batting average. Carolina is also second in earned run average at 3.77 and second in strikeouts with 429 for the season. The staff also leads the conference in SEC games with a .248 opponents batting average and is also second in the conference in earned run average at 4.03 and strikeouts with 198 vs. league opponents.

South Carolina set a Carolina Stadium record on Wednesday vs. Winthrop with seven home runs in the 14-6 victory. The two teams combined for 31 hits with the Gamecocks tallying 17 and Winthrop finishing with 14 for the evening.

Freshman right-hander Matt Price picked up his fifth save of the season in Friday’s 13-9 win over Kentucky. Price worked 1.1 scoreless innings of relief with three strikeouts. For the season, Price is 3-0 with a 3.03 ERA in 32.2 innings pitched. He has 51 strikeouts to 12 walks. Opponents are batting just .186 for the season against him.

Junior Whit Merrifield is now ninth on the South Carolina career hits list with 232 just recently passing Dave Willman (1989-92). Merrifield is 13 shy of Hank Small (1972-75) for eighth at 245 hits. Merrifield is batting .328 (64-for-195) with a team-high 10 HR and 28 RBI as well as 56 runs scored. His 56 runs scored is second best in the SEC. Merrifield is hitting .333 for conference games (32-for-96) with five homers in conference play. Merrifield also tallied his first multi-homer game of his career in the 14-6 win over Winthrop.

South Carolina is now 31-1 for the season when leading entering the top of the seventh inning. South Carolina is also 23-5 for the year when scoring first in a game. In other superlatives, the Gamecocks are 28-3 when out-hitting its opponent. The Gamecocks are 14-7 in games decided by three runs or less.