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April 6, 2011

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Coach Tanner
Peter Mooney

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (23-5, 7-2 SEC) will be back in action on Thursday as the Gamecocks begin a three-game SEC series at Tennessee (19-10, 2-7 SEC). First pitch for the opener is 7:30 p.m. and it is the inaugural SEC Game of the Week on ESPNU. Game two of the series is on Friday at 6 p.m. with the series finale on Saturday at Noon. Saturday’s game will be televised live on SportSouth. The game can also be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network. South Carolina is the consensus No. 3 team in the country in the latest rankings by Baseball America, Collegiate Baseball and the ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll.

Probable Starting Pitchers

South Carolina – Michael Roth (Jr. LHP) 6-1, 1.44 ERA, 50.0 IP, 12 BB, 50 SO
Tennessee – Rob Catapano (Sr. LHP) 2-1, 3.18 ERA, 22.2 IP, 6 BB, 16 SO

South Carolina – Colby Holmes (So. RHP) 2-0, 3.91 ERA, 23.0 IP, 8 BB, 21 SO
Tennessee – Steven Gruver (Jr. LHP) 3-3, 3.04 ERA, 47.1 IP, 10 BB, 49 SO

South Carolina – Forrest Koumas (Fr. RHP) 3-0, 2.10 ERA, 25.2 IP, 10 BB, 26 SO
Tennessee – TBA

All nine position starters for third ranked South Carolina had at least one hit with Christian Walker having a career night going 5-for-6 with a grand slam and five RBI as the Gamecocks defeated USC Upstate 18-2 on Tuesday evening in non-conference action at Carolina Stadium.

The Gamecock offense pounded out 20 hits in the victory. In addition to Walker’s five-hit evening, five more Carolina players tallied multi-hit games. Peter Mooney, Adrian Morales, Brady Thomas, Evan Marzilli and Robert Beary had two hits apiece. Walker’s five hits bested his previous career-high of four that he set twice last year. His five RBI tied a career-high that he set last year vs. Duquesne.

Sophomore right-hander Patrick Sullivan earned his first career win in his first career start. Sullivan went a career-high five innings and allowed one run on two hits and two walks while striking out a career-high six batters. He retired 10 consecutive batters before giving way to the bullpen.

South Carolina junior outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. did not play on Tuesday night. Bradley injured his back on Monday in the weight room. His status is uncertain at this time.

South Carolina continued the 2011 season with a non-conference win vs. The Citadel and a series sweep of Kentucky. Carolina has won all seven three-game series it has played this year.

At this point last season, South Carolina was also 7-2 in the SEC. After three weeks of conference play, the Gamecocks are in a four-way tie for first place in the conference with Alabama, Florida and Vanderbilt.

The South Carolina pitching staff continues to have success with a strong series against Kentucky. The Gamecock pitching staff allowed just five runs the entire weekend and Kentucky hit only .181 as a team with just three extra base hits. The staff ERA for the weekend was 1.61.

The South Carolina pitching staff has a tremendous weekend against the Gators in Gainesville. The Gamecock pitching staff allowed just six earned runs in 26 innings of play and the Gators hit just .217 in the series at McKethan Stadium. The staff ERA for the weekend was 2.08. The Gamecocks were not charged an error in both Friday’s and Sunday’s victories over the Gators as well.

For the season, the Gamecocks are hitting .296 (277-for-936) as a team with a .397 on-base percentage and a .470 slugging percentage, tops in the SEC. The team is among SEC leaders as well with 28 home runs. The Gamecock pitching staff owns a 2.70 ERA in 250.0 innings pitched with 233 strikeouts to 88 walks. Opponents are hitting just .216 against the squad.

South Carolina freshman right-hander Forrest Koumas earned SEC Co-Freshman of the Week honors. He pitched a career-high 6.1 scoreless innings in the 4-1 win over Kentucky. Koumas, who spent three days in the hospital earlier in the week due to an allergic reaction, was effective in his second career start as he limited the Wildcats to just two hits and one walk while striking out three batters. He is now 3-0 on the year. For the season, Koumas is 3-0 with a 2.10 ERA in 25.2 innings with 26 strikeouts. Opponents are only hitting .174 against him.

Junior left-hander Michael Roth was stellar in Friday’s victory over the Wildcats. Roth went eight innings and allowed one run on three hits while striking out six batters in the 3-1 win. For the season, Roth is 6-1 with a 1.44 ERA in a team-high 50.0 innings pitched. He has 50 strikeouts to just 12 walks and opponents are hitting only .216 against him.

Roth leads the SEC in innings pitched (50.0) is tied for the league lead with six victories, is second with a 1.44 ERA and third in strikeouts (50). He is also ninth in opposing batting average (.216).

All three games vs. Georgia were near-capacity crowds at Carolina Stadium. Friday’s game drew 8,069 fans, Saturday’s game the attendance was 8,105 and Sunday was an 8,012 mark. The three-game total was 24,186. That is the second highest three-game series total in Carolina Stadium history. There have been great crowds at Carolina Stadium this year including four sellouts already on the year. The Gamecocks had sellouts of 8,242 in the first two games vs. Santa Clara as well as the Friday victory over Clemson and the 4-3 10-inning win over Kentucky on April 2. For the season, the Gamecocks have a total attendance of 159,457 for an average of 7,248.

South Carolina’s top hitter for the weekend vs. Kentucky was junior shortstop Peter Mooney, who hit .444 (4-for-9) with four runs scored. He also walked twice and had two sacrifice hits. Mooney hit a solo home run in Friday’s 3-1 win and also tied a season-high with three hits in Sunday’s 4-1 victory.

Mooney went 2-for-4 with two runs in Tuesday’s win over USC Upstate. For the season, Mooney is batting .276 (29-for-105) with seven doubles, a triple and a homer.

Senior right-hander John Taylor has been a workhorse out of the bullpen for the Gamecocks. He leads the team and the SEC with 17 relief appearances and is 2-0 with a 0.73 ERA. Taylor was key in Sunday’s 4-1 win as he allowed just one run on three hits in 2.1 innings with four strikeouts and kept the victory in check after relieving Koumas. Taylor had two innings of no-hit ball to earn the victory in the 6-4 win over The Citadel.

Sophomore right-hander Matt Price was strong out of the bullpen with two saves and a win in three appearances for the Gamecocks. He has not allowed a run in 13 of 15 relief appearances for the season. Price pitched a scoreless ninth in the 6-4 win over The Citadel. He also went 3-up, 3-down in the 3-1 win on Friday vs. Kentucky. In Saturday’s win over the Wildcats, Price pitched two perfect innings to earn his third win of the year. For the season, Price is 3-2 with a 3.26 ERA with seven saves. He has 22 strikeouts in 19.1 innings, opponents hitting just .194 against him.

Top 10 Saves All-Time30  Rob Mosser (1990-93)28  Brian Beatson (1987-90)22  Blake Taylor (2001-02)22  Lee Gronkiewicz (1999-2001)20  Chad Blackwell (2004)19  Jason Pomar (1996-99)18  Scott Barber (1998-2000)17  Matt Price (2009-11)

The Gamecock bullpen has been a strength for this year’s team with 14 different pitchers providing relief appearances on the year. The bullpen has earned 10 wins and tallied nine saves heading into the Tennessee series. The group has a 2.99 ERA and 118 strikeouts in 111.1 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting just .210 against the pen.

Carolina’s bullpen came up big in relief in the rubber game victory vs. Florida as three relievers combined to shut the Gators down as Carolina rallied for a 4-3 win over Florida. Sophomore right-hander Colby Holmes went three scoreless allowing just one hit and striking out a pair of batters. Senior right-hander John Taylor followed and allowed just two hits in 1.2 scoreless. Sophomore right-hander Matt Price closed it down to get his second win of the year. He allowed just one hit in 2.1 innings with a strikeout.

Four South Carolina relievers also combined to limit Georgia to just one run on three hits in eight innings of work I as South Carolina defeated Georgia 8-3 to also win a rubber game. Gamecock freshman right-hander Forrest Koumas allowed just one run on two hits in 3.1 innings of work to earn the win. Senior right-hander John Taylor worked 2.1 hitless innings and tallied a strikeout, junior left-hander Bryan Harper struck out the lone batter he faced and sophomore closer Matt Price worked two scoreless innings with four strikeouts to pick up the save. The four relievers along with Gamecock starter Adam Westmoreland combined for 14 strikeouts, a season-high in a game for the Gamecock pitching staff.

Senior infielder Scott Wingo tallied the game-winning RBI single in the 2-1 victory over Georgia. Wingo is hitting .286 (24-for-84) on the year with 11 RBI and 18 runs scored. He was 2-for-3 with a run scored and a RBI in the 8-3 win over Georgia as well.

Wingo holds several career records that he continues to add to in his final season with the Gamecocks. Wingo is the 15th player in school history to play 200 or more games. Wingo played in his 200th in the 8-4 win over Wofford and now has played in 213 career games heading into USC Upstate game.

Wingo holds the school records for putouts and assists for a second baseman. He has fielded .971 in his career with just 28 errors. Wingo also holds the school career record for hit by pitches with 52 so far in his career.

All-Time Games Played List255 Michael Campbell  2003-04-05-06251 Landon Powell        2001-02-03-04238 Andrew Crisp      2005-06-07-08-09236 Mac White       1991-92-93-94223 Jeff Parnell        1990-91-92-93221 Trey Dyson      1999-00-01-02217 Derick Urquhart     1995-96-97-98213 Scott Wingo        2008-09-10-11

Sophomore first baseman Christian Walker is one of the top run producers for the Gamecocks. Walker had a career night in the 18-2 win over USC Upstate going 5-for-6 with five RBI and four runs scored and a grand slam home run.

On the year, Walker is hitting .364 (40-for-110) with 33 RBI and 30 runs scored. Walker homered and drove in a four runs in the 6-4 win over The Citadel. He also had a pair of RBI in Sunday’s 4-1 win over Kentucky.

Gamecock senior catcher Brady Thomas has started 20 games behind the plate for the Gamecocks. Thomas had three hits including a game-winning RBI single in the 4-3 10-inning win over Kentucky. Thomas is hitting .267 (23-for-86) for the season with three homers and 17 RBI.

Senior infielder Adrian Morales tied a school record for doubles in a game with three in the 4-3 win over Kentucky on Saturday. Morales reached base five times and was 3-for-3 in the win. He scored the game-winning run in the victory as well. He is the 24th player in school history to have three doubles in a game; the last was Christian Walker on May 2010 at Kentucky.

Morales leads the team with a .368 batting average (35-for-95) with 25 runs scored. Morales is seventh in the SEC with a .488 on-base percentage and 12th in the league with a .568 slugging percentage.

Junior outfielder Jackie Bradley Jr. drove in the first run of the game in the 3-1 win over Kentucky with a RBI base hit. Bradley is hitting .299 (29-for-97) for the season. He has a team-high six homers and 23 RBI with eight doubles and a triple as well. He has a .426 on-base percentage.

Bradley is second in the SEC with six home runs and sixth in the league with a .588 slugging percentage. He is also tied for eighth with 19 walks.

With a home run. Rhode Island, Bradley became the 24th player in South Carolina history to record 200 or more career hits with his home run on Wednesday vs. URI. Bradley currently has 207 career hits.

Junior outfielder Adam Matthews was 2-for-4 with two key doubles in the 4-3 win over Florida on Sunday. He also had a triple in Friday’s 9-2 win over the Gators. Matthews went 3-for-6 with a pair of homers and a career-high eight RBI in Tuesday’s 24-4 win over College of Charleston. The eight RBI was one short of the individual game school record at South Carolina. Six of his seven hits in last week’s five games were extra base hits (three doubles, a triple, two homers). For the season, Matthews is hitting .295 (26-for-88) with four doubles, two triples, two homers, 13 RBI and 24 runs scored.

Matthews has a strained left hamstring and his status is uncertain for this week.

Sophomore right-hander Colby Holmes made his first SEC start in the 4-3 win over Kentucky. In a no-decision, Holmes worked five-plus innings and allowed two runs on seven hits.

Holmes was also effective in his first start, a win vs. College of Charleston. Holmes earned his first win of the year as he went a career-high six-plus innings and tied career-high with six strikeouts. He allowed three runs on five hits with two walks. For the season, Holmes is 2-0 with a 3.91 ERA in 23 innings pitched. He has 22 strikeouts and opponents are batting .233 against him.

Junior outfielder Jake Williams had a strong series vs. the Gators batting .417 (5-for-12) vs. Florida. Williams had three hits and a solo homer in the 9-2 win on Friday vs. Florida and a game-tying single in the sixth inning of the 4-3 victory vs. the Gators on Sunday. For the season, Williams is hitting .298 (25-for-84) with two homers and 18 RBI.