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April 11, 2011

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Columbia, S.C. – Third ranked South Carolina (26-5) is back on the road Tuesday night with a non-conference tilt at The Citadel (12-20). First pitch at Joe Riley Park is set for 7 p.m. The game will be available on the Gamecock Radio Network and at with Andy Demetra and Tommy Moody on the call. This is South Carolina’s second meeting vs. the Bulldogs. Carolina defeated The Citadel 6-4 on March 30 in Columbia.

Probable Starting Pitchers

South Carolina – Steven Neff (Jr. LHP) 2-0, 2.49 ERA, 21.2 IP, 6 BB, 18 SO
The Citadel – TBA

South Carolina’s pitching staff had its best weekend of the season with just one run allowed in 27 innings pitched at Tennessee. The Volunteers has just 15 hits for three games with a .179 batting average and Carolina finished with 24 strikeouts and just six walks allowed as well.

In 12 SEC games this year, Carolina’s pitching staff has compiled a 10-2 record and a 1.58 ERA. Through conference play opponents have just 21 runs, 19 earned, on 69 hits in 108 innings and are hitting just .189 against the Gamecocks. That 1.58 ERA and the .189 opponents batting average, leads the SEC in SEC games.

For the season, Carolina’s pitching staff is at a team ERA of 2.47. Opponents are hitting just .213 against the staff and the team has 257 strikeouts to just 94 walks in 277 innings pitches. 10 of 14 Gamecock pitchers who have seen action have ERAs at 3.00 or less. The team’s ERA ranks third in the SEC while the opposing average is best in the conference.

Junior left-hander Michael Roth leads the SEC in earned run average (1.25) and innings pitched (57.2). He is tied with Sonny Gray of Vanderbilt with a league-high seven victories and sits at third right now with 54 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting just .219 against him as well, seventh best in the SEC. Roth allowed no runs on six hits in 7.2 innings and had four strikeouts to just one walk in Thursday’s 4-0 win at Tennessee.

Sophomore right-hander Matt Price showed why he is one of the game’s best closers, as he picked up saves in all three games this weekend vs. the Volunteers. With three saves, Price has vaulted himself into a tie for fifth on the all-time saves list at Carolina with Chad Blackwell (2004) at 20 career saves. Price is 3-2 on the year with a 2.82 ERA and 10 saves in 22.1 innings with 26 strikeouts to just six walks. He has not allowed a run in 16 of 18 relief appearances for the season.

Senior infielder Scott Wingo has come on with the bat as of late and was 6-for-10 (.600) in the Tennessee series with a .636 on-base percentage as a well as a sacrifice and a stolen base. Wingo leads the team in SEC games with a .359 average (14-for-39) in 12 league games. For the season Wingo is hitting .320 (31-for-97), third highest on the team, with three HR, 13 RBI as well as 22 runs scored. He has a .459 on-base percentage for the year. Wingo has played in 216 career games and is one short of tying Derick Urquhart (1995-98) for seventh on the Carolina all-time list at 217. Wingo has played stellar defense as well with a .982 fielding percentage and just three errors this year in 168 chances.

For the season, the Gamecocks are hitting .290 (299-for-1031) as a team with a .456 slugging percentage, tops in the SEC. The team also leads the SEC with 30 home runs. Carolina also has a .390 on-base percentage.

Sophomore first baseman Christian Walker has been the top run producer for the Gamecocks as he leads the team with a .352 batting average as well as seven HR and 37 RBI. He currently leads the SEC with 37 RBI and is second with his seven home runs. Walker also sits at third with a .631 slugging percentage and has a .420 on-base percentage. His two-run homer helped lift Carolina to a 2-0 victory over Tennessee and he also had the game-winning RBI single in the 2-1 win over the Volunteers. Walker had a career night on Wednesday in the 18-2 win over USC Upstate as he went 5-for-6 with a grand slam and five RBI in the victory.

After earning SEC Co-Freshman of the Week honors last week, right-hander Forrest Koumas served up an encore top performance as the Gamecock righty worked a career-high 7.1 innings and struck out a career-high seven batters and the Gamecocks rallied with two runs in the sixth inning to come from behind and defeat Tennessee 2-1 to sweep a three-game SEC baseball series at Lindsey Nelson Stadium. After yielding a run in the first inning, Koumas settled in and limited the Vols to just three hits on the afternoon and two walks while tallying seven strikeouts. He improves to 4-0 on the year with the win. He has a 1.91 ERA in 10 appearances and 33 innings pitched. He also has 33 strikeouts and opponents are hitting just .168 against him.

Sophomore right-hander Colby Holmes worked a career-high seven innings and struck out career-high seven batters to earn the win in a 2-0 victory over Tennessee. Holmes was stellar the entire night as he limited the Vols to just three hits and no walks. He is now 3-0 on the year. Holmes has a 3.00 ERA in 30.0 innings pitched with 28 strikeouts to eight walks. Opponents are hitting only .212 against him.

All nine position starters had at least one hit in the 18-2 win over USC Upstate. The 20 hits by the Gamecocks are the most in the game this season for Carolina. 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.

South Carolina is 21-0 after six innings with a lead and 24-0 on the year after eight innings with a lead. The Gamecocks are 21-1 when out-hitting an opponent and 9-3 in games decided by two runs or less. Carolina is 24-3 when holding an opponent to five runs or less.

South Carolina has played stellar defense of late with five straight error-less games as well as no errors in eight of the last 11 games. The team fielding percentage has climbed up to .976 for the season as well as .981 in SEC games.

Next Week:
4/12/11 – at The Citadel (7 p.m.)
4/15/11 – Vanderbilt (7 p.m.)
4/16/11 – Vanderbilt (7 p.m.) (CSS)
4/17/11 – Vanderbilt (1 p.m.) (ESPN2)