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Aug. 8, 2011

San Diego, Calif. – Former South Carolina infielder James Darnell (2006-08) has been called up to the Major Leagues by the San Diego Padres. Darnell, a two-time All-SEC third baseman at South Carolina joined the team in New York as the Padres begin a four-game series with the Mets. Darnell is one of five former Gamecocks currently in the big leagues.

Darnell, 24, has hit .317 (124-for-391) with 29 doubles, one triple, 23 home runs, 75 RBI, 80 runs scored and 64 walks against 70 strikeouts over 102 games between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson this season. The infielder was selected to the United States roster of Major League Baseball’s 2011 Futures Game as well as a midseason Texas League All-Star this year.

A native of Fresno, Calif, Darnell was signed by the Padres as a second-round selection out of South Carolina in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. Over parts of four minor league seasons in the Padres (2008-11) organization, he has hit .304 (399-for-1313) with 95 doubles, seven triples, 56 home runs, 229 RBI, 220 runs scored and 211 walks against 239 strikeouts in 352 games played.

A second team All-SEC selection, Darnell hit .306 his junior year with 19 HR and 81 RBI. His RBI total is the fourth highest in a single-season by a Gamecock player. He started all 63 games in his final year at third base for the Gamecocks. Darnell also led the conference in RBI in SEC games with 40 RBI in 30 conference contests. He twice tied the USC single-game record for home runs with three in a 13-7 win vs. Kentucky on March 29 and in a 13-1 win at the College of Charleston on March 18. Darnell recorded 41 career homers in a three-year career with the Garnet & Black, tied for ninth on the USC Career List.

Gamecocks in the Pros
INF James Darnell, San Diego Padres
INF Steve Pearce, Pittsburgh Pirates
C Landon Powell, Oakland Athletics
2B Brian Roberts, Baltimore Orioles
1B Justin Smoak, Seattle Mariners

2008 Earned second-team All-SEC honors at third base for second straight year … Competed in all 63 games in 2008 and hit .306 (184-for-607) with 19 homers, 81 RBI along with 13 doubles and 52 runs scored … – ALL-SEC (second team) honors for the second straight season at third base … 4-for-5 with a three-run homer and five RBI in 11-9 win over Tennessee (5-17) … 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBI in 6-5 win over Florida (5-3) … Hit grand slam home run and finished with five RBI in 6-2 win over Ole Miss (4-18) … 2-for-4 with two doubles and two RBI in 6-0 win at Clemson (4-16) … 2-for-5 with a double and a RBI in 7-6 win over Auburn (4-13) … 4-for-4 with a pair of home runs and five RBI in 7-1 win over Clemson (4-9) … Hit a three-run homer in 9-2 win vs. Davidson (4-2) … 4-for-5 performance with two doubles and three RBI in 7-4 win at The Citadel (4-1) … For second time in 11 days, tied SC single-game record with three home runs, had a career-high six RBI in 13-7 win vs. Kentucky (3-29) … 2-for-4 with a run scored in 5-3 win over College of Charleston (3-26) … 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBI in 10-3 win over Mississippi State (3-23) … Tied SC single-game record with three home runs, career-high five hits and five RBI in 13-1 win at College of Charleston (3-18) … Tallied three hits in 10-4 loss at Vanderbilt (3-16) … Went 3-for-5 with a pair of runs, a homer and three RBI in 16-7 win at Vanderbilt (3-15) … 2-for-4 with grand slam home run and career-high five RBI in 11-5 win over Yale (3-12) … 3-for-4 with a run scored and three RBI in 12-0 win over UNC Asheville (2-27) … Key hit in 11th inning rally vs. East Carolina, a 7-6 win, scored three times in the game (2-24) … 2-for-6 in season opener vs. East Carolina, a 22-5 win, scored twice and drove in two runs (2-23).

2007 – Earned second-team All-SEC honors at third base … Competed in 64 games with 64 starts … The team’s leading hitter with a .331 (79-for-239) batting average … Collected 19 HR and 63 RBI along with 61 runs scored … Went 1-for-4 with a two-run homer in NCAA Super Regional game vs. North Carolina (6/8) … 3-for-5 with a double, two RBI and two runs scored in 13-3 win over Georgia (5/17) … Homered and went 2-for-4 with three runs scored in 13-6 win over Kentucky (5/6) … Hit solo home run in 4-1 win at Alabama (4/28) … Homered for four consecutive games in the middle of April, all four Gamecock victories over Clemson (4/18), Wofford (4/17), Auburn (4/15, 4/14) … Hit a three-run homer and tied a career-high with four RBI in 18-4 win over Auburn (4/15) … Homered and tallied two hits in 8-6 win at Florida (4/8) … Went 2-for-4 with a homer, double, two runs and three RBI in 8-2 win over Vanderbilt (4/1) … 3-for-7 with a home run, three runs and four RBI in 20-3 win at Mississippi State (3/24) … Was 2-for-4 with a homer and four RBI in 12-0 win at Clemson (3/4) … Homered in three consecutive games at the Crab House Shootout in Charleston, S.C. (vs. The Citadel, Richmond, Liberty, 2/16-18) … Played in the summer and earned All-Star honors for the Hyannis Mets of the Cape Cod Baseball League … 2007 SEC Academic Honor Roll member.

2006 – Competed in 51 games with 29 starts, finishing with a .239 batting average, three home runs and 18 RBI … Played several positions including second base, shortstop, third base and the outfield … Started in right field for the Gamecocks in the postseason … Went 1-for-4 with two runs scored in 8-2 win over Virginia at NCAA Regional (6/3) … 2-for-4 performance with a bases loaded double and two RBI in 15-12 win over Furman (5/16) … Had a 3-for-4 game with two runs in 6-3 victory over Ole Miss (4/15) … Went 2-for-4 with a homer and three RBI in first career start of an 8-3 win over Elon (2/12) … Played in the summer with the Hyannis Mets of the Cape Cod Baseball League.