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March 8, 2012

South Carolina-Princeton Game Notes Get Acrobat Reader

March 8, 2012
Christian Walker

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (10-1) returns to action this weekend hosting a three-game series against Princeton (2-2). First pitch for the opener on Friday is 7 p.m. with Saturday’s game at 4 p.m. and Sunday’s series finale scheduled for 1:30 p.m. All three games can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College with live video broadcast available at

Radio: Gamecock IMG Network affiliates/Flagship WNKT FM 107.5 “The Game” in Columbia. Andy Demetra, Derek Scott and Tommy Moody will call the action.
Television: None
Internet: Live Gametracker and Live Video Streaming at – Additional coverage on Twitter @GamecockBasebll and Facebook/Gamecocksonline

South Carolina – Michael Roth (Sr. LHP) 1-0, 0.89 ERA, 20.1 IP, 5 BB, 20 SO
Princeton – Zak Hermans (Jr. RHP) 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 5.0 IP, 1 BB, 8 SO

South Carolina Matt Price (Jr. RHP) 1-0, 3.77 ERA, 14.1 IP, 6 BB, 21 SO
Princeton Mike Ford (So. RHP) 0-1, 9.00 ERA, 3.0 IP, 4 BB, 3 SO

South Carolina Colby Holmes (Jr. RHP) 2-0, 1.26 ERA, 14.1 IP, 6 BB, 16 SO
Princeton Matt Bowman (Jr. RHP) 1-0, 4.50 ERA, 6.0 IP, 4 BB, 5 SO

South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner and Princeton head coach Scott Bradley earned All-ACC honors at third base in 1980. Bradley was a first-team selection for North Carolina and Tanner a second-team selection for NC State.

South Carolina raced out to a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning and freshman right-hander Joel Seddon hurled five scoreless innings in his first career start as the Gamecocks defeated UNC Asheville 8-1 on Wednesday evening in non-conference baseball action.

Seddon limited the Bulldogs to just two hits in five shutout innings to earn his first career victory. He is now 1-0 on the year. He struck out three and walked two.

Overall: SC leads 3-1Columbia: SC leads 1-0Away: N/ANeutral: SC leads 2-1
Date Winner Score Site3-25-1970 Princeton 14-3 Ft. Jackson3-21-74 SC 5-0 Winter Park3-24-74 SC 10-3 Winter Park5-26-2001 SC 11-7 Columbia

Carolina broke out of the gates with four runs in the opening frame, batting around against Roland. Evan Marzilli led off with walk in a 10-pitch at bat and advanced to third on Tanner English’s base hit. Christian Walker would drive in Marzilli with a RBI single and LB Dantzler followed with a RBI single as well. Adam Matthews added a sacrifice fly that scored Walker and Connor Bright connected with a two-out RBI single scoring Dantzler and giving the Gamecocks a four-run cushion.

Dantzler finished the day 3-for-5 at the plate with two RBI and two runs scored. Walker had two hits and three RBI for the evening. English and Marzilli added two hits apiece as well.

For the first time since 2001, the Gamecocks and Princeton Tigers will meet on the baseball diamond. The Gamecocks own a 3-1 lead in the series history including an 11-7 victory in the last meeting, an elimination game in the 2001 NCAA Columbia Regional.

Both teams traded runs for the first six innings with the scored tied at 7-7 entering the top of the 7th inning. The Gamecocks, the road team on its own home turf at Sarge Frye Field, outscored the Tigers in the final three innings to claim the four-run victory. Tim Whittaker’s 20th home run of the season in the seventh inning gave the Gamecocks the lead for good. Marcus McBeth added a RBI sacrifice fly in the eighth inning to score Trey Dyson and two hits and a pair of Princeton errors gave the Gamecocks two more insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning.

David Marchbanks, a freshman left-hander at the time, threw just six pitches in the sixth inning in relief to get credit for the win. All-America closer Lee Gronkiewicz picked up his 17th save of the year in the win as well. He worked the final three innings and allowed one hit while striking out five batters.

South Carolina’s 14-hit evening included three from current student assistant coach Drew Meyer, who was a sophomore shortstop at the time. Bryon Jeffcoat added two home runs as well.

South Carolina head coach Ray Tanner is moving closer to a pair of milestones. Coach Tanner enters the weekend series 699-297 (.702) in his 16th year at South Carolina and owns a 1,094-470-3 record over all in 25 years as a head coach.

South Carolina’s top four hitters in the order on Tuesday went 9-for-17 with seven runs scored and five RBI In the 8-1 victory over UNC Asheville. Marzilli, English and Walker all had two hits with Dantzler finishing with a season-high three hits.

South Carolina senior outfielder Adam Matthews earned the Tom Price Award as MVP of the series for South Carolina vs. Clemson. Matthews hit .417 (5-for-12) in the three games vs. the Tigers with four runs and four RBI. Matthews had two hits including a three-run homer in the 9-6 victory over Clemson on Saturday.

South Carolina’s pitching staff continues to post some of the best numbers in the nation. Through 11 games, the Gamecocks have a 1.70 ERA with opposing hitters batting just .151 against them. Both those marks are best among the 12 SEC schools. The Gamecocks have 108 strikeouts to just 31 walks in 100.1 innings pitched and have allowed just 23 runs on 53 hits also. The Gamecocks lead the country in fewest hits allowed averaging just 4.82 hits allowed per game. Nine different pitchers have accounted for the 10 Gamecock wins. Colby Holmes leads the way with a 2-0 record and a 1.26 ERA.

In the Elon series, the staff allowed just three runs, one earned, on seven hits in 27 innings of work with 32 strikeouts vs. the Phoenix.

Junior left-hander Nolan Belcher had a productive week with a win and two saves in all three victories over Presbyterian and Clemson this past week. Belcher earned his first win since May 11, 2010 with 2.1 scoreless innings of relief in the 2-1 win over Presbyterian. He allowed just one hit and struck out three batters. He followed that up with saves in both the 3-2 and 9-6 wins over Clemson. Belcher is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in four appearances.

Two other Gamecock juniors are also contributing out of the bullpen. Junior right-hander Ethan Carter and junior left-hander Tyler Webb have both posted 0.00 ERAs in a combined 19.0 innings pitched. Both also own 1-0 records. Webb has hurled nine innings in six appearances and has 11 strikeouts to two walks. Carter has pitched 10 innings in five appearances and has 10 strikeouts to two walks. Opponents are hitting just .088 against Carter while opponents are hitting only .091 against Webb.

Senior left-hander Logan Munson and junior left-hander Adam Westmoreland both had quality relief outings in their first appearances of the year in the 8-1 win over UNC Asheville. Westmoreland hurled two scoreless innings of work and Munson also had 1.1 scoreless innings of work with two strikeouts.

Freshman catcher Grayson Greiner became the first Gamecock to hit two home runs in a game this season when he belted a pair in the 6-5 loss at Clemson. Greiner had a three-run homer and a solo shot. The last Gamecock player to hit two homers in a game was Steven Neff on May 11 in a 7-1 win over Arkansas. The last freshman to accomplish the feat was Adam Matthews in 2009 against East Carolina in the NCAA Regional, a 12-2 win over the Pirates. Greiner is hitting .265 (9-for-34) with six RBI.

Not to be outdone is junior catcher Dante Rosenberg, who played a pivotal role in the 3-2 win over VMI on Saturday. Rosenberg was 2-for-4 with two doubles, a run scored and a RBI including the game-winning RBI hit in the bottom of the sixth inning in the victory.

Greiner and Rosenberg along with the pitching staff have kept the opponent’s running game in check as well as South Carolina has allowed the lowest amount of stolen bases among all 12 SEC schools with just three bases stolen against seven attempts in the first 11 games.

South Carolina senior left-hander Michael Roth is the SEC leader in innings pitched with 20.1 in three starts. He is 1-0 with a 0.89 ERA and has 20 strikeouts to just five walks allowed. Opponents are hitting just .116 against him. Despite a no-decision on Friday, senior left-hander Michael Roth had a quality start in Friday’s 3-2 win over Clemson. Roth went 7.1 innings and allowed one run on four hits with seven strikeouts and two walks.

Roth was honored by the Southeastern Conference with Bobby Wahl of Ole Miss as Co-Pitchers of the Week, during week two of play. Roth hurled seven innings of no-hit ball and limited Elon to just three walks while striking out seven batters in the 8-1 win over the Phoenix in the series opener on February 24.

The eight-run total allowed by the Gamecock pitching staff through the first seven games was the lowest run total to start a season since 1977, when the Gamecocks allowed just seven runs in their first seven games.

Junior right-hander Matt Price has been effective in three starts. Price is 1-0 with a 3.77 ERA in 14.1 innings and has allowed just six runs on six hits while striking out 21 batters and walking six on the year. Opponents are hitting only .120 against him.

Junior right-hander Colby Holmes sports a 2-0 record and a 1.26 ERA in 14.1 innings pitched. He has 16 strikeouts to just six walks. Opponents are hitting .216 against him.

South Carolina is among the nation leaders in attendance after three weekends. South Carolina has totaled 65,947 in attendance for seven home games for an average of 7,327.

Opening Day was sold out with a crowd of 8,242 in attendance. The three-game series vs. VMI totaled 23,253 for an average of 7,751 per contest. Carolina’s second sellout came on March 3 vs. Clemson. South Carolina has sold out Carolina Stadium with capacity crowds 13 times in school history.

South Carolina set a record for season tickets sold this year with a total of 5,580 sold in the preseason, surpassing the previous record of 5,414 set last year. South Carolina’s total attendance of 297,279 for 40 games last year at Carolina Stadium was second highest in the country.

The Gamecocks own a 101-19 (.842) record since opening the facility on Feb. 21, 2009.

Christian Walker had a season-high three hits and three RBI as well in the 8-1 win over UNC Asheville. In the 8-1 win over Elon, Walker reached base all four times at the plate including two hits, a homer and five RBI in the victory. The five RBI tied a career-high. Walker hit safely in all three games of the series.

Walker leads the team in hitting with a .316 average (12-for-38) with a homer and 13 RBI. His slugging percentage is .421 and on-base percentage is .435.

Another key offensive contributor early in the season has been freshman outfielder Tanner English. English went 2-for-4 with two runs in the 8-1 win over UNC Asheville. He scored a run in all three games of the Elon series and hit safely in all three games as well. English drove in three runs for the weekend with a key two-run triple to left-center in 6-0 win over Elon in the second inning. English is hitting .293 (12-for-41) with eight runs scored and six RBI.

English also factored in all three victories of the VMI series. He tallied two hits in the opener vs. VMI, had a RBI base hit in the 3-2 victory and capped that off with two runs scored and a RBI in the 13-1 win in the series finale.

Freshman shortstop Joey Pankake tallied his first career homer and RBI in the 2-1 win on Tuesday vs. Presbyterian. The game-winning hit came in the bottom of the fourth inning. Pankake was productive in the Elon series. He was 2-for-4 with a triple and three runs scored in the 8-1 win in the opener. He had two walks in game two and a hit and a run scored in the Sunday series finale. Pankake is hitting .265 (9-for-34) with nine runs scored.

Junior third baseman LB Dantzler tallied a season-high with three hits and also drove in a pair of runs and scored twice in the 8-1 victory over UNC Asheville. He had a solo home run in the 9-6 win over Clemson last week. Dantzler leads the team with three homers and has 12 RBI, second highest total on the team.

The week before, Dantzler launched a three-run homer in the first inning of the 6-0 win over Elon. Dantzler was solid in his debut vs. VMI as he tallied a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning as South Carolina defeated VMI 2-1 in the opener. Dantzler followed that up with a three-run homer, a double and four RBI in the 13-1 win over VMI that helped Carolina sweep the Keydets. Dantzler finished the weekend 4-for-11 (.364) at the plate with five RBI and a .727 slugging percentage.

Junior outfielder Evan Marzilli is the only Gamecock that has reached base safely in all 11 games. He is hitting .289 (13-for-45) for the year with eight runs scored. He also has a team-high four stolen bases and has driven in four runs as well. Marzilli went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored in the 8-1 win over UNC Asheville.

Marzilli’s defense was essential for the Gamecocks in the 3-2 win over Clemson in 11 innings. Marzilli had his first assist of the year with a throw to home plate to nab a Tiger runner trying to score and his diving catch with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning sealed the Gamecock victory.

Marzilli was effective in the first weekend vs. VMI as he hit .500 (6-for-12) with a .538 on-base percentage. Marzilli had a 3-for-4 day at the plate on Opening Day. He scored the game-winning run in the opener and also was key in the 13-1 victory as he went 2-for-4 with a triple, run scored and two RBI.

Through the first 11 games, South Carolina is hitting .276 (99-for-359) as a team with 62 runs scored, a .354 on-base percentage and a .407 slugging percentage. The team is fielding .971.

Freshman infielder Connor Bright made his first career start as a Gamecock at shortstop in the 8-1 win over UNC Asheville. Bright went 1-for-3 with two RBI.

Last week, Bright returned to the Lowcountry and played a pivotal role in the 3-2 win vs. Clemson at Joe Riley Park. Bright, a Mt. Pleasant native, tallied a RBI single in the 11th inning of the victory.

Bright has played five games with four starts and is hitting .308 (4-for-13) with two runs scored.

South Carolina sits at No. 2 in the Collegiate Baseball Top 30. The Gamecocks are also No. 3 in Baseball America’s Top 25 and the ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll.

Freshman first baseman Kyle Martin is hitting .412 (7-for-17) in six games with four starts. Martin was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a double in the 9-6 win vs. Clemson. He added a pinch-hit single as well.

Freshman infielder/outfielder TJ Costen has a phenomenal .909 slugging percentage in 13 plate appearances this year. Costen is hitting .364 (4-for-11) with a double, triple and home run as well as two RBI.

Freshman right-hander Evan Beal earned his first career win in the 9-6 victory vs. Clemson. Beal entered the game in the bottom of the fifth and retired nine in a row and lasted four innings allowing just two runs on three hits while striking out five and walking one. Beal is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA and eight strikeouts in six innings pitched.