March 26, 2015
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (18-7, 4-2 SEC) returns home to Carolina Stadium to begin a three-game SEC series with Georgia (16-10, 3-3 SEC) at Carolina Stadium. First pitch for the opener is set for Friday at 7 p.m. Game two of the series is Saturday at 4 p.m. This year is the 40th anniversary of the first Gamecock team to reach the College World Series. Before Saturday’s game, the Gamecocks will honor the 1975 team that finished as national runner-up. Many of the 1975 Gamecocks will be on campus this weekend. Sunday’s series finale is 1:30 p.m. All three games will be broadcast on SEC Network Plus and can be heard live on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game,” and 1320 AM, “The Fan.”
The 1975 Gamecocks
Under the direction of head coach Bobby Richardson, the 1975 squad went 51-6-1 and was the first Gamecock team in school history to reach the College World Series.
The 1975 team featured a four-man pitching rotation of senior right-handers Earl Bass (17-1), Greg Ward (13-4), Raymond Lavigne (8-0) and junior left-hander Tim Lewis (11-0), a starting record of 49-5. Bass, runner-up to Arizona State shortstop Jerry Maddox for national player of the year honors, was a first team All-America choice for the second time and senior first baseman Hank Small clubbed 19 home runs with a .390 batting average to also earn All-America honors. Lewis and Lavigne pitched back-to-back no-hit wins as South Carolina lost only four and tied one of 49 regular season games.
That earned a host site for regional play and the Gamecocks swept past The Citadel, Temple and North Carolina State and moved on to Omaha, one of eight teams competing for the national championship. Bass with relief help from seldom used closer Mike Cromer defeated Seton Hall 3-1 in the first round and Ward downed Eastern Michigan 5-1. Bass came back to defeat Arizona State 6-3 and after three rounds South Carolina was 3-0 and the only undefeated team. Under a rule change adopted the following year, South Carolina would have earned a bye but under the procedure in force in 1975 there was a drawing and Arizona State won the bye. South Carolina played Texas. Ward had a rare bad game and the Longhorns drubbed the Gamecocks 17-6, leaving three teams in the double elimination field with one loss apiece.
Bass and Ward had each started twice in Omaha while Lewis (11-0) and Lavigne (8-0) had not been used despite their combined record of 19-0 Lewis got his chance, on his mother’s birthday, against a well rested Arizona State team and he responded with a 4-1 complete game victory when the Gamecocks rallied from a 1-0 deficit with four runs in the top of the ninth inning against previously undefeated (14-0) Sun Devil ace Greg Cochran.
A scoreless game with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, Bob Pate singled and Jerry Maddox hit a bloop triple that landed a few inches fair in right field to give Arizona State a 1-0 lead. Second baseman Mark Van Bever doubled to lead off the ninth and shortstop Jeff Grantz bunted the tying run to third. Right fielder Garry Hancock singled to drive in Van Bever. Small singled and Steve King walked to load the bases with one out. A fielder’s choice RBI, two Sun Devil errors and a squeeze bunt plated three more runs and South Carolina led 4-1.
Lewis retired the side in the bottom of the ninth and South Carolina, in its first trip ever to the College World Series, met Texas for the national championship. That title eluded the Gamecocks, however, and the Longhorns prevailed 5-1. The only Gamecock run came on a home run by Hank Small.
Bass won his last six decisions in 1974 and first 17 in 1975 to establish a National record of 23 consecutive wins. He finished the season 17-1 and 34-3 for his career. The staff had an earned run average of 2.00 in 503 innings. Pitchers recorded 26 complete games and 13 shutouts.
Radio: Gamecock Radio Network/flagship 107.5 FM “The Game” & 1320 AM “The Fan” (Andy Demetra & Tommy Moody)
Broadcast: SEC Network + (Derek Scott & Trey Dyson). Check cable or satellite provider for streaming availability.
Internet: Live Gametracker stats at GamecocksOnline.com. Additional coverage on Twitter @GamecockBasebll
All three games will be broadcast on SEC Network+. The game will be available through participating TV providers only through WatchESPN. For more information on SEC Network+, please click HERE
South Carolina vs. Georgia
Friday March 27 (7 p.m.); Saturday March 28 (4 p.m.); Sunday March 29 (1:30 p.m.)
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PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
South Carolina – Wil Crowe (So. RHP) 3-2, 2.58 ERA, 38.1 IP, 12 BB, 47 SO
Georgia – Jared Walsh (Sr. LHP) 3-0, 0.96 ERA, 28.0 IP, 11 BB, 24 SO
South Carolina – Jack Wynkoop (Jr. LHP) 4-1, 2.16 ERA, 41.2 IP, 6 BB, 33 SO
Georgia – Ryan Lawlor (Jr. LHP) 3-3, 2.84 ERA, 31.2 IP, 14 BB, 34 SO SO
South Carolina – TBA
Georgia – TBA
South Carolina leads 62-51
DID YOU KNOW??
South Carolina has played some close games as of late with seven consecutive games decided by three runs or less with a 3-4 mark in those contests.
For the 2015 baseball season, the baseball shuttle is expanding and will be operational at the Capital City Baseball Stadium and in Lot D of the Colonial Life Area parking lot. We strongly recommend that fans use the baseball shuttle from Capital City to Carolina Baseball Stadium over the CLA shuttle for the convenience, spacious parking (800 spaces) and less congestion than at the arena. Please remember that at the arena shuttle, parking will be limited to 50 to 100 spaces because of the student demand for parking in this area. There is a high student demand Monday through Thursday that lasts until 7 p.m. because of classes. For GPS purposes, the address for Capital City Stadium is 300 Assembly St., Columbia, SC 29201.
South Carolina is ranked in every publication. The Gamecocks are No. 7 by the NCBWA, No. 8 by Perfect Game, No. 12 by Baseball America and D1Baseball, No. 13 by Collegiate Baseball.
THE GEORGIA SERIES
South Carolina leads the all-time series vs. Georgia 62-51. Georgia won two of three games last year at Athens with the Gamecocks sweeping the Bulldogs two years ago in the last series in Columbia.
Senior first baseman Kyle Martin was the Gamecocks’ top hitter at Missouri over the weekend going 6-for-13 (.462) with a pair of doubles. Martin tied a career-high with four hits including a double and a run scored in Sunday’s 7-5 win over Missouri. He also stole a career-high two stolen bases. Martin is batting .380 (35-for-92) with 23 runs scored and 24 RBI. He has a .445 on-base percentage and a .587 slugging mark. Martin owns a team-high 12-game hitting streak and has reached base 15 consecutive games. Martin ranks tied for sixth in the SEC in RBI as well as 13th in batting average and slugging percentage. He is also tied for ninth in hits. He is hitting .400 (10-for-25) in league games also. Martin ranks first in putouts (242) and second in chances (250) in the SEC.
Martin elected to return for his final season after being selected in the 20th round of the 2014 MLB Draft by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Martin was Carolina’s leading hitter last year batting .336 (82-for-244) with 35 runs scored, 11 doubles, five homers and 38 RBI, a .389 on-base percentage and a .443 slugging percentage. He started all 62 games at first base.
Martin averaged 1.32 hits per game last year, tied for highest among SEC returning leaders.
MURRAY IN RELIEF
Freshman right-hander Brandon Murray stepped up in a key relief outing in Sunday’s victory over Missouri. Murray allowed just one run on one hit with a pair of walks and two strikeouts to earn a win. He is now 2-0 on the year with a 1.42 ERA in 12.2 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting only .200 against Murray. At one point in Sunday’s game, Murray had retired 13 consecutive batters to help the Gamecocks in the rally.
IN THE CROWE’S NEST
Sophomore right-hander Wil Crowe had a quality start on Friday despite the loss to Missouri. Crowe pitched a complete game and allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits with two walks and six strikeouts in eight innings in the 3-2 loss to the Tigers.
Crowe is 3-2 with a 2.58 ERA in 38.1 innings. He is second in the SEC with 47 strikeouts to just 12 walks. Opponents are hitting .220 against him. The complete game last Friday was Crowe’s second career complete game.
Crowe earned SEC Co-Pitcher of the Week honors as announced by the league office on March 16 after a win vs. Kentucky. Crowe was phenomenal allowing just one run, unearned, on one hit with three walks and 10 strikeouts in seven innings of work in the 10-1 victory vs. Kentucky. His 10 strikeouts tied a career-high. Crowe allowed just a single in the first inning to the Wildcats, who came into Columbia this weekend riding an 11-game winning streak and hitting .312 at the plate.
Crowe is the first Gamecock this season to earn a conference weekly honor. The league office twice recognized him in 2014, once as SEC Pitcher of the Week and once as SEC Freshman of the Week.
CALDWELL A HIT
Senior outfielder Elliott Caldwell leads the Gamecocks in hitting on the year with a .405 average (32-for-79) with 16 runs scored and 17 RBI. He also has a team-best .500 on-base percentage and a .557 slugging mark. He ranks third in the SEC in on-base percentage and sixth in hitting.
Caldwell hit .357 (5-for-14) in the Missouri series with a pair of RBI. He was 2-for-5 with a RBI on Saturday and on Sunday vs. the Tigers. Caldwell also made ESPN’s SportsCenter’s Top 10 plays on Saturday with the No. 8 play of the day with a diving catch in left field.
Caldwell leads the Gamecocks with 10 multi-hit games this year. Caldwell is tied with the SEC lead in conference games with 20 total bases in the first six league games. He has also hit .480 in league contests, that is fourth-best in the conference.
Caldwell hit .636 (7-for-11) in the Kentucky series with four runs scored, a triple, two homers and four RBI. Caldwell went 2-for-4 in the 10-1 win, followed that up going 2-for-3 with two runs scored and a two-run homer in the 4-3 victory over the Wildcats and went 3-for-4 with two runs and two RBI including a game-tying homer in the bottom of the ninth inning in Sunday’s 6-4 10-inning win. Caldwell’s homer on Saturday was the first of his career in a Gamecock uniform.
JACK OF ALL TRADES
Junior left-hander Jack Wynkoop was solid in a no-decision in Saturday’s loss to Missouri. Wynkoop allowed two runs on seven hits in 7.1 innings with no walks and five strikeouts. Wynkoop is 4-1 with a 2.16 ERA in 41.2 innings with six walks to 33 strikeouts. Opponents are batting .216 against him. Wynkoop ranks tied for second in innings pitched, tied for sixth in victories and 13th in earned run average in the SEC.
Wynkoop earned the Tom Price Award as Gamecock MVP of the Clemson series. Wynkoop worked six-plus innings and allowed just one run in the 4-1 victory vs. the Tigers.
Wynkoop is in the weekend rotation for a third straight year. He has made 32 starts in his career, that is second-highest among all returning SEC pitchers.
CONE LEADS IT OFF
Sophomore outfielder Gene Cone went 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI including a RBI triple and a run scored in Sunday’s 7-5 win over Missouri. Cone is the only Gamecock player to have started all 25 games with 25 starts in center field. Cone is hitting .273 (24-for-88) with 22 runs scored and has a .413 on-base percentage for the season.
Cone tied a school record for putouts by an outfielder in a game with nine on March 24 at Coastal Carolina.
Junior infielder DC Arendas hit .364 (4-for-11) in the Missouri series including 2-for-5 with a run scored in the 7-5 win on Sunday. Arendas has a .458 on-base percentage on the year with 16 walks and five hit by pitches to go along with 11 hits.
Junior left-hander Vince Fiori picked up a save in Sunday’s 7-5 win. Fiori allowed one run on two hits in two innings with two walks and two strikeouts. The save for Fiori was his second of the season. Fiori is 2-0 with a 0.98 ERA in a team-high 13 relief appearances. Opponents are hitting just .164 against Fiori. He has 18 strikeouts in 18.1 innings pitched.
MAX IT OUT
Junior Max Schrock was 2-for-6 with a double, a run scored and two RBI In Sunday’s 7-5 win over Missouri. Schrock has driven in eight runs in conference play, that is tied for third-highest in the SEC.
Schrock is hitting .267 (23-for-86) for the year with 21 runs scored and 21 RBI. He has a .457 slugging percentage and a .393 on-base percentage with 19 walks to seven strikeouts.
GORE IN A GROOVE
Sophomore infielder Jordan Gore reached base four times in Sunday’s 7-5 win with three walks and a base hit and scored two runs in the victory. Gore’s three walks tied a season-high by a Gamecock player in a game. He is hitting .274 (23-for-84) for the year.
A BRIGHT SPOT
Senior outfielder Connor Bright went 2-for-4 with two runs scored in Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Missouri. Bright hit .333 (3-for-9) for the series vs. the Tigers.
Freshman right-hander Clarke Schmidt is 2-0 with a 2.28 ERA with 23.2 innings pitched, eight walks and 22 strikeouts.
Schmidt worked a career-high 6.2 innings and struck out a career-high seven batters in his first career SEC start in a 6-4 win over Kentucky. Schmidt allowed two runs on four hits with two walks.
Schmidt has a pair of wins in relief. Schmidt worked 4.2 scoreless innings with just three hits allowed, no walks and four strikeouts in the 5-2 win over Furman. He followed that up with 2.1 innings of work in a 6-4 win over Northeastern allowing one run on five hits with no walks and three strikeouts.
A CLOSER LOOK AT WIDENER
Sophomore right-hander Taylor Widener is tied for second in the SEC with six saves on the year. Widener worked a season-high 2.1 innings in Saturday’s loss to Missouri. For the season, Widener is 1-1 with a 3.68 ERA in 14.2 innings with 22 strikeouts to nine walks.
Freshman Alex Destino is tied with Martin for the team-lead in homers with four on the year. Destino is tied for 10th in the SEC with 21 RBI for the year. Destino’s two-run homer helped lift the Gamecocks to a 4-3 victory vs. Kentucky. Destino tied his career-high with four RBI including a three-run triple in the 13-3 win over Penn State. He is batting .272 (22-for-81) this year with four homers and 21 RBI. He owns a .457 slugging percentage.
MINCEY MAKES HIS MARK
Senior right-hander Cody Mincey made his first three relief appearances of the year last week. Mincey picked up a save in the 3-0 win over Penn State with one scoreless inning of relief. He added two scoreless innings of relief with no hits allowed and three strikeouts in the 10-1 win over Kentucky and worked one inning in Sunday’s 6-4 win over Kentucky.
Mincey has not allowed a run in 29 of 34 career relief appearances. He owns a 2.06 career ERA with 49 strikeouts in 40.2 career innings pitched.
South Carolina pitchers allowed just eight runs, seven earned, on 19 hits in 28.0 innings this past weekend vs. Kentucky with 30 strikeouts. The Wildcats hit just .186 for the series.
Prior to Penn State scoring in the fifth inning of a 13-3 win, the Gamecocks had not allowed an earned run in 44 consecutive innings. South Carolina did not allow an earned run the entire weekend vs. Miami (Ohio) with a pair of shutouts, 2-0, 7-0 and a 5-3 victory on Sunday with the RedHawks scoring all three runs unearned.
ON THE MOUND
For the season, South Carolina pitchers own a team ERA of 2.64. The Gamecocks have allowed 85 runs, 67 earned, on 188 hits in 228.0 innings with 87 walks to 210 strikeouts. Opponents are batting .225 against the Gamecocks. South Carolina’s ERA ranks third-best in the SEC with batters struck out sixth-highest and opposing batting average seventh-best as well. South Carolina’s 2.47 ERA in SEC games is also second-best in the conference.
AT THE PLATE & ON THE FIELD
South Carolina is hitting .262 (214-for-817) as a team with 149 runs scored, a .355 on-base percentage and a .375 slugging mark. The Gamecocks are fielding .969 for the year.
South Carolina is 18-2 on the year when allowing five runs or less. South Carolina is 16-2 on the year with a lead entering the seventh innings. The Gamecocks are 15-2 when allowing less than 10 hits, 8-2 when recording double-digit hits and 12-0 when out-hitting its opponent. South Carolina is 9-5 in games decided by three runs or less.
COACH HOLBROOK THURSDAY PRESS CONFERENCE QUOTES
“It’s good to be back home, it feels like we’ve been on the road awhile, and we’ll be on the road even more after this weekend. It’s always an exciting time to play a conference series at home against Georgia, they have a nice-looking team and they’ve won some big games, and they’ve handled some adversity in their own right after the first SEC weekend and got themselves back in the thick of things. We’re obviously going to have our work cut out for us, in dealing with Jared Walsh tomorrow night and Ryan Lawlor on Saturday. (Georgia is) going to present some challenges to our pitching staff as well, they’re very aggressive on the bases, they’ve stolen 38 bags, 2 of the kids have double digits in stolen bases. We’re going to have to be on top of our game from a pitching standpoint, we’re going to have to be much more competitive offensively, to win this series. But we’re very excited about another Friday night game at Carolina Stadium against a team that’s going to present a great challenge for us. “
On 1-4 record the last five games
“Coming off the weekend at Missouri I’d have loved to win the series. We could’ve won all three games we could’ve lost all 3 games, I have no problem with the way our players competed. We were a hit away here or there or a play away here and there of playing a little bit better than we did. That being said, Missouri was a good solid team, with a great pitching staff. They’re going to be in the thick of things for awhile because their pitchers are so good. At Coastal Tuesday, I liked the way our players handled adversity there, when we gave up a five-run inning, and we’re down 6-2, we fought back, but we just couldn’t keep the lead. We were a pitch or a play here or there to win the game. The walks kind of got us there, and we didn’t play a good bunt defense that could have minimized the damage there in that five-run inning. When you go 1-4 in a little bit of a stretch it’s not just one thing it’s a bunch of things. You’ve got to make some defensive plays, you can’t give the opponents free bases, which we’ve done via the walk, and when you get close, when you’re three outs away here and there and you have the chance to win the game you’ve got to close the door, and we couldn’t quite close the door a couple times over the past week. But we’re sitting here 4-2 in the league, we’ve got a lot of baseball in front of us, some incredible challenges, and a lot of baseball to be played. If we continue to play well, and play the way we have, we can put ourselves in a good spot.
On 1975 Team Reunion
“It’s neat for us, and it’s neat for them. The tradition of this program is something that everyone that has or is associated with Gamecock Baseball is proud of. When they reached the College World Series, college baseball may not have been as visual as it is today. To put those group of guys in front of our fans, in front of 7, 8,000 people, is not only neat for us but it has to be neat for them. This means a lot to our players, it means a lot to our coaches, and I’m sure it means a lot to Coach Tanner. That group kind of kick started a lot of things for Carolina baseball and they paved the way for us. It’s always neat to hear the stories and the coaches talk about some of their former players, and it’s just going to be a neat weekend to see those guys. We’re certainly proud to be able to recognize the accomplishments that they had, and they deserve a lot of recognition in the success of the program today.