Feb. 25, 2016
Dates: Fri.-Sun., Feb. 26-28, 2016
First Pitch: 4 p.m., 2 p.m. & 1:30 p.m.
Location: Columbia, S.C.
Arena: Founders Park (8,242)
Tickets: $10 General Admission
Broadcast:SEC Network + (Derek Scott, pxp; Trey Dyson, analyst)
Radio: 107.5 The Game & The Gamecock Radio Network (Andy Demetra, Brad Muller & Tommy Moody); GamecocksOnline.com
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Gamecocks (5-0) return to action on Friday hosting a three-game series vs. Penn State (2-2) at Founders Park. First pitch on Friday is 4 p.m. with Saturday’s game at 2 p.m. and Sunday’s series finale at 1:30 p.m.
All three games will be broadcast on SEC Network Plus and can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”
Please be aware on game day entrance via car to Williams, Catawba and Wheat Streets will be closed to the public and is accessible only by a valid parking pass.
For Opening Day on Feb. 19 and for the weekday games beginning at 4:00 PM (Feb.19; Feb. 23, Feb 24 and Feb. 26) parking in the business lots will be curtailed based on the specific parking lots. Patrons with passes to park in lots 6, 7, 9 and 10 will be relocated to Lot 1 on Williams and Wheat Sts.
We encourage visitors to use public parking lots illustrated on the parking map. The cost is $5/$10 per vehicle. Fans can also park for free at Capital City Baseball Stadium and the Colonial Life arena and ride the shuttles for $3.00 round trip to and from the parking lots. We strongly recommend that fans use the Capital City Shuttle over the CLA shuttle for the convenience, spacious parking and less congestion.
Visitors who need handicap parking should park at the Capital City Baseball Stadium lot and ride the handicapped shuttle to the baseball stadium for $3.00
Please see link for additional information.
For the 2016 baseball season, the baseball shuttle 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 Founders Park 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.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUP
South Carolina – Clarke Schmidt (So. RHP) 1-0, 1.50 ERA, 6.0 IP, 4 BB, 6 SO
Penn State – Taylor Lehman (So. LHP) 0-1, 4.50 ERA, 6.0 IP, 2 BB, 5 SO
South Carolina – Braden Webb (Fr. RHP) 1-0, 3.60 ERA, 5.0 IP, 3 BB, 5 SO
Penn State – Sal Biasi (So. RHP) 1-0, 1.50 ERA, 6.0 IP, 1 BB, 8 SO
South Carolina – Taylor Widener (Jr. RHP) 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 5.0 IP, 0 BB, 6 SO
Penn State – Justin Hagenman (Fr. RHP) 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 7.0 IP, 0 BB, 6 SO
South Carolina is ranked No. 15 by D1Baseball, No. 20 in the NCBWA poll and No. 23 in the USA TODAY coaches poll.
THAT WAS OFFENSIVE
South Carolina jumped out to a six-run lead in the first inning and belted out 15 hits on the way to a 16-4 victory over Winthrop on Wednesday at Founders Park. The 16 runs is a season high for Carolina and tied the fifth-highest in the Chad Holbrook era.
Five Gamecocks finished with multi-hit games. Alex Destino went 3-for-4 with Dom Thompson-Williams, John Jones, LT Tolbert and TJ Hopkins with two hits apiece also. Destino and Hopkins both had four RBIs. Tolbert drove in three runs with Chris Cullen adding two RBI as well.
HILL MAKES DEBUT
Freshman right-hander Adam Hill was impressive in his first career start on Tuesday for the Gamecocks as he pitched six scoreless innings with just two hits allowed, no walks and 11 strikeouts in Carolina’s 5-0 victory over the Mountaineers. Hill, Josh Reagan and Colton Provey combined for the Gamecocks’ first shutout of the year and struck out a combined 16 batters.
Sophomore catcher John Jones had a great first weekend in the Gamecock uniform. The junior college transfer hit .600 (6-for-10) with a double, a homer and nine RBI. His nine RBI is the highest three-game series RBI total since LB Dantzler drove in 10 runs, ironically, vs. Albany in 2013. He also walked twice and scored four runs. His on-base percentage for the weekend was .667 with a 1.000 slugging mark. Jones’ average tied for the third-best among SEC players for the first weekend, as did his RBI total. Five of Jones’ nine RBI came with two outs. Jones hit safely in all three games and had three multi-RBI games as well.
Jones leads the Gamecocks with a .421 average (8-for-17) with seven runs scored and nine RBI as well as a .500 on-base percentage and a .632 slugging mark.
SCHMIDT OFF TO GOOD START
Sophomore right-hander Clarke Schmidt picked up the win on Opening Day allowing one run on three hits with six strikeouts and four walks in six innings of work as Carolina defeated Albany 10-1.
Junior outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams had a stellar weekend at the plate in his debut as well. Thompson-Williams hit .400 (4-for-10) with a homer, four RBI and four runs scored. Thompson-Williams also had four walks and finished with a .571 on-base percentage.
Thompson-Williams is hitting .353 (6-for-17) with four RBI and six runs scored.
Sophomore first baseman Alex Destino tied a career-high with four RBI in Wednesday’s win vs. Winthrop, the fourth time he has reached the mark. Destino finished the game 3-for-4 tying his career-high for hits in a game as well.
WEBB WITH A WIN
Freshman right-hander Braden Webb allowed two runs on one hit with three walks and five strikeouts to earn his first win as a Gamecock in Saturday’s 6-2 win.
MOONEY IN THE MIDDLE
Senior infielder Marcus Mooney had the team’s second-highest on-base percentage of the Albany weekend with a .636 mark and hit .333 (2-for-6) as well. Mooney doubled twice, drove in a run and scored four runs. He also tallied two sacrifice hits and stole two bases. Mooney reached base in all four plate appearances and scored three runs in Sunday’s 8-1 win.
Mooney has six runs scored and a .500 on-base percentage after five games and is tied with Thompson-Williams for the team lead with five walks.
WIDENER SOLID IN FIRST START
Junior right-hander Taylor Widener allowed only one unearned run on two hits with no walks and six strikeouts in five innings of work in Sunday’s victory over Albany. Widener’s six strikeouts were one short of his career-high.
JONAH WITH A JOLT
Sophomore infielder Jonah Bride leads the Gamecocks with a .636 on-base percentage. Bride is hitting .333 (4-for-12) and leads the Gamecocks with eight runs scored. He has walked four times and leads the team and the SEC with six hit by pitches.
JOHNSON MAKES AN APPEARANCE
Sophomore right-hander Tyler Johnson has a team-high three relief appearances through the first six games. Johnson has struck out five batters in 2.1 innings pitched.
AN ASSIST & A RECORD TO TJ
Freshman outfielder TJ Hopkins tied a single-game school record with two outfield assists on Opening Day. vs. Albany He also hit his first career homer, a three-run shot, in Wednesday’s 16-4 win over Winthrop. Hopkins is hitting .400 (4-for-10) with five RBI in four starts.
REAGAN FROM THE LEFT
Junior left-hander Josh Reagan tallied his first career save with 1.2 perfect innings of relief in Saturday’s 6-2 win over Albany. He struck out four batters in the outing. He added a strikeout in one perfect inning of relief in the 5-0 win over Appalachian State.
CULLEN CATCHING ON
Freshman catcher Chris Cullen is hitting .385 (5-for-13) with a pair of runs scored and four RBI in three starts. Three of Cullen’s four RBI have come with two outs.
Junior right-hander Reed Scott pitched 2.1 perfect innings of relief retiring all seven batters he faced in a 6-2 win vs. Albany, his first appearance of the year.
BOWERS BRINGS IT
Junior right-hander Colie Bowers won his first career game with the Gamecocks after pitching 1.1 scoreless innings of relief with two strikeouts in the 8-1 win over Albany.
Three different Gamecocks have started in center field in the first five games.
Sophomore Clark Scolamiero has three of the five starts and is hitting .333 (3-for-9) with a run scored and three RBI.
Junior Gene Cone has seen action in four games with two starts, one in center, and is hitting .375 (3-for-8) with three runs and d a pair of RBI.
Freshman Danny Blair also has a start and seen action in three games. He has a hit, RBI and a run scored and owns a .333 on-base percentage.
Freshman infielder LT Tolbert went 3-for-4 with two runs scored and a double in Sunday’s 8-1 win over Albany. He also went 2-for-3 with three RBI in the 16-4 win over Winthrop. Tolbert has two starts at second base and two as a designated hitter.
CAREER-HIGH FOR CROPPER
Sophomore right-hander Canaan Cropper made his second career start, pitched a career-high 3.2 innings and struck out a career-high eight batters in Wednesday’s 16-4 win over Winthrop.
A NEW NAME
Founders Federal Credit Union and the University of South Carolina announced a partnership awarding naming rights of Carolina Stadium to Founders Federal Credit Union. Carolina Stadium officially became Founders Park on October 22, 2015.
Unveiled in 2009, the $35-plus million facility has a capacity of 8,242 fans and is the crown jewel among baseball stadiums across the nations. South Carolina has ranked among the top three in the nation in total attendance in five consecutive years, including a mark of 250,057 last season as well as a season-high 6,049 season tickets sold last year.
Founders Park will be officially dedicated on Sat., April 23 before game two of the Missouri series. South Carolina totaled 22,480 in attendance the first weekend for an average of 7,493 per contest at Founders Park.
South Carolina is 3-1 vs. Penn State in series history including a pair of wins in a midweek series last year in Columbia.
Game one of the series saw Josh Reagan work 6.2 scoreless innings allowing just one hit as Carolina defeated the Nittany Lions 3-0. After a tight contest in game one, the Gamecocks belted out 15 hits en route to a 13-3 win in game two. Six different Gamecocks recorded multi-hit games including Alex Destino who had three hits as well as four RBI.
SCOUTING PENN STATE
Penn State comes to Columbia after a 2-2 start last week hosting a tournament at the USA Baseball Complex in Cary, N.C. The Nittany Lions fell 3-1 to Monmouth in the season opener, swept a doubleheader on day two vs. Army, 5-4 and 11-0 and fell 3-1 to Bryant on the final day.
Head coach Rob Cooper is in his third year at the helm of Penn State. Cooper does have a connection to the South Carolina program as he coached current Gamecock Alex Destino on USA Baseball’s 2013 18U National Team that won a gold medal at the IBAF U18 World Cup.
Junior shortstop Jim Haley leads Penn State with a .471 average (8-for-17) through the first four games with a pair of runs scored and four RBI. Junior outfielder Nick Riotto also has a .444 (4-for-9) average and a .706 on-base percentage as he leads the team with six walks and two hit by pitches. Freshman right-hander Justin Hagenman won his first career start last week with seven scoreless innings and just four hits allowed. Sophomore right-hander Sal Biasi also picked up a win with eight strikeouts in six innings pitched and just one run allowed.
Senior right-hander Jack Anderson is on the NCBWA Preseason Stopper of the Year Watch List after a team-high 29 relief appearances last year. He won four games in 2015 and tallied five saves.
South Carolina pitchers lead the SEC with a team ERA of 1.20 as well as an opponents batting average of .153 in the first five contests. The pitchers have 59 strikeouts to 14 walks in 45.0 innings. Carolina has allowed eight runs, six earned, on 24 hits as well.
South Carolina’s bullpen did not allow a run in 11 innings of work in the Albany series and struck out 13 batters. The bullpen allowed just four singles and four walks.
AT THE PLATE AND ON THE FIELD
South Carolina is hitting .313 (51-for-163) as a team with 41 RBI and 45 runs scored. The Gamecocks have a .405 slugging percentage and a .440 on-base percentage. The Gamecocks are also fielding .978 with just four errors. The Gamecocks have not committed an error in three of five games.
RECRUITING CLASS RANKED NO. 2 IN THE NATION
South Carolina’s newcomers have been ranked the No. 2 recruiting class in the country by Collegiate Baseball. This year’s crop features eight players previously selected in the MLB Draft.
The Gamecocks had 29 players in the fall semester with a GPA of 3.0 or better.
A LOOK CLOSER AT THIS YEAR’S SCHEDULE
South Carolina’s schedule this year includes 35 home games at Founders Park.
South Carolina and Clemson will meet in a unique three-game setting for a seventh consecutive year. The series opens in Columbia on Friday, Mar. 4 vs. Clemson with first pitch set for 7 p.m. The series shifts to the Reedy River Rivalry game at Fluor Field, home of the Greenville Drive, a minor league affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, on Saturday, and concludes in Clemson on Sunday afternoon.
The Gamecocks will play three times at Fluor Field with contests vs. USC Upstate (March 15) and Furman (April 20) as well. In addition, the Gamecocks will also face North Carolina on April 12 at BB&T Ballpark, home of the Charlotte Knights, a minor league affiliate of the Chicago White Sox.
Additional in-state contests for the Gamecocks include Charleston Southern, Coastal Carolina, College of Charleston, Presbyterian, The Citadel, Winthrop and Wofford. Other non-conference opponents include Appalachian State, Penn State and Davidson.
South Carolina’s 30-game SEC slate begins Friday, Mar. 18, with Carolina hosting Arkansas. South Carolina also hosts Tennessee (April 8-10), Missouri (April 22-24), Florida (April 29-May 1) and Texas A&M (May 13-15). SEC three-game series opponents on the road are Ole Miss (Mar. 24-26), Vanderbilt (Mar. 31-April 2), Georgia (April 15-17), Kentucky (May 6-8) and Alabama (May 19-21).
South Carolina has ranked among the top three in the nation in total attendance in five consecutive years including a mark of 250,057 last season.
D1Baseball.com recently recognized several South Carolina players among the top prospects in the nation for the 2016, 2017 and MLB Drafts. This year’s top 300 includes RHP Wil Crowe (No. 38), RHP Braden Webb (No. 66), OF Dom Thompson-Williams (NO. 94), RHP Taylor Widener (No. 197) and RHP Matt Vogel (No. 287). The 2017 top 100 list included 1B/LHP Alex Destino (No. 24), RHP Clarke Schmidt (No. 40) and RHP Brandon Murray (No. 73). The 2018 top 100 freshman list features OF Brandon McIlwain (No. 5), RHP Braden Webb (No. 29), INF LT Tolbert (No. 39) and C Chris Cullen (No. 85).