Feb. 29, 2016
Dates: Tues., Mar. 1, 2016
First Pitch: 7 p.m.
Location: Charleston, S.C.
Arena: Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park
Video Stream:Southern Conference Digital Sports
Radio: 107.5 The Game & The Gamecock Radio Network (Andy Demetra & Tommy Moody); GamecocksOnline.com
COLUMBIA, S.C. — The Gamecocks (8-0) will hit the road for the first time this season with a Tuesday night contest in Charleston vs. The Citadel (5-1). First pitch at Joseph P. Riley Jr. Park is set for 7 p.m. The game can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.” It will also be steamed live on CitadelSports.com.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUP
South Carolina – Adam Hill (Fr. RHP) 1-0, 0.00 ERA, 6.0 IP, 0 BB, 11 SO
The Citadel – Jacob Watcher (So. RHP) 1-0, 6.00 ERA, 3.0 IP, 3 BB, 6 SO
South Carolina is ranked No. 13 by D1Baseball, No. 15 by the NCBWA, No. 18 by Collegiate Baseball, and No. 23 in the USA TODAY coaches poll.
South Carolina sophomore catcher John Jones earned National Player of the Week honors from Collegiate Baseball and SEC Co-Player of the Week after putting together arguably one of the greatest weekends at the plate in school history. Jones reached base in all 14 plate appearances vs. Penn State batting 1.000 (8-for-8) with six walks for an OBP of 1.000 as well.
Jones went 4-for-4 with a homer and four RBI in a 7-1 series-opening win vs. the Nittany Lions. He followed that up with a grand slam and tying a single-game school record with four walks in Saturday’s 16-5 victory vs. Penn State. In the series finale, Jones went 3-for-3 including a two-run single and a walk in the 4-2 win to sweep the series vs. Penn State. Jones’ slugging percentage for the weekend was 1.750 also.
In records going back to 1997, Jones is the only Gamecock in school history to start three games in a series and put up a 1.000 OBP, besting the previous mark of .875 set by Christian Walker in 2011 at Mississippi State as well as Walker’s .909 batting average (10-for-11). Jones’ six walks tied for the most by a Gamecock in a series since Scott Wingo’s six walks vs. Brown in 2010. Jones’ 10 RBI are the most by a Gamecock in a series since LB Dantzler drove in 10 vs. Albany vs. 2013. Jones’ 1.750 slugging percentage is the best in a series since Steven Neff’s 2.000 slugging mark vs. Arkansas in 2011.
For the season, Jones is hitting .593 (16-for-27) with a double, three homers, 11 runs scored, 19 RBI, a .694 on-base percentage and a .963 slugging mark. Jones leads the SEC in batting average, slugging, on-base percentage and runs batted in. Jones has five multi-hit games and six-multi-RBI games this season. Jones has driven in 11 of his 19 runs with two outs.
HILL ON THE MOUND
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 is the scheduled starter for South Carolina on Tuesday night at The Citadel.
HOPKINS RETURNS TO THE LOWCOUNTRY
South Carolina freshman outfielder TJ Hopkins will return to the Lowcountry in Tuesday night’s appearance vs. The Citadel. Hopkins is a native of Summerville, S.C. and attended Summerville HS before joining the Carolina program.
Hopkins has seen plenty of action in the first week with six starts in right field. Hopkins is hitting .263 (5-for-19) with a pair of runs scored, a homer and five RBI. Hopkins had a three-run homer and four RBI in last Wednesday’s 16-4 win over Winthrop. Hopkins tied a single-game school record with two outfield assists on Opening Day. vs. Albany.
The Gamecock pitching staff continues to succeed as the staff allowed just eight runs, six earned, on 19 hits in 27.0 innings vs. Penn State with 28 strikeouts.
The South Carolina pitching staff owns a team ERA of 1.50, best among all 14 SEC schools. The Gamecocks have allowed 16 runs, 12 earned, on 43 hits in 72.0 innings with 26 walks and 87 strikeouts. Along with the best ERA, the Gamecocks also lead the SEC with a .170 opposing batting average.
THAT WAS OFFENSIVE
After a .323 opening weekend, the Gamecocks were even better at the plate the second weekend with a .373 average (41-for-110) in the Penn State series. As a team, Carolina had a .449 on-base percentage and a .536 slugging mark.
For the season, South Carolina is hitting .337 (92-for-273) with a .443 on-base percentage and a .458 slugging mark. South Carolina’s OBP is third-best in the league with a fifth-best batting average as well. South Carolina is fielding .972 as well.
Sophomore first baseman Alex Destino homered twice including a grand slam homer and drove in seven runs, the most by any SEC player this year in a game in South Carolina’s 16-5 win over Penn State. He was also 3-for-4 with four RBI in last Wednesday’s win over Winthrop. Destino has started all eight games and has 11 RBI, second-most on the team this year.
SCHMIDT OFF TO A GOOD START
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Clarke Schmidt pitched seven scoreless innings and allowed just one walk and one hit while striking out eight batters in Friday’s 7-1 win over Penn State. Schmidt’s seven innings was the longest stint in his career with his eight strikeouts tying a career-high as well.
Schmidt is 2-0 with a 0.69 ERA and has a team-high 14 strikeouts in a team-high in 13.0 innings pitched. Opponents are batting .100 against him as he has allowed just one run on four hits in two starts. His opposing batting average is fourth-best in the SEC with a seventh-best ERA.
JONAH WITH A JOLT
Sophomore infielder Jonah Bride is second on the team in hitting with a .364 average (8-for-22) with a team-high 13 runs scored. Bride is second behind Jones with a .600 on-base percentage and has walked six times with seven hit by pitches also. Bride leads the SEC in hit by pitch, tied for third in runs scored and tied for fifth in on-base percentage. Bride is one of only two Gamecocks to have reached base in all eight games this year. He was 2-for-4 with a RBI and three runs in the 16-5 win over Penn State and 1-for-3 with two runs scored in Sunday’s 4-2 win over the Nittany Lions.
CULLEN CATCHING ON
Freshman catcher Chris Cullen owns a five-game hitting streak and is batting .350 (7-for-20) for the season with thee runs scored and six RBI. Cullen had two hits and a pair of RBI in two starts in the Penn State series.
WEBB WITH A WIN
Freshman right-hander Braden Webb improved to 2-0 on the year with a win vs. Penn State in Saturday’s contest. He allowed two runs, both unearned on three hits with two walks and five strikeouts in five innings of work.
He has 10 strikeouts in 10.0 innings with opponents batting .114 against him. Webb’s opposing batting average is fifth-best in the league.
REAGAN FROM THE LEFT
Junior left-hander Josh Reagan pitched a scoreless inning for his second save of the year in Sunday’s 4-2 win over Penn State. Reagan has not allowed a run in three relief appearances and just one hit in 3.2 innings while striking out seven batters.
MOONEY IN THE MIDDLE
Senior infielder Marcus Mooney is hitting .350 (7-for-20) for the season with a .536 on-base percentage. Mooney has six walks and two hit by pitches to one walk. He has scored eight runs and driven in five as well. Mooney also leads the team with three doubles.
He went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBI in Saturday’s 16-5 win over Penn State and 2-for-3 with a run in the 7-1 win over the Nittany Lions.
Junior right-hander Reed Scott picked up his first win of the season with 3.1 scoreless innings in Sunday’s 4-2 win over Penn State. Scott did not allow a hit, walked just one and had a strikeout to earn the victory.
Junior outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams has reached base in all eight games this year and is hitting .333 (10-for-30) for the season with nine runs scored and five RBI. He has six walks and a .459 on-base percentage. He was 2-for-5 with a RBI, double and a run scored in Friday’s 7-1 win over Penn State.
THE VERSATILE LT
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. He has started seven of eight games with three starts at second base, two starts at designated hitter and single starts at first base and shortstop.
BOWERS BRINGS IT
All six outs recorded by junior right-hander Colie Bowers in Friday’s 7-1 win over Penn State were by strikeout. Bowers has eight strikeouts in 3.1 innings in a pair of relief appearances this year.
Senior infielder DC Arendas had two hits in Saturday’s 16-5 win over Penn State and followed that up with a 2-for-2 day with a run in Sunday’s 4-2 win over the Nittany Lions. Arendas has a .429 on-base percentage for the season.
Three different Gamecocks have started in center field in the first eight games.
Sophomore Clark Scolamiero has four starts and is hitting .308 (4-for-13) with a pair of runs scored and three RBI.
Junior Gene Cone has seen action in six games in four starts including two in center. He is hitting .267 (4-for-15) with a pair of RBI and five runs scored.
Freshman Danny Blair also has two starts and seen action in five games. Blair had a career day going 3-for-5 with a double, a run scored and a RBI in Saturday’s 16-5 win over Penn State.
As a team, South Carolina has reached double-digit in hits in five of eight games this year including a season-high 19 in Saturday’s 16-5 victory over Penn State. The Gamecocks’ 19 hits tied for third-highest by a Gamecock team in the Chad Holbrook era.
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.
South Carolina is 128-48-1 vs. The Citadel in series history including a pair of wins last year. The Gamecocks defeated the Bulldogs 4-2 in the most recent contest, April 8 in Columbia. Carolina scratched across four runs in the third inning on the way to the win. The pitching staff combined for 14 strikeouts with Vince Fiori earning the win in relief. Carolina also won 2-0 in Charleston last year on March 31. Haswell, Cody Mincey and Widener combined for a two-hitter and Elliot Caldwell went 2-for-4 with a triple and a RBI single.
SCOUTING THE CITADEL
The Citadel enters with a 5-1 record and went 3-0 last week with a series sweep vs. Siena. The week prior, the Bulldogs won two of three games vs. Virginia Tech.
Sophomore first baseman Drew Ellis has been the clutch hitter for the Bulldogs as he has a team-high nine RBI to go along with two doubles, a triple and a homer.
The Citadel will send sophomore right-hander Jacob Watcher to the mound. He is 1-0 in three innings of relief with six strikeouts and six walks.
MORE ON THE MOUND
Carolina pitchers have 87 strikeouts in 72.0 innings including a season-high 16 in last Tuesday’s win over Appalachian State. Five of the eight games has seen the Gamecocks reach 10 strikeouts or more. In addition, the Gamecocks have allowed four hits or less in five of eight games as well. South Carolina has allowed five runs or less in all eight games.