March 14, 2016
Dates: Tues. Mar. 15
First Pitch: 7 p.m.
Location: Greenville, S.C.
Stadium: Fluor Field
Tickets: $8-10 General Admission
Radio: 1320 AM Columbia “The Fan” (Derek Scott & Tommy Moody); GamecocksOnline.com
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina (15-2) returns to the road on Tuesday night with a non-conference tilt vs. USC Upstate (8-9) at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game can be heard on the “The Fan,” 1320 AM in Columbia.
PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUP
South Carolina is ranked No. 12 in the USA Today coaches poll, No. 16 by D1Baseball, No. 17 by the NCBWA and No. 20 by Collegiate Baseball.
South Carolina went 5-0 last week with midweek wins vs. Wofford and Furman and a three-game series sweep vs. Charleston Southern.
HILL NAMED SEC FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK
South Carolina freshman right-handed pitcher Adam Hill has been named SEC Freshman of the Week. Hill won a pair of games this past week to improve to 4-0 on the year.
In a predetermined split on Tuesday night, Hill went three innings and allowed one run on three hits with no walks and five strikeouts in a 7-1 win over Wofford. He followed that up with 5.1 scoreless innings in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Charleston Southern. Hill allowed just four hits and one walk while striking out eight in the victory over CSU.
Along with a 4-0 record, Hill owns a 0.47 ERA in four starts with 32 strikeouts to just three walks in 19.1 innings. Opponents are batting .185 against him. Hill’s ERA is second-best in the league.
SCHMIDT WITH SUCCESS
Sophomore right-hander Clarke Schmidt extended his scoreless inning streak to 24.0 innings in Friday’s 9-0 win over Charleston Southern. Schmidt allowed just four hits in 7.1 innings to improve to 4-0 on the year. He struck out nine and walked none. Schmidt is 4-0 with a 0.32 ERA and has allowed just one run on 13 hits in 28.1 innings. He has struck out 32 to five walks. Opponents are batting .141 against him. Schmidt leads the SEC in earned run average and is second in the SEC in opposing batting average.
Schmidt was named SEC Pitcher of the Week on March 7 after he struck out a career-high nine batters in eight scoreless innings in Friday’s 8-1 win over Clemson. Schmidt’s outing was the longest of his career. Schmidt also earned the Tom Price Award as MVP of the Gamecocks for the Clemson series.
Sophomore Alex Destino homered twice last week and is tied with Dom Thompson-Williams and John Jones for the team lead with four on the year. Destino owns a nine-game hitting streak. He is batting .348 (24-for-69) with 20 RBI as well. He has a .408 on-base percentage and a .551 slugging percentage.
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.
Junior outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams was South Carolina’s top hitter in last week’s five games. Thompson-Williams hit .526 (10-for-19) with six runs scored, two doubles, three homers and nine RBI. He opened the week 3-for-3 with a homer and three RBI in Tuesday’s 7-1 win over Wofford. He followed that up with two hits in the 5-4 win over Furman. He would go 2-for-4 with a two-run homer and a career-high four RBI in Friday’s 9-0 win over Charleston Southern He went 2-for-4 with a two-rum homer as well in Saturday’s 5-4 win over Charleston Southern. His double on Sunday led to the first run in Sunday’s 2-0 win over Charleston Southern.
Thompson-Williams has reached base in all 17 games this year and is on a six-game hitting streak. He is hitting .391 (25-for-64) with a team-high 19 runs scored, six doubles, four homers and 14 RBI. He has a .487 on-base percentage and is tied for the team lead with a .672 slugging mark. Thompson-Williams ranks tied for sixth in the SEC in slugging percentage, tied for seventh in hits and tied for eighth in runs scored. He has a team-high nine multi-hit games.
REAGAN FROM THE LEFT
Junior left-hander Josh Reagan picked up three saves this past week and leads the SEC with six on the year. Reagan has not allowed a run in eight relief appearances. He has limited opponents to just six hits and two walks while striking out 12 in 13.2 innings of work. Opponents are hitting just .130.
He pitched a perfect inning in Wednesday’s 5-4 victory over Furman, 1.1 scoreless innings in Saturday’s 5-4 win over Charleston Southern and two scoreless in Sunday’s 2-0 victory over the Bucs.
Sophomore catcher John Jones had a pair of multi-hit games last e week. He was 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored in Tuesday’s 6-3 win at The Citadel. He went 2-for-3 with a walk in Sunday’s game at Clemson as well. Jones hit a two-run homer on Wednesday in the win over Furman.
Jones leads the Gamecocks and the SEC with a .426 batting average (26-for-61). He has 17 runs scored and 21 RBI. His .539 on-base percentage is third-highest in the league with his .672 slugging tied for the team-highest and sixth-best in the SEC.
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 in the Penn State series. 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.
South Carolina’s pitching staff put together a pair of shutouts vs. Charleston Southern and have three on the year. The Gamecocks have allowed just five runs or less in all 17 games this year. Carolina owns a 1.85 team ERA with 38 runs allowed, 31 earned, on 104 hits in 151.0 innings. The staff has 168 strikeouts to 50 walks. Opponents are batting .194 against the Gamecocks. The Gamecocks rank second in the SEC in both earned run average and opponents batting average and fourth in strikeouts.
AT THE PLATE & ON THE FIELD
South Carolina is hitting .308 as a team (176-for-572) with a .404 on-base percentage as a team and a .425 slugging mark. South Carolina did not commit an error the entire week and have played six consecutive games without an error as well as eight of the last nine contests. The Gamecocks are fielding .984 as a team with just 10 errors.
MOONEY IN THE MIDDLE
Senior infielder Marcus Mooney is batting .250 (14-for-56). with a .400 on-base percentage He has 10 walks, two hit by pitches to two strikeouts.
JONAH WITH A JOLT
Sophomore infielder Jonah Bride is hitting .276 (16-for-58) with six RBI and 18 runs scored and a .440 on-base percentage. Bride leads the SEC in hit by pitch with nine on the year.
Freshman right-hander Braden Webb pitched 5.2 scoreless innings to earn his third win of the year in the 5-4 win over Charleston Southern. Webb allowed just three hits and two walks while striking out four batters. He is 3-1 on the year with a 1.80 ERA. He has allowed eight runs, four earned, on 11 hits in 20.0 innings. He has struck out 21 and walked 13 with opponents batting .151 against him. Webb’s opponents batting average is tied for sixth-best in the SEC.
CULLEN CATCHING ON
Freshman catcher Chris Cullen has seen action in 13 games with 11 starts behind the plate. Cullen had a six-game hitting streak snapped last Friday. He is batting .302 (13-for-43) with six runs scored and eight RBI. He went 2-for-5 in last Friday’s win over Charleston Southern.
Junior right-hander Reed Scott worked three scoreless innings of relief in the 5-4 win over Furman. He picked up his first win of the season with 3.1 scoreless innings in a 4-2 win over Penn State. Scott did not allow a hit, walked just one and had a strikeout to earn the victory. Scott is 1-0 with a 1.54 ERA in six appearances with 11.2 innings pitched.
THE VERSATILE LT
Freshman infielder LT Tolbert had a key two-run single in Tuesday’s 7-1 win over Wofford. He has started 15 of 17 games with seven starts at first base, five starts at second base, two at designated hitter and a start at shortstop. Tolbert is hitting .250 (14-for-56) with six runs scored and seven RBI.
South Carolina freshman outfielder TJ Hopkins has seen some action with nine starts in right field. Hopkins is hitting .250 (9-for-32) with four runs scored, a homer and seven 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.
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.
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.
Bowers is 1-0 with a 1.69 ERA in 5.1 innings with eight strikeouts on the year. Opponents are batting .059 against him. He has allowed just one hit this year, a solo home run against Penn State.
Senior infielder DC Arendas had two hits in a 16-5 win over Penn State and followed that up with a 2-for-2 day with a run in a 4-2 win over the Nittany Lions. Arendas has a .341 on-base percentage. He is fielding 1.000 with 18 putouts and 31 assists at second base in 16 games.
Sophomore right-hander Brandon Murray retired all eight batters he faced in a 6-3 win at The Citadel. Murray has a 2.57 ERA in 7.0 innings with six strikeouts, opponents batting .222 against him.
Murray pitched a scoreless inning in the 7-1 win over Wofford with two strikeouts.
Four different Gamecocks have started in center field in the first 17 games. Dom Thompson-Williams made his first start in center field in Tuesday’s 7-1 win over Wofford. He also started in center in Wednesday’s contest vs. Furman and twice vs. Charleston Southern
Sophomore Clark Scolamiero has five starts and is hitting .235 (4-for-17) with three runs scored and three RBI.
Junior Gene Cone has seen action in 12 games with 10 starts including two in center. He is hitting .273 (9-for-33) with three RBI and six runs scored.
Freshman Danny Blair also has six starts and seen action in 10 games. Blair had a career day going 3-for-5 with a double, a run scored and a RBI in a 16-5 win over Penn State. He was 2-for-5 with a RBI double at The Citadel. He is hitting .280 (7-for-25).
JOHNSON BRINGS THE HEAT
Sophomore right-hander Tyler Johnson has made six appearances through the first 17 games. Johnson pitched a career-high four scoreless innings and struck out a career-high seven batters in the 7-1 win over Wofford. Johnson has 14 strikeouts in 8.1 innings for the year.
SCOUTING USC UPSTATE
USC Upstate enters Tuesday night with a record of 8-9 on the year. Cody Brittain is among the top hitters on the team with a .390 batting average (16-for-41) with six runs scored, five doubles, a triple, a homer and seven RBI. James Fowlkes leads in power with three homers and seven RBI and a .288 average (15-for-52). Junior right-hander Tyler Jackson is fresh off being named A-Sun Co-Pitcher of the Week. In his last start at The Citadel on March 8, Jackson struck out a career-high 13 batters while limiting the Bulldogs to five hits in a 7-1 complete game victory. The former Gamecock right-hander is 2-1 with a 2.71 ERA, and leads the A-Sun with 34 strikeouts and 13.11 strikeouts per game. Jackson was a member of the Gamecock baseball team in 2013, but did not see any action.
THE USC UPSTATE SERIES
South Carolina is 9-0 in series history vs. USC Upstate including a 17-0 victory last year in Columbia.
Carolina belted out 18 hits in the contests with a four-run third inning and five-run fourth inning putting the game out of reach early. 15 of South Carolina’s 17 runs were with two outs. Hunter Taylor tied a career-high with three RBI and Madison Stokes had two hits and two RBI as well. Alex Destino also drove in four runs including a three-run homer. It was South Carolina’s seventh shutout of the 2015 season.
WIDENER GETS THE BALL ON TUESDAY
Junior right-hander Taylor Widener will start for South Carolina on Tuesday night vs. USC Upstate. Widener is 0-1 on the year with a 4.26 ERA in three starts. He has 12 strikeouts in 12.2 innings with opponents batting .260 against him.
In his first start of the season, sophomore infielder Matt Williams hit a solo home run in Sunday’s 2-0 victory over Charleston Southern.