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March 17, 2016

Game Information

Dates: Fri. Mar. 18./Sat. Mar. 19/Sun. Mar. 20

First Pitch: 7:30 p.m./4 p.m./1:30 p.m.

Location: Columbia, S.C.

Stadium: Founders Park

Tickets: $10 General Admission

Broadcast:SEC Network + (Derek Scott, pxp; Trey Dyson, analyst). Additional coverage on Friday on the SEC Network as a part of the Bases Loaded Special.

Radio:Friday, 1320 AM “The Fan,”; Saturday & Sunday 107.5 The Game & The Gamecock Radio Network (Andy Demetra & Tommy Moody); GamecocksOnline.com

COLUMBIA, S.C. — SEC play begins this weekend as South Carolina (17-2, 0-0 SEC) hosts Arkansas (15-3, 0-0 SEC) in a three-game series at Founders Park. Friday’s series opener on Friday is set for 7:30 p.m. It will be streamed live on SEC Network Plus with Derek Scott and Trey Dyson on the call and will be part of SEC Network’s Bases Loaded special. The Bases Loaded show is a live compilation of seven games — all 14 SEC teams — taking place that evening across the southeast. Kyle Peterson and Chris Burke, will join Dari Nowkhah to provide analysis and play by play for the Bases Loaded presentation. Friday’s game will also be heard on 1320 AM, “The Fan,” in Columbia with Andy Demetra and Tommy Moody on the call. Game two of the series is set for Saturday at 4 p.m. with Sunday’s series finale at 1:30 p.m. The final two games of the series will also be broadcast on SEC Network Plus and can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”

PROBABLE PITCHING MATCHUP

FRIDAY
South Carolina – Clarke Schmidt (So. RHP) 4-0, 0.32 ERA, 28.1 IP, 5 BB, 32 SO
Arkansas Dominic Taccolini (Jr. RHP) 3-0, 2.16 ERA, 25.0 IP, 5 BB, 23 SO

SATURDAY
South Carolina – Braden Webb (Fr. RHP) 3-1, 1.80 ERA, 20.0 IP, 13 BB, 21 SO
Arkansas – TBA

SUNDAY
South Carolina – Adam Hill (Fr. RHP) 4-0, 0.47 ERA, 19.1 IP, 3 BB, 32 SO
Arkansas – Keaton McKinney (So. RHP) 0-0, 6.46 ERA, 15.1 IP, 9 BB, 4 SO

RANKINGS

Both teams come into the contest nationally ranked. 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. Arkansas is ranked No. 13 in the USA Today coaches poll, No. 14 by D1Baseball, No. 15 by the NCBWA and No. 17 by Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball.

LOOKING BACK

South Carolina won a pair of midweek contests with a 15-2 win over Davidson on Wednesday night at Founders Park and a 12-6 win over USC Upstate on Tuesday night at Fluor Field in Greenville.

In Wednesday’s 15-2 win, the Gamecocks belted out 19 hits to tie a season high with Marcus Mooney 4-for-4 with four RBI and Gene Cone driving in a career-high four runs.

In Tuesday’s 6-2 win, LT Tolbert and Marcus Mooney each homered for the first time in the season and were part of a 16-hit attack. Sophomore right-hander Brandon Murray earned the win. He pitched 3.1 scoreless innings of relief and allowed just one hit and two walks while striking out two batters.

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.

Hill is the third Gamecock this year to earn a conference honor. John Jones was SEC Co-Player of the Week on February 29 and Clarke Schmidt earned SEC Pitcher of the Week on March 7.

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.

DYNAMIC DESTINO

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 an 11-game hitting streak. He is batting .351 (27-for-77) with 20 RBI. He has a .413 on-base percentage and a .545 slugging mark.

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.

DTW

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. On Wednesday vs. Davidson, Thompson-Williams stole three bases, the most since Max Schrock stole three vs. Ball State on March 6, 2013.

Thompson-Williams has reached base in all 19 games this year and is on an eight-game hitting streak. He is hitting .406 (28-for-69) with 24 runs scored, six doubles, four homers, nine stolen bases and 15 RBI. He has a .518 on-base percentage and leads with a .667 slugging percentage. Thompson-Williams ranks among the top 10 in many SEC offensive categories. He is third in runs scored, tied for third in total bases, tied for fourth in in hits and home runs, tied for sixth in on-base percentage tied for seventh in batting average stolen bases and walks, eighth in slugging percentage.

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.

MR. JONES

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 is among the team’s leading hitters with a .406 batting average (28-for-69) with three doubles, four homers, 18 runs scored and 23 RBI. He has a .518 on-base percentage and a .623 slugging mark. He ranks tied for fourth in the SEC in home runs and hits, fifth in runs batted in, tied for sixth in on-base percentage, tied for seventh in batting average and 13th in slugging percentage.

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.

TO ARMS

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 18 of 19 games this year. Carolina leads the SEC with a 1.97 team ERA. The Gamecocks have allowed 46 runs, 37 earned, on 122 hits in 169.0 innings. The staff has 184 strikeouts to 58 walks. Opponents are batting .201. The Gamecocks rank third in the SEC in opponents batting average and tied for third in strikeouts.

AT THE PLATE & ON THE FIELD

South Carolina is hitting .323 as a team (211-for-653) with a .415 on-base percentage as a team and a .452 slugging mark. South Carolina played six consecutive games without an error before two errors on Tuesday at USC Upstate. The Gamecocks are fielding .981 as a team with just 13 errors.

MOONEY IN THE MIDDLE

Senior infielder Marcus Mooney has belted out eight hits in the last two games, tying a career-high with four vs. USC Upstate and four vs. Davidson. He has raised his batting average to .351 (20-for-57) with a .518 on-base percentage He has 11 walks, two hit by pitches to two strikeouts.

JONAH WITH A JOLT

Sophomore infielder Jonah Bride is hitting .277 (18-for-65) with eight RBI and 21 runs scored and a .424 on-base percentage. Bride leads the SEC and the nation in hit by pitch with 10 on the year.

Bride tied a school record with a pair of sacrifice flies in Tuesday’s 12-6 win at USC Upstate.

WEBB WORKS

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 14 games with 12 starts behind the plate. Cullen had a six-game hitting streak snapped last Friday. He is batting .298 (14-for-47) with six runs scored and 10 RBI. He had a two-run double in Tuesday’s 12-6 win at USC Upstate.

GREAT SCOTT

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 3.55 ERA in seven appearances with 12.2 innings pitched.

THE VERSATILE LT

Freshman infielder LT Tolbert went 2-for-6 with his first career homer, two runs scored and two RBI in the 12-6 win at USC Upstate. He followed that up with two hits and a run vs. Davidson.

He has started 17 of 19 games with nine starts at first base, five starts at second base, two at designated hitter and a start at shortstop. Tolbert is hitting .269 (18-for-67) with nine runs scored and nine RBI.

TJ

South Carolina freshman outfielder TJ Hopkins has seen some action with 10 starts in right field. Hopkins is hitting .324 (12-for-37) with seven runs scored, a homer and 10 RBI. Hopkins had a big day on Wednesday vs. Davidson going 3-for-5 with three runs scored and three RBI>

Hopkins tied a single-game school record with two outfield assists on Opening Day vs. Albany.

DC DELIVERS

Senior infielder DC Arendas had a two-run double at USC Upstate and a two-run double vs. Davidson. Arendas has a .412 on-base percentage. He is fielding 1.000 with 20 putouts and 32 assists at second base in 17 games.

MR. MURRAY

Sophomore right-hander Brandon Murray pitched a season-high 3.1 innings and did not allow a run to earn his first career win in the 12-6 win at USC Upstate. Murray has a 1.74 ERA in 10.1 innings with eight strikeouts, opponents batting .184 against him.

CENTER FIELD

Four different Gamecocks have started in center field in the first 19 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 and at USC Upstate.

Sophomore Clark Scolamiero has five starts and is hitting .222 (4-for-18) with four runs scored and three RBI.

Junior Gene Cone has seen action in 14 games with 12 starts including three in center. He is hitting .295 (13-for-44) and drove in a career-high four runs in the 15-2 win vs. Davidson.

Freshman Danny Blair also has six starts and seen action in 11 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 seven appearances through the first 18 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 16 strikeouts in 9.2 innings for the year.

SCOUTING ARKANSAS

Arkansas heads to Columbia with a 15-3 overall record. The Razorbacks lead the SEC with 23 home runs and are second in the league as well with 147 runs scored. They are hitting .295 (176-for-604) as a team and own a team ERA of 3.27 in 165.0 innings. They are also fielding .976.

Sophomore third baseman Carson Shaddy is the team’s leading hitter with a .391 average (25-for-64) and the leads the SEC with five home runs. He has 18 RBI as well and a .672 slugging mark. Senior shortstop Michael Bernal has four homers as well and is tied with Shaddy for the team lead with 18 RBI. Junior right-hander Zach Jackson is 1-1 with three saves out of the bullpen and has 16 strikeouts in 12.1 innings. Junior right-hander Dominic Taccolini will get the ball on Friday and is 3-0 with a 2.16 ERA. He has 23 strikeouts to five walks in 25.0 innings. Opponents are hitting .143 against him and he has not allowed an extra base hit this year.

THE ARKANSAS SERIES

Arkansas leads the series history 37-28 heading into the weekend. The two teams did not play last year. Arkansas won two of three games in 2014 in Fayetteville, the last series meeting between the two schools. South Carolina last won the series in 2012 with two of three wins in Fayetteville and two of three wins in Omaha to advance to the national championship series.

DOUBLE TROUBLE

South Carolina tallied a season-high seven doubles in Wednesday’s win vs. Davidson. It tied for the highest single game total under head coach Chad Holbrook and was the most since seven at Tennessee April 7, 2013.

DOUBLE-DIGITS

As a team, South Carolina has reached double-digit in hits in 11 of 19 games this year including tying a season-high 19 Wednesday vs. Davidson. The Gamecocks’ 19 hits tied for third-highest by a Gamecock team in the Chad Holbrook era.

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