March 23, 2016
Dates: Thurs. Mar. 24/Fri. Mar. 25/Sat. Mar. 26
First Pitch: 7:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. ET/3 p.m. ET
Location: Oxford, Miss.
Stadium: Swayze Field
Broadcast:SEC Network + Saturday’s game will be televised on the SEC Network.
Radio: Thursday & Saturday 107.5 The Game & The Gamecock Radio Network (Andy Demetra & Tommy Moody); Friday, 1320 AM “The Fan,” GamecocksOnline.com
COLUMBIA, S.C. — SEC play continues as South Carolina (20-2, 3-0 SEC) heads to Oxford for a three-game series vs. Ole Miss (20-2, 2-1 SEC). First pitch on the Thursday opener is set for 7:30 p.m. ET. Friday’s game is also at 7:30 p.m. ET. Saturday’s series finale is scheduled for 3 p.m. ET.
Friday and Saturday’s games will be streamed live on SEC Network Plus. Sunday’s game will be televised live on the SEC Network. Thursday and Saturday’s games will also be available on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.” Friday’s game can be heard on 1320 AM, “The Fan,” in Columbia.
SOUTH CAROLINA PROBABLE STARTING PITCHERS
South Carolina – Clarke Schmidt (So. RHP) 5-0, 1.27 ERA, 35.1 IP, 6 BB, 43 SO
South Carolina – Braden Webb (Fr. RHP) 4-1, 1.71 ERA, 26.1 IP, 17 BB, 28 SO
South Carolina – Adam Hill (Fr. RHP) 4-0, 2.42 ERA, 22.1 IP, 4 BB, 37 SO
Both teams come into the contest nationally ranked. South Carolina is ranked No. 10 in the USA Today coaches poll, No. 12 by the NCBWA, No. 13 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 14 by D1Baseball, No. 18 by Baseball America and No. 19 by Perfect Game. Ole Miss is ranked No. 6 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 7 by Baseball America, No. 8 by D1Baseball and No. 9 by the NCBWA and in the USA Today coaches poll.
South Carolina went 5-0 last week with midweek wins at USC Upstate and vs. Davidson and a three-game series sweep vs. Arkansas. The Gamecocks are 20-2 on the year and tied atop the SEC standings with Florida with a 3-0 league mark after one week of conference play.
JONES NAMED SEC PLAYER OF THE WEEK
South Carolina sophomore catcher John Jones was named SEC Player of the Week after hitting .500 (7-for-14) in the Arkansas series with a pair of game-winning home runs as well as eight runs batted in. Jones opened the series going 3-for-5 with a pair of run scored and a RBI in the 10-6 win. He followed that up with a two-run homer to break a 2-2 tied in the 6-2 win over Arkansas on Saturday. Jones capped the weekend off going 3-for-5 with a double and a game-winning three-rum homer in the bottom of the eighth inning that lifted Carolina to an 8-6 victory vs. the Razorbacks. Jones’ five RBIs in Sunday’s contest was a career-high as well.
Jones leads the SEC in batting average (.422) and is tied for the league lead with six home runs and 57 total bases. He ranks third in RBIs (31), third in on-base percentage (.515), fourth in slugging percentage (.687)
This is Jones’ second conference award of the year as he was also Co-Player of the Week on February 29 after the Penn State series. It is the fourth time this season a Gamecock has been recognized by the conference. Clarke Schmidt earned SEC Pitcher of the Week on March 7 and Adam Hill was SEC Freshman of the Week on March 14.
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.
SCHMIDT WITH SUCCESS
Sophomore right-hander Clarke Schmidt leads the Gamecocks on the mound as he owns a 5-0 record with a 1.27 ERA. Schmidt is one of only three pitchers in the SEC with five wins on the year. Schmidt has allowed just five runs on 22 hits in 35.1 innings of work with six walks and 43 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting .180 against him. He ranks third in innings pitched and strikeouts and fifth in earned run average. Schmidt pitched seven innings and struck out a career-high 11 batters to earn the win in Friday’s 10-6 victory over Arkansas.
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 outfielder/first baseman Alex Destino is on a 14-game hitting streak for the Gamecocks that dates back to the March 1 game at The Citadel. Destino’s top performance of the week was a 3-for-4 day at the plate with two runs and two RBI in Friday’s 10-6 win over the Razorbacks.
For the season, Destino is batting .364 (32-for-88) with 19 runs scored, three doubles, four homers and 22 RBI. He is slugging .534 as well. Destino’s 22 RBI ranks him 12th in the SEC.
Junior outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams has reached base in all 22 games this year and is on an 11-game hitting streak. In his current hitting streak, Thompson-Williams has also scored at least one run in each of those games. Thompson-Williams went 7-for-17 (.412) in last week’s games including 2-for-3 with three runs in the 15-2 win over Davidson, 2-for-4 with two runs a triple and two RBI in Friday’s 10-6 win over Arkansas and a two-run triple in Sunday’s 8-6 victory over the Razorbacks.
For the season, Thompson-Williams is hitting .395 (32-for-81) with 28 runs scored, six doubles, two triples, four homers and 20 RBI. He has a team-high 16 walks, has a .505 on-base percentage and is at a .667 slugging mark. Thompson-Williams is tied for second in the SEC in runs scored is tied for fifth with 54 total bases, is fifth in on-base percentage, seventh in slugging percentage, tied for seventh in walks and hits and ninth in batting average. He is also 9-for-10 in stolen base attempts, which is tied for seventh in the league.
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..
Freshman right-hander Braden Webb earned a win his first career SEC start logging a career-high 6.1 innings and tying a career-high with seven strikeouts in the 6-2 win over 13th ranked Arkansas. Webb allowed two runs, one earned, on three hits with four walks to improve to 4-1 on the year.
Webb has allowed 10 runs, five earned, in 26.1 innings of work this year to go along with a 1.71 ERA. He has 28 strikeouts and opponents are batting .147 against him. Webb’s .147 opponents batting average is second-best in the league with his ERA ranked ninth in the SEC also.
Freshman infielder LT Tolbert hit .455 (5-for-11) in the Arkansas series with a double and five runs scored. He also hit .409 (9-for-22) for the week with a two-run homer on Tuesday at USC Upstate and a 2-for-5 game vs. Davidson. Tolbert tied a career-high in hits in Friday’s 10-6 win over Arkansas going 3-for-5 with a run. He capped the weekend off going 2-for-4 with a double and two runs in Sunday’s 8-6 victory.
For the season, Tolbert is hitting .295 (23-for-78) with nine RBI and 14 runs scored as well as five doubles. He has a .364 on-base percentage. Tolbert has played in 21 games with 20 starts.
JOHNSON BRINGS THE HEAT
Sophomore right-hander Tyler Johnson picked up his first career save in Saturday’s 6-2 win over Arkansas. Johnson pitched 2.2 scoreless with two strikeouts and just one hit allowed. For the season, Johnson has 18 strikeouts in 12.1 innings with opponents batting .209 against him and a 3.65 ERA.
CONE LEADS IT OFF
Junior outfielder Gene Cone hit .333 (4-for-12) in the Arkansas series with a pair of walks. Cone had five runs scored in the Arkansas series. He was 2-for-4 with two runs in Friday’s 10-6 win as well as 1-for-4 with a run on Saturday and 1-for-4 with two runs on Sunday. Cone is on an eight-game hitting streak as well. He is hitting .304 (17-for-56) with seven RBI and 13 runs scored.
HILL ON THE MOUND
Freshman right-hander Adam Hill continues to impress as he opened Sunday’s game retiring the first eight batters he faced. Hill struck out five and walked one in three-plus innings. He is 4-0 on the year with 37 strikeouts to four walks in 22.1 innings pitched. Hill’s 37 strikeouts ranks tied for eighth in the SEC. Hill’s average of 14.91 strikeouts per nine innings is second-highest in the nation.
Hill was named SEC Freshman of the Week after winning a pair of games the week of March 7-13 to improve to 4-0 on the year. In a predetermined split on March 8, 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 March 13th’s 2-0 win over Charleston Southern. Hill allowed just four hits and one walk while striking out eight in the victory over CSU.
MOONEY IN THE MIDDLE
Senior infielder Marcus Mooney tied a career-high last Tuesday and Wednesday in hits going 4-for-5 in the 12-6 win over USC Upstate and 4-for-4 in Wednesday’s 10-6 win over Davidson. Mooney added a key two-run single in Saturday’s 6-2 win over the Razorbacks.
He is hitting .313 (21-for-67) with 13 RBI and 15 runs scored. Mooney has a .439 on-base percentage with 11 walks, four hit by pitches and just two strikeouts.
Junior right-hander Reed Scott is right behind Reagan out of the bullpen with nine relief appearances on the year. Scott pitched one scoreless inning of relief in Friday’s 10-6 win over Arkansas and 3.1 scoreless with a season-high three strikeouts in Sunday’s 8-6 win. Scott is 1-0 with a 2.65 ERA. He has allowed five runs on 16 hits in 17.0 innings.
CULLEN CATCHING ON
Freshman catcher Chris Cullen caught four of the five games last week. He had a two-run double at USC Upstate and a two-run double in Friday’s 10-6 win over the Razorbacks. He is hitting .291 (16-for-55) with four doubles, six runs and 13 RBI.
Senior infielder DC Arendas tallied a two-run double on Tuesday at USC Upstate, was 2-for-2 with two runs scored in Wednesday’s win vs. Davidson and went 2-for-4 with a double, a homer and a season-high three RBI in Friday’s 10-6 win over Arkansas.
Arendas is hitting .255 with a .381 on-base percentage.
JONAH WITH A JOLT
Sophomore infielder Jonah Bride is hitting .263 (20-for-76) with nine RBI and 22 runs scored and a .408 on-base percentage. Bride leads the SEC in hit by pitch with 10 on the year.
Bride tied a school record with a pair of sacrifice flies in the 12-6 win at USC Upstate.
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.
South Carolina’s pitching staff is second in the SEC and seventh in the nation with a 2.25 ERA and second in the league with a .208 opponents batting average. The Gamecocks have struck out 217 batters in 196.0 innings, tied for third-best in the league. South Carolina has allowed 60 runs, 49 earned, on 147 hits. South Carolina has allowed five runs or less in 19 of 22 games.
The Gamecocks are seventh in the nation averaging 10.0 strikeouts per nine innings and eighth in WHIP with a 1.09 mark. The team’s strikeout-to-walk ratio of 3.29 is 12th best in the nation.
AT THE PLATE & ON THE FIELD
South Carolina is hitting .325 as a team (245-for-755) on the year with a .415 on-base percentage and a .458 slugging mark. The Gamecocks rank second in the SEC and 11th in the nation in hitting as well as second in the SEC in on-base percentage and 13th in the nation. The Gamecocks are also third in the SEC and 11th in the nation with 166 runs scored on the year. South Carolina’s 19 home runs is tied for fourth in the league. South Carolina is fielding .980, fourth-best in the SEC and 19th in the country.
SCOUTING OLE MISS
Ole Miss enters as a consensus top 10 ranked team sporting a 20-2 record with a 2-1 mark after the first weekend of SEC play. The Rebels are hitting .285 (201-for-705) as a team with a .388 on-base percentage and are also fielding .971 as a team. The Rebels own a 2.42 team ERA with 190 strikeouts in 193.2 innings and opponents batting .226 against them.
Sophomore infielder Tate Blackman leads the Rebels at the plate with a .347 average (25-for-72) with 20 runs scored, six doubles, two homers and 21 RBI. Junior outfielder J.B. Woodman is hitting .325 (25-for-77) with 18 runs scored, four homers and 21 RBI. He has a team-high seven stolen bases. Junior infielder Colby Bortles has a .329 average (23-for-70) with three homers, nine doubles and 19 RBI also.
Ole Miss junior right-hander Brady Bramlett is 4-0 with a 2.03 ERA and has struck out 39 batters in 26.1 innings. Opponents are hitting .192 against him. Junior left-hander Wyatt Short has fives saves and a 1-1 record with a 0.87 ERA in seven relief appearances. He has struck out 13 batters in 10.1 innings pitched.
THE OLE MISS SERIES
The Gamecocks lead the series history vs. Ole Miss 32-22 including two of three wins vs. the Rebels the last time the two schools met, March 14-15 in Columbia. After falling 6-4 in the series opener, Carolina swept a doubleheader with a 5-4 win in 10 innings and a 3-1 victory in the nightcap.
This will be South Carolina’s first trip to Oxford since the 2011 regular season. The Rebels were the only team to defeat Carolina in a series that year. The Gamecocks went on to win a second consecutive national title.