April 7, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (25-5, 7-2 SEC) returns to SEC action on Friday night as the Gamecocks begin a three-game series with Tennessee (18-11, 3-6 SEC). First pitch for the opener in 7 p.m. Game two on Saturday is 4 p.m. with the series finale on Sunday slated for 1:30 p.m. All three games will be broadcast on SEC Network Plus and are available on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.” Carolina enters the weekend tied for first place in the league with Florida.
PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
South Carolina – Clarke Schmidt (So. RHP) 6-1, 1.80 ERA, 50.0 IP, 7 BB, 60 SO
Tennessee — Aaron Soto (So. LHP) 3-0, 3.38 ERA, 21.1 IP, 6 BB, 14 SO
South Carolina – Braden Webb (Fr. RHP) 6-1, 1.70 ERA, 42.1 IP, 22 BB, 53 SO
Tennessee – Zach Warren (So. LHP) 4-2, 2.98 ERA, 42.1 IP, 13 BB, 40 SO
South Carolina – Adam Hill (Fr. RHP) – 5-0, 2.51 ERA, 32.1 IP, 12 BB, 46 SO
Tennessee – Andy Cox (Sr. LHP) 2-3, 7.07 ERA, 35.2 IP, 27 BB, 35 SO
South Carolina is ranked No. 6 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 7 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, No. 8 by Baseball America and D1Baseball and No. 11 by Perfect Game.
Junior right-hander Taylor Widener worked five-plus innings to earn his first win of the season and combined with three relievers to limit 20th-ranked Coastal Carolina to five hits as Carolina earned a 4-2 victory Tuesday night. Dom Thompson-Williams and DC Arendas each had two hits apiece to lead the Gamecocks at the plate.
SCHMIDT NAMED CO-PITCHER OF THE MONTH FOR MARCH BY THE NCBWA
South Carolina sophomore right-handed pitcher Clarke Schmidt was named National Co-Pitcher of the Month for March as announced by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) on Monday. Schmidt won four games last month and struck out 46 batters in 37.0 innings pitched with a 2.19 ERA.
Schmidt opened the month pitching eight scoreless innings with nine strikeouts and just five hits allowed in an 8-1 victory over Clemson. He followed that up with 7.1 scoreless innings with just four hits allowed, no walks and nine strikeouts in a 9-0 victory over Charleston Southern. A week later as SEC play opened up, Schmidt struck out a career-high 11 batters in a 10-6 victory over Arkansas. His fourth win of the month would come at Ole Miss as he allowed just one run on nine hits in 6.2 innings with eight strikeouts in the 5-1 victory in Oxford.
For the season, Schmidt is 6-1 with a 1.80 ERA. He has allowed 12 runs, 10 earned, on 39 hits in 50.0 innings with seven walks and 60 strikeouts. Opponents are batting .214 against him. Schmidt is tied for the SEC lead in strikeouts, second in innings pitched, tied for second in wins, fifth in ERA and 12th in opponents batting average.
Founded in 1962, the NCBWA is dedicated to the advancement of college baseball. Membership is open to writers, broadcasters and publicists of the sport.
Sophomore outfielder Alex Destino hit .500 (3-for-6) in the Vanderbilt series in the first two games before an injury took him out of the rest of the series in game two. He was 2-for-2 with a RBI single in the 4-0 win over Vanderbilt. Destino extended his hitting streak to 20 games, the longest streak by a Gamecock player since Jackie Bradley Jr. hit safely in 22 consecutive games in the 2010 regular season. For the season, Destino is hitting .360 (41-for-114) with four homers, seven doubles, 21 runs scored and 26 RBI. He has a .402 on-base percentage and a .526 slugging mark.
Destino’s top games this year included going 5-for-5 with four RBI in an 8-1 win vs. Clemson and 3-for-6 with a double, two homers, two runs and a career-high seven RBI in a 16-5 win over Penn State.
WEBB NAMED SEC FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK FOR SECOND STRAIGHT WEEK
South Carolina freshman right-handed pitcher Braden Webb has been named SEC Freshman of the Week for the second consecutive week. Webb struck out 11 batters in eight scoreless innings and limited third ranked Vanderbilt to just two hits in a 4-0 win on Friday night.
Fresh off 14 strikeouts vs. Ole Miss last week, Webb was masterful again on the mound not allowing a hit until a two-out double in the sixth inning and just two in the contest. Webb’s eight innings tied a season-high for innings pitched that he set last week at Ole Miss. He has allowed just six hits and has struck out 25 batters in the last two outings. For the season, Webb is 6-1 with a 1.70 ERA. He has allowed 13 runs, eight earned, on 20 hits in 42.1 innings with 53 strikeouts. Opponents are batting .137 against him. Webb ranks second in the SEC in opponents batting average, tied for second in wins, fourth in ERA, tied for sixth in strikeouts and tied for 10th in innings pitched. Webb leads all freshman in the country with 53 strikeouts also.
Webb’s recognition is the sixth time this season a Gamecock has earned a weekly honor from the SEC and his second honor of the year from the conference. John Jones was SEC Co-Player of the Week on February 29 and SEC Player of the Week on March 21, Clarke Schmidt earned SEC Pitcher of the Week on March 7 and Adam Hill was SEC Freshman of the Week on March 14.
Webb was also National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball for his performance at Ole Miss. In the Ole Miss game, after allowing three consecutive base runners to reach with one out in the first inning, Webb retired 17 in a row and 23 of 25 at one stretch to help lead the Gamecocks to victory. With the win he is now 5-1 on the year. Webb’s 14 strikeouts were the most by a Gamecock since Billy Buckner struck out 16 on March 6, 2004 vs. Clemson and one short of the school’s freshman record of 15 set by Brian Williams on May 29, 1988 vs. Georgia Tech. Along with a 5-1 record, Webb owns a 2.10 ERA in six starts with 13 runs allowed, eight earned, on 18 hits in 34.1 innings with 42 strikeouts and 19 walks. Opponents are hitting .148 against Webb. That opposing batting average ranks second best in the SEC. Webb has 24 strikeouts looking, which tops the league mark also.
CONE LEADS IT OFF
Junior outfielder Gene Cone owns a 15-game hitting streak and has raised his batting average to .326 (29-for-89) for the season with 21 runs scored. He has 16 walks to 11 strikeouts and a .421 on-base percentage. Cone was 2-for-5 with two runs scored in the 4-0 win at Vanderbilt.
Sophomore catcher John Jones continues to be among the top hitters in the Southeastern Conference. Jones is hitting .360 (41-for-114) with 28 runs scored, six homers and 33 RBI. He also leads Carolina with a .464 on-base percentage and a .576 slugging mark. Jones is tied for second in the SEC in home runs and tied for fifth in runs batted in.
Jones was named SEC Player of the Week on March 21 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.
That was Jones’ second conference award of the year as he was also Co-Player of the Week on February 29 after the Penn State series. 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.
Junior outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams had reached base in 26 consecutive games to open the season before the streak snapped on March 31 at Vanderbilt. Thompson-Williams is among conference leaders with a .351 average (40-for-114) with four homers, 27 RBI and a team-high 30 runs scored.
Thompson-Williams ranks ninth in the SEC with 30 runs and is also 14th in the league with a .449 on-base percentage. Thompson-Williams had a pair of hits and two RBI in Saturday’s 10-6 loss at Vanderbilt and followed that up with two hits including a RBI double in Tuesday’s 4-2 win over Coastal Carolina.
REAGAN FROM THE LEFT
Junior left-hander Josh Reagan has allowed just one run on 10 hits in 26.0 innings of relief this year. He has a 1-0 record with a SEC-leading eight saves in 16 relief appearances and a 0.35 ERA. Opponents are batting .116 against him.
Reagan made two relief appearances vs. Vanderbilt and did not allow a batter to reach base in two perfect innings of relief. He pitched two scoreless innings of relief for a save vs. Coastal Carolina.
CULLEN CATCHING ON
Junior left-hander Josh Reagan has allowed just one run on 10 hits in 24.0 innings of relief this year. He has a 1-0 record with seven saves in 15 relief appearances and a 0.38 ERA. Opponents are batting .125 against him.
Reagan made two relief appearances vs. Vanderbilt and did not allow a batter to reach base in two perfect innings of relief.
Freshman infielder LT Tolbert had a key two-run triple in the ninth inning in the 4-0 win at Vanderbilt. It was his first career triple. Tolbert is hitting .243 (27-for-111) with 15 RBI and 18 runs scored. He has five doubles and a homer as well.
JOHNSON BRINGS THE HEAT
Sophomore right-hander Tyler Johnson shown an electric arm this year out of the bullpen. Johnson has struck out 24 batters in 19.2 innings in 12 relief appearances and owns a pair of saves. Opponents are hitting .209 against him.
HILL ON THE MOUND
Freshman right-hander Adam Hill pitched six scoreless innings to earn the win in a 4-0 series finale over Ole Miss. Hill is 5-0 on the year with a 2.51 ERA. He has allowed nine runs on 23 hits in 32.1 innings with 12 walks to 46 strikeouts. Opponents are batting .204 against him. His 46 strikeouts are the second-most by a freshman in the nation, just behind teammate Braden Webb.
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.
JONAH WITH A JOLT
Sophomore infielder Jonah Bride hit his first career homer, a two-run shot in the 10-6 loss at Vanderbilt. Bride is hitting .238 (25-for-105) with 28 runs scored and 15 RBI. He is tied with the SEC lead with 13 hit by pitches and has 13 walks with a .388 on-base percentage.
MOONEY IN THE MIDDLE
Senior infielder Marcus Mooney is hitting .305 (29-for-95) with 20 runs scored and 15 RBI. Mooney is at .402 in on-base percentage with 11 walks and five hit by pitches to just five strikeouts. He is fielding .946 at shortstop.
Mooney tied a career-high in hits in the middle of March going 4-for-5 in the 12-6 win over USC Upstate and 4-for-4 in a 10-6 win over Davidson.
Junior right-hander Reed Scott has made 12 relief appearances on the year. Scott pitched one scoreless inning of relief in a 10-6 win over Arkansas and 3.1 scoreless with a season-high three strikeouts in an 8-6 win over the Razorbacks. Scott is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA. He has allowed eight runs on 21 hits in 18.2 innings.
Senior infielder DC Arendas was one of the Gamecocks’ top hitter in the Vanderbilt series batting .400 (4-for-10) with four runs scored, a homer and two RBI. He followed that up with a 2-for-3 day at the plate vs. Coastal Carolina. Arendas raised his batting average to .256 (21-for-82) with a .354 on-base percentage. Arendas has been stellar defensively as well fielding .989 for the season with just one error in 95 chances with 32 putouts and 62 assists. That error came at shortstop as well, not at his primary position of second base.
South Carolina freshman outfielder TJ Hopkins has seen some action with 14 starts in right field. Hopkins is hitting .306 (15-for-49) with nine runs scored, a homer and 11 RBI. Hopkins’ diving catch in right-center in the 10-6 loss at Vanderbilt was the No. 6 Play of the Day on ESPN”s SportsCenter.
Hopkins went 2-for-4 in a 4-0 win at Ole Miss and made eight putouts in the outfield, one short of single-game school record by an outfielder. He tied a single-game school record with two outfield assists on Opening Day. vs. Albany.
South Carolina has outscored its opponents this year 206-90 including 54-18 in the first two innings of play. The Gamecocks are 21-1 on the year when scoring first and 13-1 when scoring in the first inning. South Carolina is 21-0 when out-hitting its opponent and 15-1 when hitting at least one home run. The Gamecocks are 24-0 when leading after the seventh inning. South Carolina is 7-3 in games decided by three runs or less. Carolina has reached double-digits in hits in 15 games this year with a 15-0 record with 10 hits or more.
South Carolina leads the SEC with a 2.47 team ERA and a .207 opponents batting average. The Gamecocks have allowed 90 runs, 74 earned, on 202 hits in 270.0 innings. The Gamecocks have compiled 296 strikeouts to 93 walks. Carolina’s average of 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings is fourth-best in the nation. The Gamecocks have a WHIP of 1.10 that is ninth-best in the nation also.
AT THE PLATE & ON THE FIELD
South Carolina is hitting .302 (316-for-1045) as a team with a .390 on-base percentage and a .427 slugging percentage. The Gamecocks have hit 22 homers. Carolina is fielding .978 as a team with just 24 errors on the year.
Tennessee comes to Columbia with an 18-11 record as well as a 3-6 mark in SEC play. The Volunteers won 6-5 over Morehead State on Wednesday in midweek action.
Junior third baseman Nick Senzel is considered one of the top college prospects in the country. He is among the leading hitters in the SEC with a .392 batting average (40-for-102), four homers, a SEC-leading 15 doubles, 38 runs scored and 40 RBI. His on-base percentage is .511 and he owns a .657 slugging mark. Sophomore catcher Benito Santiago is right behind him with a .391 average (27-for-69) with 18 runs scored. Senior outfielder Vincent Jackson is hitting .343 and junior infielder Jordan Rodgers hit for the cycle last week and is batting .313 (36-for-115) with seven doubles, five triples, four homers and 48 RBI.
On the mound, the Volunteers are led by sophomore left-hander Aaron Soto, who is 3-0 with a 3.38 ERA in two starts. Sophomore left-hander Zach Warren is expected to go in game two and is 4-2 with a 2.98 ERA in a team-high 42.1 innings pitched. He has 40 strikeouts. Senior left-hander Andy Cox is the Sunday starter. He is 2-3 with a 7.07 ERA with 35 strikeouts in 35.2 innings pitched.
THE TENNESSEE SERIES
The Gamecocks lead the series history 55-36 vs. Tennessee. The Volunteers took the series last year in Knoxville with a pair of wins. Carolina swept Tennessee two years ago in the last series played in Columbia.