May 5, 2016
Date: Fri. May 6/ Sat. May 7/Sun. May 8
First Pitch: 6:30 p.m./6:30 p.m./3 p.m.
Location: Lexington, Ky.
Stadium: Cliff Hagan Stadium
Television: Friday & Saturday ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” SEC Network Plus (Dick Gabriel & Keith Madison); Sunday ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢’Â¬” ESPNU (Clay Matvick & Mike Rooney)
Radio: 107.5 The Game & The Gamecock Radio Network (Andy Demetra & Tommy Moody); GamecocksOnline.com
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina (35-9, 15-5 SEC) travels to Kentucky (27-18, 11-10 SEC) for a three-game SEC series. First pitch for the opener is 6:30 p.m. on Friday with a 6:30 start on Saturday as well. Sunday’s series finale is scheduled for 3 p.m. All three games can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station 107.5 FM, “The Game.” Friday and Saturday’s games will be broadcast on SEC Network Plus with Sunday’s game televised on ESPNU.
South Carolina is ranked No. 2 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 6 by Baseball America, No. 7 by D1Baseball, Perfect Game and the USA Today Coaches poll and No. 8 by the NCBWA.
PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
Friday South Carolina – Clarke Schmidt (So. RHP) 8-1, 1.99 ERA, 77.0 IP, 14 BB, 91 SO
Kentucky – Zack Brown (Jr. RHP) 2-8, 5.45 ERA, 66.0 IP, 25 BB, 49 SO
Saturday South Carolina – Braden Webb (Fr. RHP) 9-2, 3.05 ERA, 65.0 IP, 36 BB, 83 SO
Kentucky – Dustin Beggs (Sr. RHP) 7-1, 2.79 ERA, 77.1 IP, 13 BB, 63 SO
Sunday South Carolina – Adam Hill (Fr. RHP) 6-0, 2.57 ERA, 49.0 IP, 17 BB, 58 SO
Kentucky – Kyle Cody (Sr. RHP) 5-2, 4.06 ERA, 62.0 IP, 25 BB, 55 SO
South Carolina split a pair of games vs. Florida this past weekend with the series finale cancelled due to inclement weather in Columbia. The Gamecocks are 34-9 and 15-5 in the SEC. The Gamecocks are in first place in the SEC, one game ahead of Florida.
SCHMIDT & WEBB NAMED TO GOLDEN SPIKES AWARD WATCH LIST
South Carolina sophomore right-hander Clarke Schmidt and freshman right-hander Braden Webb are two of 60 players named to USA Baseball’s 60-player midseason Golden Spikes Award Watch List as announced on Wednesday April 13.
Sponsored by Major League Baseball and presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, the 39th Golden Spikes Award will be presented on June 30 in Los Angeles. ESPN will once again serve as the programming sponsor for the Golden Spikes Award.
On Wednesday, June 1, USA Baseball will announce the semifinalists for the 2016 Golden Spikes Award. The list of semifinalists will be sent to a voting body consisting of past USA Baseball National Team coaches and press officers, members of the media that follow amateur baseball closely, select professional baseball personnel, current USA Baseball staff and the 38 previous winners of the award, representing a group of more than 200 voters. Amateur baseball fans across the country will be able to vote for their favorite semifinalists at GoldenSpikesAward.com from June 1-8. On Monday, June 13, USA Baseball will announce the finalists for the award, and fan voting will once again commence that same day. Fan voting for the finalists will end on Saturday, June 25.
WEBB EARNS FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK FOR THE THIRD TIME
Freshman right-handed pitcher Braden Webb earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors for the third time this season after earning a win in last Saturday’s 2-1 victory over Florida.
Webb is atop the SEC and tied for the nation lead with nine wins after earning a victory in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Florida. Webb allowed just one run on five hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in 7.1 innings vs. the Gators.
In addition to leading the league in wins, Webb is the only SEC pitcher this year to win six league games. Webb’s 62 strikeouts in seven SEC games are also the most by a pitcher in the conference.
For the season, he is 9-2 with a 3.05 ERA and has allowed 27 runs, 22 earned, on 45 hits in 65.0 innings. He has 83 strikeouts to 36 walks; opponents are hitting .194 against him. His .194 opponents batting average is fourth-best in the SEC with his 83 strikeouts third-highest in the conference.
A Gamecock has earned a weekly honor from the SEC eight times this year. Webb was SEC Freshman of the Week in consecutive weeks on March 28 and April 4, 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, Adam Hill was SEC Freshman of the Week on March 14 and Gene Cone was SEC Player of the Week on April 25.
His second Freshman of the Week honor came after he struck out 11 batters in eight scoreless innings and limited third ranked Vanderbilt to just two hits in a 4-0 win. Webb was masterful 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 at Ole Miss.
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. 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.
CONE LEADS IT OFF
Junior outfielder Gene Cone extended his school record hitting streak to 30 games with a single in Wednesday night’s 4-1 win over USC Upstate. Cone’s 30-game hitting streak the longest in Division I baseball this year. Throughout the hitting streak, Cone has hit .410 (48-for-117) with 18 RBI, 32 runs scored, 11 doubles, two triples and three homers. His on-base is also .504 with a .615 slugging mark. He has also reached base in 33 consecutive games, the most by a SEC player this season.
Cone hit a game-winning solo homer and was 2-for-3 in the 2-1 win over Florida last Saturday and finished 3-for-6 in the series.
For the season, Cone is batting .379 (53-for-140) with three homers, two triples, 11 doubles, 20 RBI and 38 runs scored. He has 27 walks to 15 strikeouts, a .480 on-base percentage and a .550 slugging mark. Cone ranks second in the SEC in on-base percentage, fourth in batting average, tied for 11th in runs scored and 13th in slugging percentage.
In 20 SEC games, Cone has been even better as he owns a .461 batting average (35-for-76) with three homers, a triple, nine doubles, 11 RBI and 27 runs scored. Cone’s league only slugging mark of .724 leads the conference. In addition, his SEC-only batting average is second-best in the conference as is his on-base percentage. Cone has scored the most runs in SEC games also.
Cone earned National Player of the Week honors by Collegiate Baseball as well as SEC Player of the Week accolades for his performance in the Missouri series.
Cone went 10-for-12 (.833) at the plate this weekend in a sweep of Missouri with six RBI and seven runs scored. Cone capped the weekend going 5-for-5, just a homer shy of the cycle and drove in three runs in the 9-2 victory over Missouri while setting a school record with a 27-game hitting streak, surpassing the previous mark of 26 set by Whit Merrifield in the 2009 and 2010 seasons. He was 3-for-4 with two runs scored with three RBI including a key two-out two-run double to give the Gamecocks the lead for good in Friday’s 8-5 win over the Tigers. He was also 2-for-3 with two runs scored in the 5-1 win over Missouri.
Cone’s 10 hits were the most in a weekend series by a Gamecock player since Christian Walker went 10-for-11 at Mississippi State April 22-24 and the most ever by a Gamecock player in Founders Park history (dating back to 2009).
Junior outfielder Alex Destino is right behind Cone as the team’s leading hitter with a .344 batting average (53-for-154) to go along with five homers, 40 RBI, 20 doubles and 24 runs scored. Destino has a .506 slugging mark as well. Destino hit a two-run homer in Friday’s 5-4 loss to Florida.
Destino ranks 11th in the SEC in runs batted in. He has also been at his best in SEC play as he owns a .356 batting average (21-for-59) in 17 SEC contests with a team-high 16 RBI in conference games.
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.
SCHMIDT WITH SUCCESS
Despite a no-decision in Friday’s 5-4 loss to Florida, sophomore right-hander Clarke Schmidt still sits atop many of the top categories in the SEC and the nation.
Schmidt is 8-1 on the year with a 1.99 ERA. He has allowed 22 runs, 17 earned, on 67 hits with 14 walks and 91 strikeouts in 77.0 innings. Opponents are batting .232 against him. Schmidt leads the SEC in strikeouts and is one win shy of teammate Braden Webb for the league-lead in victories. Schmidt also is second in the SEC in earned run average and fourth in innings pitched.
Schmidt’s four SEC wins is tied for second in the SEC with his 59 strikeouts, second-most by a pitcher in league games, just three behind teammate Braden Webb. His league ERA of 2.96 is 10th-best in the conference.
Schmidt was named National Co-Pitcher of the Month for March as announced by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA). Schmidt won four games last month and struck out 46 batters in 37.0 innings pitched with a 2.19 ERA. Founded in 1962, the NCBWA is dedicated to the advancement of college baseball. Membership is open to writers, broadcasters and publicists of the sport.
HILL ON THE MOUND
Freshman right-hander Adam Hill earned a win in a 9-2 victory over Missouri as he pitched 6.1 scoreless innings with just four hits allowed, a walk and eight strikeouts. It was his longest outing of the season. He is now 6-0 on the year with a 2.57 ERA. Hill has allowed 14 runs, all earned, on 36 hits in 49.0 innings with 58 strikeouts to 17 walks. Opponents are hitting .209 against him. Hill ranks tied for sixth in the SEC in wins, ninth in opposing batting average, 12th in ERA and 13th in strikeouts.
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.
CULLEN CATCHING ON
Freshman catcher Chris Cullen tied a career-high in hits in Friday’s 5-4 loss as he was 3-for-4 with his first career homer, two doubles, a run scored and two RBI for the Gamecocks.
Cullen has raised his season average to .266 (29-for-109) with 13 runs scored and 21 RBI. He also owns nine doubles on the year.
JOHNSON BRINGS THE HEAT
Sophomore right-hander Tyler Johnson pitched a perfect inning of relief with a strikeout to pick up his fifth save in Wednesday’s 4-1 win over USC Upstate. Johnson had a pair of quality relief appearances last weekend as he pitched 1.2 perfect innings with a strikeout in last Friday’s 5-4 loss and followed that up with 1.2 scoreless innings with three strikeouts for his fourth save of the year in last Saturday’s 2-1 victory over the Gators.
Johnson is 1-1 with a 3.34 ERA in 20 relief appearances. He has 38 strikeouts to four walks in 32.1 innings, opponents are hitting just .195 against him. His four league saves is tied with teammate Josh Reagan for third-highest in SEC-only games. 11 of his 20 relief appearances this year are also against SEC opponents.
Junior outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams has stayed among the top hitters in the SEC. Thompson-Williams is hitting .323 (52-for-161) with four homers, three triples, 13 doubles, 32 RBI and 37 runs scored. He has a .427 on-base percentage and a .516 slugging mark. He has walked a team-high 28 times, eighth-best in the league and ranks tied for ninth in the SEC in doubles. His 15 stolen bases tie him for eighth in the SEC as well.
Thompson-Williams tied a school record with three doubles and added a triple to go along with three RBI in a 14-4 win at Furman.
REAGAN FROM THE LEFT
Junior left-hander Josh Reagan leads the SEC in saves with 11 on the year and is 1-2 with a 1.32 ERA in 21 relief appearances. Reagan has allowed just five runs on 19 hits in 34.0 innings with 10 walks and 29 strikeouts. Opponents are batting .162 against him.
Reagan is on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Midseason Watch List. In addition, he, Schmidt & Webb have been named to College Baseball Hall of Fame’s National Pitcher of the Year Award Watch List.
JONAH WITH A JOLT
Sophomore infielder Jonah Bride hit .500 (6-for-12) in the Missouri series. Bride was 3-for-4 with a RBI in the 8-5 win over Missouri and 3-for-4 with a double and a run scored in a 5-1 win over the Tigers.
Bride has raised his season batting average to .268 (42-for-157) with seven doubles, 18 RBI and 32 runs scored. He has a .391 on-base percentage with 18 walks and 15 hit by pitches. Bride has made just one error in 44 starts at third base and is fielding .988 at the hot corner.
Sophomore catcher John Jones is hitting .309 (51-for-165) with 34 runs scored, 10 doubles, six homers and 39 RBI. He is at a .416 on-base percentage and a .479 slugging percentage. Jones’ 39 RBI is second-best on the team.
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.
Freshman outfielder TJ Hopkins is hitting .333 (25-for-75) with 18 runs scored and 19 RBI in 26 games played with 19 starts.
Hopkins was 4-for-5 with two RBI and three runs scored as well as a double and two stolen bases in the 14-4 win over Furman. Hopkins’ four hits were a season-high. He would also go 3-for-5 with two runs scored, two stolen bases and three RBI in the 9-2 victory over Missouri.
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.
Junior right-hander Reed Scott is 3-1 with a 3.19 ERA in 20 relief appearances with 31.0 innings pitched on the year.
Scott earned two victories in relief two weeks ago. Scott pitched 2.1 scoreless innings of relief with two strikeouts in the 14-4 win over Furman and had 0.2 scoreless in the 8-5 victory over Missouri.
MOONEY IN THE MIDDLE
Senior infielder Marcus Mooney is hitting .308 (41-for-133) with 28 runs scored and 23 RBI. He has 17 walks, eight hit by pitches to 11 strikeouts and a .413 on-base percentage.
Mooney hit 3-for-3 with three runs scored and three RBI in the 14-4 win over Furman. Mooney added four runs scored in the Missouri series.
Senior infielder DC Arendas owns a .317 on-base percentage. Arendas has been stellar defensively in 42 games with 30 starts as he is fielding .986 with just two errors (one at shortstop, one at second base) in 143 chances with 57 putouts and 84 assists.
Freshman infielder LT Tolbert hit a two-run homer and tied a career-high with three RBI in a 7-6 win over Tennessee. Tolbert drove in a team-high four runs in the series vs. the Volunteers. Tolbert is hitting .226 (35-for-155) with 20 RBI, 23 runs scored and a .297 on-base percentage.
Sophomore infielder Madison Stokes has hit safely in eight of nine games he has started. Stokes is batting .273 (9-for-33) since returning after a Jones fracture caused him to miss the first half of the season. He had a key two-run single in the eighth inning of the 4-1 win over USC Upstate.
Junior right-hander Taylor Widener earned the win in Wednesday’s 4-1 victory over USC Upstate with 3.2 scoreless innings of work. Widener retired 11 batters in a row before allowing a walk and struck out four batters to improve to 2-2 for the season. Widener won his first game of the season in a 4-2 win over Coastal Carolina on April 5 when he allowed two runs on two hits in five-plus innings with a walk and five strikeouts.
Widener tied a career-high with seven strikeouts and allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits in 4.2 innings in the 14-4 win over Furman.
Widener has struck out 36 batters in 34.0 innings with opponents batting .227.
South Carolina has outscored its opponents this year 280-156 including 69-27 in the first two innings of play. The Gamecocks are 26-3 on the year when scoring first and 16-3 when scoring in the first inning. South Carolina is 25-2 when out-hitting its opponent and 17-3 when hitting at least one home run. The Gamecocks are 31-1 when leading after the sixth inning. South Carolina is 14-5 in games decided by three runs or less.
Carolina has reached double-digits in hits in 18 games this year with a 18-0 record with 10 hits or more. Carolina’s 18 hits last Wednesday at Furman was one shy of the season-high by the team with the 16-hit performance vs. Missouri in the 9-2 win tied for the most in a league game this year.
The Gamecocks own a team ERA of 3.11 on the year, fourth-best in the SEC with a .224 opponents batting average, second-best in the league. South Carolina has allowed 156 runs, 136 earned, on 325 hits with 145 walks to 422 strikeouts in 394.0 innings pitched.
AT THE PLATE & ON THE FIELD
South Carolina is fifth in the SEC in hitting with a team average of .293 (441-for-1506) as well as a .383 on-base percentage and a .412 slugging percentage. The Gamecocks have hit 27 homers. Carolina is fielding .980 as a team with just 31 errors on the year, second-best in the conference.