Baseball To Face Ole Miss Wednesday At SEC Tournament
May 24, 2016
Date: Wednesday May 25, 2016
First Pitch: TBA. First pitch is 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one that begins at 10:30 a.m. ET
Location: Hoover, Ala.
Stadium: Hoover Metropolitan Stadium
Television: SEC Network (Clay Matvick, Ben McDonald, Jane Slater)
Radio: 107.5 The Game & The Gamecock Radio Network (Andy Demetra & Tommy Moody); GamecocksOnline.com
COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolina (42-13) is the No. 2 seed at the 2016 SEC Tournament and will face No. 7 seed Ole Miss (41-16) on Wednesday May 25. The game will begin approximately 30 minutes after the conclusion of game one, which starts at 10:30 a.m. ET. The game will be televised on the SEC Network and is available on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship 107.5 “The Game.” Carolina swept a three-game series at Ole Miss earlier in the year.
South Carolina will start sophomore right-hander Clarke Schmidt (9-2, 2.72 ERA) with Ole Miss countering with sophomore left-hander David Parkinson (4-3, 2.70 ERA)
South Carolina is the SEC Eastern Division champion with a 20-9 conference record. It is the seventh division title in school history. The Gamecocks also claimed the East in 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2011 and 2012. It is the first East title under head coach Chad Holbrook. Under the direction of Coach Holbrook, the Gamecocks have earned a top four seed in three of four seasons at the SEC Tournament (2013, 2014, 2016). In that four-year span, the Gamecocks are one of only three teams to have accomplished the feat along with LSU (2013, 2014, 2015) and Florida (2014, 2015, 2016).
Junior outfielder Gene Cone earned first-team All-SEC honors, sophomore right-handed pitcher Clarke Schmidt earned second-team All-SEC accolades and catcher Chris Cullen, first baseman LT Tolbert and right-handed pitchers Adam Hill and Braden Webb were named to the SEC All-Freshman team, as the league announced its annual baseball honors on Monday afternoon.
South Carolina is 25-42 (.373) in all-time SEC Tournament history dating back to its first appearance in the 1992 season, also South Carolina’s first official year in the Southeastern Conference. The Gamecocks have twice played for the SEC Tournament Championship, winning in 2004 and finishing second in 2002. The Gamecocks went 4-0 in 2004 on the way to the tournament championship including a 3-2 victory over Vanderbilt in the title game.
Carolina went 0-1 in last year’s SEC Tournament with a 5-1 loss to Missouri in a single elimination contest. Carolina’s last victory in Hoover came in 2012 when Carolina defeated Auburn.
SCHMIDT NAMED SEMIFINALIST FOR DICK HOWSER TROPHY
South Carolina sophomore right-hander Clarke Schmidt has been named a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Trophy, presented by Easton Foundations and awarded by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association. The award is given to the top player in collegiate baseball.
Schmidt is 9-2 with a 2.72 ERA in 14 starts. He has allowed 34 runs, 29 earned, on 86 hits in 96.0 innings. Schmidt has struck out 108 to just 20 walks, opponents are batting .236 against him.
This is the 30th year of the Dick Howser Trophy, presented by Easton Foundations. The finalists will be announced on Thursday, June 9. The 2016 award will be presented at TD Ameritrade Stadium in downtown Omaha, the home of the College World Series for the sixth year. The winner will be unveiled on MLB Network on Friday, June 17 and then a press conference with the winner will be held on Saturday, June 18 at 10 a.m. (CDT), the opening day of the 2016 CWS.
The Dick Howser Trophy, given in memory of the former Florida State University All-America shortstop and major league player and manager, who died of brain cancer in 1987, is regarded by many as college baseball’s most prestigious award. Criteria for consideration of the trophy include performance on the field, leadership, moral character and courage, qualities that were exemplified by Dick Howser’s life. The winner’s name is inscribed on the permanent trophy, a bronze bust of Howser displayed at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg – home of the Tampa Bay Rays. Both the winner and his school receive a special trophy to keep.
NCBWA membership includes writers, broadcasters and publicists. Designed to promote and publicize college baseball, it is the sport’s only college media-related organization, founded in 1962.
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.
SCHMIDT WITH SUCCESS
Sophomore right-hander Clarke Schmidt continues to be among the top pitchers in the conference and the country as he is 9-2 with a 2.72 ERA. He has allowed 34 runs, 29 earned, on 86 hits in 96.0 innings pitched. He has 108 strikeouts to just 20 walks with opponents batting .236 against him. He became the first Gamecock pitcher since Michael Roth in 2011 to reach the single-season 100-strikeout total. Schmidt is second in the SEC behind teammate Braden Webb with 108 strikeouts, is tied for fourth in wins, fifth in innings pitched and ninth in ERA.
Schmidt has been strong in SEC games with a 5-2 record and a 3.72 ERA in the league. He has 76 strikeouts in 67.2 innings pitched in the league. His 76 league strikeouts are second-best among the league pitchers behind teammate Braden Webb, with his win-total tied for fifth-most and innings pitched ranked sixth in the conference.
Schmidt was named National Co-Pitcher of the Month for March 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.
WEBB WORKS HIS MAGIC
Freshman right-hander Braden Webb became the 31st pitcher in school history to reach 10 or more wins with a victory in the 4-2 win over Alabama on May 20. He allowed just one run on seven hits in six innings with two walks and nine strikeouts.
Webb is 10-4 with a 3.33 ERA. He has allowed 37 runs, 31 earned, on 65 hits in 83.2 innings pitched. He also reached the single-season 100-strikeout total and has 109 strikeouts to 42 walks. Opponents are batting .212 against him. Webb is tied for second in the SEC in wins and is leads the SEC with his 109 strikeouts. He is sixth in opposing batting average and 12th in innings pitched.
In SEC games, Webb is 7-3 with a 3.82 ERA and has 88 strikeouts in 63.2 innings with opponents batting .232 against him in league play. Webb’s seven wins ties him with Alex Faedo of Florida and Dakota Hudson of Mississippi State with the most victories in league play. His 88 strikeouts are also the most by a SEC pitcher in league contests.
Webb earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors for the third time this season after earning a win in a 2-1 victory over Florida. Webb allowed just one run on five hits with three walks and seven strikeouts in 7.1 innings vs. the Gators.
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 and SEC Freshman of the Week for a first time in 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.
MORE ON SCHMIDT & WEBB
Both Webb and Schmidt’s SEC numbers are some of the best in school history. Webb’s seven wins in league play are tied for third-highest in school history and are the most by a Gamecock pitcher since Blake Cooper went 7-1 in the 2010 season. Webb’s 88 league strikeouts are the most-ever by a Carolina pitcher with Schmidt’s 76 strikeouts in league play tied for second all-time as well.
Both pitchers are also currently on the College Baseball Hall of Fame National Pitcher of the Year Award Watch List.
CONE LEADS IT OFF
Junior outfielder Gene Cone continues to lead the Gamecocks in hitting with a .348 average (63-for-181) with 22 RBI and 43 runs scored as well as a .460 on-base percentage and a .481 slugging mark. Cone ranks third in the SEC in on-base percentage and ninth in batting average. Cone and teammate Clarke Schmidt are semifinalists for the Gregg Olson Award, presented by Toolshed Sports and awarded to college baseball’s breakout player of the year.
Cone saved his best for league play as he has hit .391 (43-for-110) in 29 SEC games with 13 RBI and 30 runs scored. He led the conference with 27 walks to nine strikeouts and was second in the SEC with a .514 on-base percentage in SEC games. His 30 runs scored in league games were the most by a SEC player this season. He also ranked third in hitting and tied for sixth in hits.
Cone’s school record hitting streak ended at 31 games in the 6-0 loss at Kentucky. Cone’s hitting streak is the longest in Division I baseball this year with his 34-game streak of reaching base safely the longest mark in SEC play.
During the 31-game hitting streak, Cone hit .402 (49-for-122) with 18 RBI, 33 runs scored, 11 doubles, two triples and three homers. His on-base percentage during the streak was .497 with a .598 slugging mark.
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).
Sophomore infielder Madison Stokes had Carolina’s best weekend in the Alabama series as he hit .778 (7-for-9) with three doubles, a pair of RBI and three runs scored. Stokes was 3-for-3 with two runs and a double in the 6-4 win over the Crimson Tide, followed that up going 2-for-4 in the 4-2 victory and closed out the series 2-for-2 with a run scored and two RBI in the 9-7 win.
Stokes has raised his season average to .324 (22-for-68) with eight RBI and 10 runs scored. Stokes has played in 22 games with 20 starts after missing the first half of the regular season with a Jones fracture in his foot.
Junior outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams hit .545 (6-for-11) in the Alabama series with a home run, a double, a pair of RBI and five runs scored. All three games were multi-hit performances. He opened the series 2-for-4 with a double and a run scored in a 6-4, followed that up 2-for-4 with a homer in the 4-2 win and closed out the series 2-for-3 with three runs scored.
Thompson-Williams had his first multi-homer game of his career in a 10-7 win over Texas A&M. Thompson-Williams reached base in all five plate appearances going 3-for-3 with two walks, three RBI and four runs scored.
He is now hitting .338 (68-for-201) with 15 doubles, three triples, seven homers, 38 RBI and 50 runs scored. He has a .442 on-base percentage and a team-best .546 slugging mark. Thompson-Williams ranks eighth in the SEC in runs scored and walks, 10th in on-base percentage, 11th in slugging percentage and tied for 12th in doubles. He leads Carolina with a team-high 21 multi-hit games and is third with 11 multi-RBI contests.
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.
Sophomore outfielder Alex Destino is third on the team in hitting with a .332 average (66-for-199). He has a team-high eight homers, 50 RBI and is second with a .513 slugging percentage. Destino ranks eighth in the SEC in RBI.
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.
AN OFFENSIVE WEEKEND IN ALABAMA
The Gamecock bats were hot all weekend in Tuscaloosa as the team hit .336 (36-for-107) with 17 RBI and 19 runs scored for the series. The .336 average was the highest in all 10 SEC series played by the Gamecocks this year. Carolina’s OBP for the weekend was .397 as well.
JOHNSON BRINGS THE HEAT
Sophomore right-hander Tyler Johnson has been a key arm in this year’s bullpen. He is 1-2 with nine saves and a 2.95 ERA in 26 relief appearances. He has struck out 42 batters to seven walks and opponents are batting .187 against him.
Johnson has eight of his nine saves in league play, that is the most by any reliever in the SEC this year. Johnson saved all three wins at Alabama last week. He pitched two scoreless innings in the 6-4 win, struck out the lone batter he faced in the 4-2 victory and closed out the series with 1.2 perfect innings in the 9-7 win over the Crimson Tide.
REAGAN FROM THE LEFT
Junior left-hander Josh Reagan worked 4.1 innings of relief and allowed two runs on three hits with four walks and two strikeouts to pick up the victory in Sunday’s 10-7 win over Texas A&M. It was Reagan’s second-longest stint of the season. He was also key in the 4-2 win over Alabama going 2.2 innings and allowing just one run on two hits with a pair of strikeouts.
He is 2-2 with 11 saves and a 1.77 ERA in 25 relief appearances. Reagan has allowed nine runs on 26 hits in 45.2 innings with 40 strikeouts and 18 walks. He is tied for first in the SEC in saves.
Reagan is on the NCBWA Stopper of the Year Midseason Watch List.
MOONEY IN THE MIDDLE
Senior infielder Marcus Mooney had a hit in all three games at Alabama including a 2-for-4 day at the plate with a pair of RBI in the 6-4 win over the Crimson Tide.
Mooney is fourth on the Gamecocks in hitting with a .312 average (54-for-173) with 27 RBI and 33 runs scored. Mooney owns a .410 on-base percentage as well.
Sophomore catcher John Jones came up with some big hits at Alabama including a two-run homer in Friday’s 4-2 win and was 2-for-3 with four RBI in the 9-7 victory in the series finale.
Jones is hitting .281 (55-for-196) with 36 runs scored, 10 doubles, seven homers and 47 RBI. He is at a .389 on-base percentage and a .439 slugging percentage. Jones leads Carolina with 14 multi-RBI games this year.
JONAH WITH A JOLT
Bride had a career night last Tuesday vs. The Citadel going 4-for-5 with two doubles and five RBI in the 16-4 win. He hit safely in all three games at Alabama including 2-for-4 with two runs scored in the 9-7 win.
Bride is hitting .284 (56-for-197) with 27 RBI and 40 runs scored. He is second in the SEC with 18 hit by pitches on the year.
CULLEN CATCHING ON
Freshman catcher Chris Cullen has raised his season average to .261 (35-for-134) with 17 runs scored and 22 RBI. Cullen has driven in 11 of his 22 runs with two outs. He also owns 11 doubles on the year.
Cullen went 2-for-3 with a RBI and two runs scored in the 6-4 win over Alabama. He tied a career-high in hits going 3-for-4 with a double in the 10-5 win over Kentucky. He was also 3-for-4 with his first career homer, two doubles, a run scored and two RBI in a 5-4 loss to Florida.
Junior right-hander Reed Scott has been a stopper of out of the bullpen this year. Scott is 4-1 with a 2.63 ERA in 26 relief appearances and a pair of saves. He has allowed 13 runs, 12 earned, on 36 hits in 41.0 innings. He has not allowed a run in 18 of 26 relief appearances. Scott and teammate Tyler Johnson rank tied for fifth in the SEC in appearances.
Scott earned the win in the 6-4 victory at Alabama as he pitched 2.1 scoreless innings with three strikeouts.
Senior infielder DC Arendas hit his first career grand slam in the 16-4 win over The Citadel. Arendas owns a .322 on-base percentage.
Arendas has been stellar defensively in 51 games with 35 starts as he is fielding .988 with just two errors (one at shortstop, one at second base) in 160 chances with 63 putouts and 95 assists.
Junior right-hander Taylor Widener picked up a win at Alabama in the 9-7 victory as he allowed two runs on six hits with no walks and six strikeouts in 3.2 innings of work. Widener has been strong as of late as he struck out a career-high 12 batters in his longest stint at Carolina with just one run allowed in 7.2 innings of work in a 3-1 win over Presbyterian on May 10. Widener also earned a victory in his previous appearance, a 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. 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 is 4-2 with a 4.02 ERA in 13 appearances. He has 56 strikeouts in 47.0 innings with opponents batting .239 against him.
HILL ON THE MOUND
Freshman right-hander Adam Hill is 6-0 with a 3.64 ERA. He has allowed 24 runs, all earned, on 46 hits in 59.1 innings. He has 66 strikeouts to 24 walks; opponents are batting .217 against him. That opposing batting average is 10th-best in the SEC.
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.
Freshman outfielder TJ Hopkins is hitting .326 (29-for-89) with 19 runs scored and 20 RBI in 34 games played with 24 starts. He was 2-for-5 with a RBI in the 9-7 victory at Alabama.
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.
Freshman infielder LT Tolbert hit a homer and added a sac fly in the 10-5 win at Kentucky. Tolbert drove in a team-high four runs in the series vs. Tennessee as well. Tolbert is hitting .215 (38-for-177) with 24 RBI, 26 runs scored and a .288 on-base percentage.
South Carolina has outscored its opponents this year 344-205 including 78-34 in the first two innings of play. The Gamecocks are 32-4 on the year when scoring first and 19-3 when scoring in the first inning. South Carolina is 30-3 when out-hitting its opponent and 22-5 when hitting at least one home run. The Gamecocks are 38-1 when leading after the sixth inning. South Carolina is 19-8 in games decided by three runs or less. Carolina has reached double-digits in hits in 25 games this year with a 24-1 record with 10 hits or more.
The Gamecocks own a team ERA of 3.32 on the year, fourth-best in the SEC with a .225 opponents batting average that is best in the SEC. South Carolina has allowed 205 runs, 182 earned, on 414 hits with 186 walks to 530 strikeouts in 494.0 innings pitched.
AT THE PLATE & ON THE FIELD
South Carolina is fifth in the SEC in hitting with a team average of .290 (544-for-1874) as well as a .382 on-base percentage and a .412 slugging percentage. The Gamecocks have hit 38 homers. Carolina is fielding .980 as a team with just 40 errors on the year, second-best in the conference.