Super Regional Vs. Oklahoma State Begins Saturday
June 10, 2016
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COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (46-16) will face Oklahoma State (39-20) in the NCAA Super Regional with the winner of the series advancing to Omaha and the College World Series. The Super Regional begins on Saturday at 3 p.m. on ESPN2. It continues on Sunday at 3 p.m. on ESPN2 or ESPNU. If necessary, a third game will be played on Monday at 1 or 4 or 7 p.m. on ESPN2 or ESPNU.
Every game can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”
SOUTH CAROLINA & THE NCAA SUPER REGIONAL
This is South Carolina’s 12th NCAA Super Regional appearance in the 16 years of the NCAA Regional-Super Regional format. The Gamecocks are one of only five schools to reach the NCAA Super Regional at least 12 times since its inception in 1999.
It is the seventh time in school history that the Gamecocks will host a NCAA Super Regional in baseball and the third time South Carolina has hosted a super regional at Founders Park. Carolina also hosted a NCAA Super Regional in 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2011 and 2012. South Carolina is 64-11 (.853) in all-time history in NCAA Regional or NCAA Super Regional games at home in Columbia.
POSTSEASON AT FOUNDERS PARK
South Carolina is 22-3 in postseason history at Founders Park for a .920 winning percentage.
HISTORY VS. OKLAHOMA STATE
This will be the fourth time that South Carolina and Oklahoma State meet in baseball with the previous three games in Omaha at the College World Series. Oklahoma State won all three games in 1981, 1982 and 1985.
After falling 5-4 to Rhode Island in the regional opener, South Carolina won four consecutive games vs. Duke, Rhode Island and UNCW to win the 2016 Columbia Regional.
Sophomore catcher Hunter Taylor came up with the big hit in a 4-2 win over Duke in the first elimination contest as he knocked a double off the third base bag and down the left field line in the ninth inning to give the Gamecocks a lead they would not relinquish.
The Gamecocks followed that up with the best offensive performance of the season belting out 22 hits in a 23-2 victory over Rhode Island. Freshman right-hander Adam Hill pitched a career-high seven innings as well.
Having to win two games in one day, the Gamecocks came back for the nightcap and behind a complete game effort by sophomore right-hander Tyler Johnson and a x-hit attack, the Gamecocks defeated UNCW 10-1 to force one more game in the regional.
Rain postponed the regional final on Monday, but the Gamecocks were ready on Tuesday and put five runs on the scoreboard in the fourth inning and a pinch-hit two-run double by sophomore John Jones gave Carolina insurance in the ninth on the way to 10-5 win over UNCW to win the regional.
South Carolina became only the 20th school since the Regional-Super Regional format began in 1999 to claim the regional championship after losing its first game.
MORE REGIONAL FACTS & FIGURES
South Carolina’s bats came alive in the regional as the team hit .346 (64-for-185) with 51 runs scored. The pitching staff was stellar as well with a 2.80 ERA in 45.0 innings pitched. Carolina allowed 15 runs, 14 earned, on 34 hits with 54 strikeouts to 15 walks. Opponents hit .206.
Junior outfielder Gene Cone and senior infielder DC Arendas were the team’s leading hitters with both hitting .500 in five games. Cone was 10-for-20 with seven runs scored and eight RBI. Arendas went 7-for-14 with six runs scored, a double, a triple, two homers and five RBI.
Sophomore right-hander Tyler Johnson won Most Valuable Player for the Columbia Regional. He won two games and struck out 13 batters in 10.1 innings. Johnson earned the win vs. Duke with 1.1 scoreless innings of relief and then picked up the victory with a complete game and 11 strikeouts in the 10-1 win over UNCW.
Arendas, Cone and Johnson were joined by sophomore designated hitter Alex Destino and sophomore catcher Hunter Taylor on the All-Tournament Team for the regional. Destino homered twice and drove in seven runs while hitting .350 (7-for-20). Taylor hit .333 (4-for-12).
For the 16th time in 17 years, South Carolina has won 40 or more games. South Carolina enters the weekend 42-15 for the season including a 20-9 record in the SEC. It marked the fifth time in school history that Carolina has reached 20 or more wins joining the 2000, 2002, 2010 and 2011 seasons.
In those 16 years that South Carolina has won 40 or more games, the Gamecocks have played for a regional title in every one of those seasons. South Carolina and Florida State are the only two schools to have accomplished that feat.
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 May 23.
CONE LEADS IT OFF
Junior outfielder Gene Cone continues to lead the Gamecocks in hitting with a .370 average (77-for-208) with 30 RBI and 52 runs scored as well as a .479 on-base percentage and a .510 slugging mark. Cone ranks first in the SEC in on-base percentage and fourth 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).
SCHMIDT WITH SUCCESS
Sophomore right-hander Clarke Schmidt earned third-team All-America honors from Collegiate Baseball and is 9-4 with a 3.33 ERA. He has allowed 47 runs, 39 earned, on 101 hits in 105.1 innings pitched. He has 123 strikeouts to just 25 walks with opponents batting .248 against him.
He became the first Gamecock pitcher since Michael Roth in 2011 to reach the single-season 100-strikeout total. Schmidt is tied with teammate Braden Webb for the SEC-high with 123 strikeouts, He is also tied for third in innings pitched and fifth in wins.
Schmidt was strong in SEC games with a 5-2 record and a 3.72 ERA in the league. He had 76 strikeouts in 67.2 innings pitched in the league. His 76 league strikeouts were 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. He earned Freshman All-America honors alongside teammate Adam Hill from Collegiate Baseball. He was the first Gamecock to reach 10 wins since Michael Roth went 14-3 in the 2011 season.
Webb is 10-5 with a 3.24 ERA. He has allowed 41 runs, 34 earned, on 74 hits in 94.1 innings pitched. He also reached the single-season 100-strikeout total and has 117 strikeouts to 44 walks. Opponents are batting .215 against him.
Webb is tied for third in the SEC in wins and is tied with teammate Clarke Schmidt with his 123 strikeouts. He is sixth in opposing batting average and 10th in innings pitched.
In SEC games, Webb went 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 tied him with Alex Faedo of Florida and Dakota Hudson of Mississippi State with the most victories in league play. His 88 strikeouts were also the most by a SEC pitcher in league contests.
Webb earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors for the third time after 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.
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.
Senior infielder DC Arendas went 7-for-14 (.500) with six runs scored, a double, a triple, two homers and five RBI in the NCAA Regional. He was named to the All-Tournament Team. Prior to the postseason he hit his first career grand slam in the 16-4 win over The Citadel. Arendas owns a .337 on-base percentage. Arendas has been stellar defensively in 58 games with 40 starts as he is fielding .984 with just three errors (one at shortstop, one at second base, one at third base) in 189 chances with 74 putouts and 112 assists.
TAYLOR BEHIND THE PLATE
Sophomore catcher Hunter Taylor had just three starts entering the NCAA Regional, but made three starts behind the plate over the weekend and hit .333 (4-for-12) on his way to All-Tournament team honors. Taylor had a game-winning RBI double in the ninth inning of the 4-2 win over Duke. He also had two hits and a pair of RBI in the 10-1 win over UNCW.
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 .319 (30-for-94) with 12 RBI and 16 runs scored. Stokes has played in 29 games with 27 starts after missing the first half of the regular season with a Jones fracture in his foot.
Junior outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams is third on the team in hitting with a .323 average (75-for-232) with 17 doubles, three triples, seven homers, 40 RBI and 57 runs scored. He has a .423 on-base percentage and a .513 slugging mark. Thompson-Williams ranks tied for sixth in the SEC in runs scored, seventh in walks and tied for eighth in doubles. He leads Carolina with a team-high 23 multi-hit games and is third with 12 multi-RBI contests. He is the only Gamecock player to have started all 62 games this year. His 17 doubles are the most by a Gamecock since Christian Walker hit 21 in 2011 and his 57 runs scored are the most since Walker scored 64 in 2011.
He 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 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 among the top run producers in college baseball. He ranks second on the team in hitting with a .325 average (74-for-228). He has a team-high 10 homers, 59 RBI and leads the team with a .518 slugging percentage. Destino is tied for second in the SEC in RBI. It is the most RBI by a Gamecock since Christian Walker drove in 62 runs in 2011.
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.
JOHNSON BRINGS THE HEAT
Sophomore right-hander Tyler Johnson has been a key arm in this year’s bullpen, but he came up with a huge start in his first start of the year in a 10-1 win over UNCW in the NCAA Regional. Johnson pitched his first career complete game and struck out 11 batters in the elimination game. That performance, along with 1.1 scoreless innings for the win vs. Duke in a 4-2 victory earned Johnson NCAA Regional MVP accolades.
For the season he is 3-2 with nine saves and a 2.52 ERA in 28 appearances. He has struck out 55 batters to eight walks and opponents are batting .183 against him.
Eight of his nine saves came in league play, that was 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 won the regional final with 4.1 innings of work in the 10-5 win over UNCW. It tied for Reagan’s longest stint of the season.
Reagan is 3-2 with 11 saves and a 2.08 ERA in a team-high 29 relief appearances. He has allowed 14 runs, 13 earned, on 34 hits in 56.1 innings with 50 strikeouts and 20 walks. He is tied for third 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 is fourth on the Gamecocks in hitting with a .310 average (61-for-197) with 29 RBI and 38 runs scored. Mooney owns a .413 on-base percentage. He has fielded .947 at shortstop with 87 putouts, 126 assists and just 12 errors.
Sophomore catcher John Jones belted an important pinch-hit two-run two-out double in the top of the ninth inning of the 10-5 win over UNCW that gave the Gamecocks some insurance.
Jones is hitting .271 (56-for-208) with 36 runs scored, 11 doubles, seven homers and 49 RBI. He is at a .376 on-base percentage and a .425 slugging percentage. Jones has 15 multi-RBI games this year, second-highest on the team.
JONAH WITH A JOLT
Sophomore infielder Jonah Bride has been tremendous in 61 starts at third base with just three errors and a .974 fielding percentage. Bride is hitting .289 (63-for-218) with 32 RBI and 41 runs scored. He is second in the SEC with 19 hit by pitches on the year.
Bride is riding a season-high 11-game hitting streak heading into the NCAA Super Regional.
Junior right-hander Reed Scott has been a stopper of out of the bullpen this year. Scott is 4-1 with a 2.40 ERA in 28 appearances and a pair of saves. He has allowed 14 runs, 12 earned, on 40 hits in 45.0 innings. He has not allowed a run in 19 of 28 games and is tied for seventh in the SEC in appearances.
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 3.93 ERA in 16 appearances. He has 66 strikeouts in 55.0 innings with opponents batting .247 against him.
HILL ON THE MOUND
Freshman right-hander Adam Hill earned Freshman All-America honors alongside teammate Braden Webb from Collegiate Baseball. Hill is 7-0 with a 3.53 ERA. He has allowed 26 runs, all earned, on 49 hits in 66.1 innings. He has 72 strikeouts to 28 walks; opponents are batting .208 against him. That opposing batting average is fourth-best in the SEC. Hill worked a season-high seven innings to earn his seventh win in the 23-2 win over Rhode Island.
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.
Freshman outfielder TJ Hopkins started all five NCAA Regional games and improved his batting average to .327 (37-for-113) with 25 runs scored and 26 RBI in 41 games played with 29 starts. Hopkins drove in a career-high five runs in the 23-2 win over Rhode Island.
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 .417 (5-for-12) in the NCAA Regional with two doubles, three RBI and six runs scored. Tolbert is now hitting .229 (44-for-192) in 55 games played with 50 starts. He has 27 RBI and 32 runs scored with 15 walks to 14 strikeouts. He is the second-toughest batter to strike out in the SEC with an average of 13.7 at bats per strikeout.
CULLEN CATCHING ON
Freshman catcher Chris Cullen is hitting .238 (35-for-147) with 18 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.
South Carolina has outscored its opponents this year 400-234 including 91-41 in the first two innings of play. The Gamecocks are 34-5 on the year when scoring first and 21-4 when scoring in the first inning. South Carolina is 34-3 when out-hitting its opponent and 26-6 when hitting at least one home run. The Gamecocks are 41-1 when leading after the sixth inning. South Carolina is 20-10 in games decided by three runs or less. Carolina has reached double-digits in hits in 30 games this year with a 28-2 record with 10 hits or more.
The Gamecocks own a team ERA of 3.28 on the year, fourth-best in the SEC with a .226 opponents batting average that is best in the SEC. South Carolina has allowed 234 runs, 203 earned, on 468 hits with 208 walks to 602 strikeouts in 557.0 innings pitched. Carolina is second in the nation with an average of 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings.
AT THE PLATE & ON THE FIELD
South Carolina is fifth in the SEC in hitting with a team average of .293 (623-for-2129) as well as a .384 on-base percentage and a .417 slugging percentage. The Gamecocks have hit 44 homers. Carolina is fielding .978 as a team with just 48 errors on the year, third-best in the conference.