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2017 Season Recap
Baseball  . 

2017 Season Recap

May 30, 2017

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina finished the season 35-25 with a 13-17 record in the SEC. Carolina advanced to the semifinals of the 2017 SEC Tournament, the school’s first appearance in the semifinals since the 2007 season.

South Carolina went 26-11 on the year when scoring first in a game and 27-6 when entering the seventh inning with a lead and 33-3 when entering the ninth inning with the lead.

The Gamecocks were 20-3 when scoring six or more runs and 33-12 when allowing five runs or less. South Carolina finished 19-19 in games decided by three runs or less. South Carolina was 12-5 in five-plus run games.

The South Carolina pitching staff had a 3.72 team ERA with 257 runs allowed, 223 earned, on 470 hits in 540.0 innings pitched. The Gamecocks struck out 563 batters to 219 walks. Opponents hit .233 against the Gamecocks.

South Carolina’s 3.85 ERA in SEC games was third in the conference as well. The Gamecocks had 225 strikeouts in 243.0 innings during conference play.

South Carolina hit .260 (524-for-2019) for the season with a .343 on-base percentage and a .401 slugging percentage. The Gamecocks hit 58 homers on the year, the most in school history since the BBCOR era began in 2011. South Carolina has equaled or out-hit its opponent in 40 of 60 games this year.

South Carolina fielded .974 for the season with 26 games without an error. South Carolina was 18-8 when not committing an error.

Freshman outfielder Carlos Cortes broke out during the midway point of the season and was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team. Cortes finished his first season in the Garnet & Black with a .286 average (48-for-168) 27 runs scored, nine doubles, a triple, a team-high 12 homers and tied for a team-high in RBIs with 41 for the season.

Seven of his 12 homers came in SEC play with three of the 12 in the 2017 SEC Tournament as he also earned SEC All-Tournament Team accolades.

Cortes was South Carolina’s top hitter in conference play with a .327 average (32-for-98) in SEC contests with seven homers and 23 RBIs. In SEC play, he was seventh in the league with a .622 slugging percentage, ranked tied for ninth in homers and 13th in RBIs.

Junior right-hander Wil Crowe finished the 2017 season 6-5 with a 3.41 ERA in 15 starts. Crowe struck out 90 and walked 31 in a team-high 92.1 innings pitched. Opponents hit .247 against him.

Crowe was named to the 2017 SEC Baseball Community Service Team. This past year, Crowe participated in an event with Special Olympics at Founders Park that included baserunning, throwing, hitting, autographs and a tour of the facility with the athletes. Crowe visited with kids of Epworth Children’s Home and also participated in a baseball game with the City of Columbia Youth Program. In addition, Crowe attended Arden Elementary School and participated in “Reading Is Fun Day,” activities. Crowe also assisted in coach a little league team with the Lexington County Youth Baseball league.

Sophomore outfielder Jacob Olson was South Carolina’s leading hitter with a .294 average (65-for-221) with 37 runs scored, 10 doubles, a triple, six homers and 27 RBIs.

Olson owned a team-high 20 multi-hit games and Carolina’s longest reached base streak for the season when at one point he reached base 25 consecutive games.

Sophomore right-hander Adam Hill gave South Carolina quality starts throughout the 2017 season. For the season, Hill was 3-6 with a 3.04 ERA in 14 starts. He struck out 87 batters to 39 walks in 77.0 innings pitched with opponents batting .205 against him.

Sophomore infielder LT Tolbert finished third on the team in hitting with a .284 average (58-for-204) with 24 runs scored, six doubles, a triple, three homers and 32 RBIs. Tolbert had 18 multi-hit games on the year and was third on the team with nine multi-RBI games.

Tolbert was also South Carolina’s second-best hitter in conference play with a .287 average (31-for-108) in league play with 12 runs scored and 19 RBIs in league contests.

South Carolina has had a tough slew of injuries. South Carolina junior right-hander Clarke Schmidt was lost for the season after undergoing surgery after the Florida series to repair torn ulnar collateral ligament to his right elbow. Freshman right-hander Sawyer Bridges had a torn rotator cuff and missed the last month. On May 16 it was announced that sophomore catcher Chris Cullen would miss the remainder of the year after undergoing surgery on his left knee to remove torn cartilage. In addition, junior infielder Madison Stokes was out in six to eight weeks after breaking his right wrist on a hit by a pitch on May 13 at Missouri.

Senior right-hander Colie Bowers was 5-1 on the year with four saves and a 1.74 ERA in 25 relief appearances. He had 48 strikeouts in 41.1 innings with opponents batting .137 against him.

Junior infielder Jonah Bride was the only Gamecock to start all 60 games. All 60 starts came at third base. Bride was fourth on the team in hitting with a .282 average (61-for-216) with 33 runs scored, 12 doubles, a pair of triples and five homers. He also had 32 RBIs and a team-best .371 on-base percentage.

Bride, along with Cortes, was named to the 2017 SEC All-Tournament Team. Bride homered twice and scored a pair of runs to go along with three RBIs in the tournament. Bride homered in the 7-4 win vs. Vanderbilt and added a solo homer as well in the 10-2 victory vs. Missouri.

Junior outfielder/designated hitter Alex Destino tied for the team lead with 41 RBIs on the year. Destino hit 10 homers and batted .255 (52-for-204) with 31 runs scored and eight doubles as well.

Destino set a school record with five walks and also scored a pair of runs in 10-7 win vs. Liberty.

Sophomore outfielder TJ Hopkins was fifth on the team in hitting with a .258 average (49-for-190) with 37 runs scored, 11 doubles, two triples, five homers and 20 RBIs.

Hopkins won the Tom Price Award as MVP for the Gamecocks in the Clemson series. His top game of the series was game three when he went 3-for-5 with his second triple of the season and a pair of runs scored. He also had a key diving catch to record the final out in a 2-0 win at Clemson.

Junior infielder Justin Row gave the Gamecocks a boost late after Justin Row went down with an injury. Playing both second base and shortstop, Row hit .290 (20-for-69) with 17 runs scored, four doubles, a triple, two homers and nine RBIs. He was the team’s top hitter at the SEC Tournament as he hit .368 (7-for-19) with five runs scored, a double, a homer and a pair of RBI.

Senior left-hander Josh Reagan led South Carolina in appearances with 27 on the year. He was 6-2 with a 2.72 ERA and a pair of saves. Reagan allowed 21 runs, 17 earned, on 49 hits in 56.1 innings with 19 walks to 51 strikeouts and opponents batting .238 against him. Reagan is now ninth in all-time appearances at Carolina with 85 in his career. Reagan won a team-high four games in SEC play.

Senior right-hander Reed Scott is now fourth on the all-time list for career appearances at South Carolina. Scott finishes his career with 89 appearances only behind Tyler Webb, Matt Price and Michael Roth.

Scott finished his senior year 1-2 with a 3.91 ERA in 24 appearances with three saves. He started three games as well. Scott struck out 43 in 53.0 innings with opponents batting .240 against him.

Top 10 Career Appearances in South Carolina History
110 Tyler Webb 2010-12
102 Matt Price 2009-12
94 Michael Roth 2009-12
89 Reed Scott 2014-17
88 Rob Mosser 1990-93
87 Aaron Rawl 2002-05
87 Jason Pomar 1996-99
86 Jamie Poston 1997-00
85 Josh Reagan 2014-17
81 Kip Bouknight 1998-01

Junior right-hander Tyler Johnson was 1-2 with a 2.39 ERA and 10 saves in 26.1 innings pitched with 40 strikeouts. He now owns 19 career saves, tied for eighth all-time in school history.

Top 10 Career Saves in South Carolina History
43 Matt Price 2009-12
30 Rob Mosser 1990-93
28 Brian Beatson 1987-90
22 Blake Taylor 2001-02
22 Lee Gronkiewicz 1999-01
20 Tyler Webb 2010-13
20 Chad Blackwell 2004
19 Tyler Johnson 2015-Present
19 Jason Pomar 1996-99
18 Scott Barber 1998-00

Freshman first baseman Riley Hogan came on late and saw action in the second half of the season. Hogan would end up playing in 28 games with 24 starts. He hit .244 (19-for-78) with 10 runs scored, six doubles, a pair of homers and 10 RBIs.

THERE’S Hunter Taylor
Junior catcher Hunter Taylor saw much of the action behind the plate after Chris Cullen went down with a knee injury. Taylor hit .212 (21-for-99) with nine runs scored, six doubles and five RBIs. Taylor played in 37 games with 26 starts. He threw out nine runners trying to steal with 21 stolen bases allowed.

Senior first baseman Ross Grosvenor made his first two career starts in the Kentucky series and came through at the plate going 3-for-8 (.375) with his first career homer as well as three RBIs. Grosvenor drove in a run in all three games with a RBI double on Friday, a RBI single in the 5-1 win and the homer in Sunday’s game. Grosvenor then followed that up with a solo homer in a 9-5 win vs. Wofford.

Freshman right-hander Colby Lee would get the ball in 13 games in his first season with the Garnet & Black and also made three starts in the month of May. Lee was 2-1 with a 5.86 ERA. He struck out 22 and walked 11 in 27.2 innings pitched with opponents batting .240 against him.

Freshman right-hander Cody Morris made 10 starts and went 3-2 with a 3.66 ERA after sitting out the 2016 season recovering from Tommy John surgery. Morris struck out 47 to eight walks in 39.1 innings pitched. Opponents hit .240 against him.

South Carolina junior right-handed pitcher Clarke Schmidt will miss the remainder of the 2017 season after an MRI revealed a torn ulnar collateral ligament to his right elbow.

Schmidt went 4-1 with a 1.34 ERA in nine starts. He struck out 70 batters to 18 walks in 60.1 innings with opponents batting only .1984 against him. In SEC games he was 1-2 with a 1.57 ERA in five starts with 39 strikeouts in 34.1 innings and opponents batting .191 against him.

Schmidt was one of 40 players in the nation named to USA Baseball’s Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List. Presented in partnership with the Rod Dedeaux Foundation, the 40th Golden Spikes Award will be presented on June 29 in Los Angeles to the top amateur baseball player in the country.

South Carolina sophomore catcher Chris Cullen will miss the remainder of the 2017 season after undergoing surgery to remove torn cartilage in the left knee.

Cullen played in 34 games with 31 starts and hit .276 (29-for-105) for the season with five homers, 18 RBIs and 19 runs scored. He owned a .377 on-base percentage and a .467 slugging mark. Cullen hit for a .273 average (15-for-55) in league play.

South Carolina junior infielder Madison Stokes was out with a broken right wrist after being hit by a pitch in game two of the Missouri series. 100 percent recovery is expected in six to eight weeks.

Stokes started 47 games at shortstop and hit .224 (37-for-165) for the season with 18 runs scored, 10 doubles, three homers and 17 RBIs on the year.

Sophomore outfielder Danny Blair finished the year hitting .258 (25-for-97) with 15 runs scored, a pair of doubles, a homer and nine RBIs. He also had a .345 on-base percentage.