Friday, February 27, 2015
USC Travels To UGA For Weekend Series
COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) -- South Carolina (34-11, 12-9 SEC) is back on the road for a three-game series at Georgia (21-22-1, 7-13-1 SEC). First pitch for the series opener on Friday, May 2 is 7 p.m. at Foley Field. Saturday's game is scheduled for 1 p.m. and will be televised live on CSS and streamed on ESPN3. Sunday's series finale is also at 1 p.m. All three games can also be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, "The Game."
South Carolina is ranked No. 7 by the ESPN/USA Today coaches' poll and the NCBWA, No. 8 by Perfect Game, No. 9 by Baseball America and No. 14 by Collegiate Baseball.
Radio: Gamecock IMG Radio Network; Flagship 107.5 FM The Game. Andy Demetra and Tommy Moody call the action.
Television: CSS will televise Saturday's game, it will also be streamed on ESPN3 and will be available to Time Warner Cable customers in Columbia on channel 506. Mike Morgan and Buck Belue will call the action.
Live Streaming Video: Friday and Sunday's games will be available on Georgia's All-Access Channel
Internet: Additional coverage on Twitter @GamecockBasebll and Facebook/Gamecocksonline
PROBABLE PITCHING ROTATION
South Carolina - Jordan Montgomery (Jr. LHP) 6-3, 3.55 ERA, 66.0 IP, 23 BB, 67 SO
Georgia - Ryan Lawlor (So. LHP) 3-4, 3.65 ERA, 61.2 IP, 22 BB, 46 SO
South Carolina - Jack Wynkoop (So. LHP) 5-3, 2.14 ERA, 67.1 IP, 8 BB, 49 SO
Georgia - Robert Tyler (Fr. RHP) 4-4. 2.85 ERA, 60.0 IP, 18 BB, 50 SO
South Carolina - Wil Crowe (Fr. RHP) 6-2, 2.60 ERA, 65.2 IP, 16 BB, 42 SO
Georgia - TBA
THE GEORGIA SERIES
South Carolina leads the series with Georgia 61-49 including a three-game sweep vs. the Bulldogs last year at Carolina Stadium with victories of 7-2, 7-1 and 8-3. The two teams split a pair of games back in 2012 with Carolina winning the first game 3-0, Georgia defeating the Gamecocks 6-5 in 10 innings in game two and the third game cancelled due to rain.
Scott Stricklin is in his first year as head coach of the Bulldogs. Georgia enters on an eight-game losing streak that includes a pair of sweeps at Vanderbilt and Florida the last two weeks.
A LOOK BACK
South Carolina went 4-1 last week with a pair of midweek wins vs. Davidson and USC Upstate as well as two victories in a weekend series vs. Alabama. The Gamecocks are now 34-11 and 12-9 in the SEC. Carolina sits at second place in the SEC Eastern Division and in fifth place overall with three conference weekends left to play.
A HIT VS. ALABAMA
The Gamecocks hit .323 (32-for-99) in the Alabama series, the best average by the Gamecocks in SEC play this year. Sunday's 17-hit outing vs. the Crimson Tide was the highest total of hits in a SEC game this year and the second-highest total by the Gamecocks all season, just one short of the season-high 18 set vs. Brown on Mar. 8.
Junior catcher Grayson Greiner was named the 2013-14 USC Co-Male Student-Athlete of the Year alongside Gamecock football/basketball standout Bruce Ellington. Greiner has been recognized in the baseball circles as well as he has been was named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List for the top catcher in college baseball and is on USA Baseball's Midseason Watch List for the Golden Spikes Award.
Greiner hit .500 (6-for-12) for the second straight weekend. Greiner doubled, homered, scored three runs and added three RBI vs. the Crimson Tide. He is hitting .333 (51-for-153) with 29 runs scored and a team-high 42 RBI. Greiner ranks third in the SEC in RBI. Greiner homered in Friday's 9-3 win, his fifth homer of the year tying him with Max Schrock for the team lead. Greiner's .333 average (27-for-81) in SEC play is the best on the team as well. He owns a .399 on-base percentage for the year and a .490 slugging mark.
Greiner was named SEC Player of the Week on March 31 after his play in the Tennessee series. Greiner hit a walk-off grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the 9th inning to lift South Carolina to a 9-6 win over Tennessee on Saturday. His play along with Jordan Gore's walk-off homer was No. 1 on ESPN's SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays of the Day.
Greiner won the Tom Price award as the MVP for South Carolina in the weekend series vs. Clemson. Greiner hit .400 (4-for-10) for the weekend with four runs scored. His grand slam homer helped lift South Carolina to a 9-6 win. He had a team-high four walks on the weekend as well.
South Carolina is 7-4 in one-run games this year as well as 15-9 in games decided by three runs or less. South Carolina is now 32-6 (.842) for the season when allowing five runs or less in a contest as well as 17-1 (.944) when scoring six runs or more. The Gamecocks are 29-4 (.879) when out-hitting the opponent.
SEDDON SEALS IT
Junior right-hander Joel Seddon tallied two saves in both wins vs. Alabama. He is 2-1 with a 0.58 ERA this year as well as 12 saves for the season. His 12 saves lead the SEC. He has struck out 39 batters in 31.0 innings and allowed just three runs, two earned, on 13 hits. Opponents are batting just .126 against him. Seven of Seddon's 12 saves have come in SEC play. He is 12-for-13 in save opportunities this year. He worked 2.1 scoreless with just one hit allowed, an infield single in the rubber game of the series as well with three strikeouts. With 12 saves, Seddon is tied for eighth on the USC single-season list for saves in a year with Brian Beatson, who tallied 12 in both 1988 and 1990. He has been named to the NCBWA Midseason Stopper of the Year Watch List.
USC Single-Season Top 10 Save List
1. Blake Taylor (2002 - 21
T2. Matt Price (2011) - 20
T2. Chad Blackwell (2004) - 20
4. Lee Gronkiewicz (2001) - 19
5. Tyler Webb (2013) - 17
6. Scott Barber (2000) - 15
7. Matt Price (2012) - 13
T8. Joel Seddon (2014) - 12
T8. Brian Beatson (1990) - 12
T8. Brian Beatson (1988) - 12
SOUTH CAROLINA BULLPEN
The South Carolina bullpen is 16-1 with 13 saves on the year with a 1.09 ERA in 173.0 innings pitched. The Gamecock relievers have allowed 26 runs, 21 earned, on 110 hits with 178 strikeouts to 58 walks.
The numbers are very similar for SEC games with a 6-1 record along with seven saves and a 1.09 ERA in 74.1 conference innings pitched. The relievers have given up 13 runs, nine earned, on 49 hits with 72 strikeouts to 25 walks.
Junior first baseman Kyle Martin tied a season-high with a pair of four-hit games this week. Martin had four hits in the 6-1 win over USC Upstate and went 4-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI in Sunday's 9-3 win over Alabama. Martin leads the Gamecocks with a .350 average (62-for-177) with 31 runs scored, eight doubles, four homers and 25 RBI. Martin averages 1.38 hits per game, third-best in the SEC. He is ninth in the SEC overall in batting average. He owns a .404 on-base percentage and a .463 slugging percentage. Martin is hitting .318 (28-for-88) in league games.
MONTGOMERY GETS IT STARTED
Junior left-hander Jordan Montgomery improved to 6-3 with a win in the 9-3 victory vs. Alabama on Friday. Montgomery allowed just two runs on eight hits in 6.1 innings with two walks and eight strikeouts. He owns a 3.55 ERA in 66.0 innings with 67 strikeouts to 23 walks. Montgomery ranks fifth in the SEC with 67 strikeouts.
JACK OF ALL TRADES
Sophomore left-hander Jack Wynkoop put together a quality start despite Saturday's 2-1 loss. He allowed two runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings with no walks and four strikeouts. Wynkoop is 5-3 with a 2.14 ERA in a team-high 67.1 innings. He has 49 strikeouts to eight walks.
A LITTLE BIT OF ENGLISH
Junior outfielder Tanner English hit .500 (5-for-10) in the Alabama series as well with two runs scored and two RBI. English is hitting .296 (45-for-152) for the year with a team-high 12 stolen bases. English's .329 average in SEC games (24-for-73) is second-best on the team as well. He went 3-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI in the Friday 9-3 win vs. the Crimson Tide.
Freshman outfielder Gene Cone had two of the biggest hits in the weekend series vs. Alabama. Cone reached base in all four plate appearances in Friday's 9-3 win with three walks and a key three-run triple. He followed that up with two-out two-run single that would give the Gamecocks a lead they would not relinquish in Sunday's 9-3 win. Cone had a team-high five RBI and two runs scored vs. the Crimson Tide.
Cone came through for the Gamecocks in both victories at Auburn two weeks ago. He belted a career-high three hits including a game-tying RBI double in the top of the ninth inning to help South Carolina rally for a 3-2 win at Auburn on Saturday. He then followed that up on Sunday going 1-for-3 with game-winning RBI sacrifice fly in the eighth inning of South Carolina's 4-3 win at Auburn. Cone tied his career-high with three hits in Wednesday's 6-1 win over USC Upstate. He has raised his average to .227 and owns a .321 on-base percentage.
Sophomore infielder DC Arendas hit .444 (4-for-9) in the Alabama series with a team-best five runs scored as well as a pair of RBI. He was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a RBI in the 9-3 win on Sunday and scored two runs and drove in another in the 9-3 win on Friday. Arendas is hitting .267 (35-for-131) with a .368 on-base percentage. He is one of four players tied with the team lead for walks with 19 on the year.
MINCEY WITH AN APPEARANCE
Junior right-hander Cody Mincey worked 1.2 scoreless innings of relief to pick up the win in Sunday's 9-3 win. He is now 4-0 on the year with a 0.67 ERA in 27.0 innings with 37 strikeouts. Opponents are .174 against him.
A JOLT FROM JORDAN
Freshman infielder Jordan Gore tallied his first career multi-RBI game going 3-for-4 with a RBI and a sacrifice in the 9-3 win on Sunday vs. Alabama.
Gore came up with his second game-winning hit of his career with a RBI single in the ninth inning of South Carolina's 3-2 win over Auburn. Gore also had a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 14th in a 3-2 win over Tennessee.
The Gamecocks have won six games this season when trailing entering the seventh inning including four wins when trailing entering the ninth inning.
South Carolina is outscoring opponents 81-20 from the seventh inning through extra innings on the year. From the sixth inning to the end, South Carolina is also outscoring opponents 124-3.
NINTH INNING RALLY
South Carolina rallied from a 3-1 deficit in the top of the ninth with four runs in a 5-3 win at Clemson on March 2, 2014. Four consecutive two-out hits in the top of the ninth inning led to four runs. Trailing 3-1 entering the top of the ninth inning, the Gamecocks got things started with a base hit up the middle of the bat of Kyle Martin. With two outs and Martin still on first base, Grayson Greiner kept the inning alive with a single up the middle as well. Pinch hitter Brison Celek fought to a 2-2 count against Clemson reliever Clate Schmidt before knocking a base hit into left field to load the bases. That set the stage for sophomore shortstop Marcus Mooney, who jumped on the first pitch from Schmidt for a single into center field. Martin scored as did Greiner to tie the game. It was a tight play at the plate as center fielder Tyler Slaton's throw made it to home plate, but Clemson catcher Chris Okey was unable to hold on to the ball on a tag attempt as Greiner was sliding in for the tying run. With runners on second and third, Tanner English fought off a pair of two strike pitches and then belted a double to left field scoring both runners and giving the Gamecocks a two-run lead. Junior right-hander Cody Mincey retired all three Tiger batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth inning to secure the Carolina victory.
On March 15, 2014, the Gamecocks rallied from three runs down with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat Ole Miss 5-4 in 10 innings. A two-out RBI single by Connor Bright and a two-run homer by pinch hitter Max Schrock tied it in the ninth with pinch hitter Brison Celek winning it for the Gamecocks in the 10th frame with a RBI single.
On March 29, 2014, Grayson Greiner's walk-off grand slam capped a six-run bottom of the ninth inning as South Carolina rallied from three runs down with two outs and no runners on base to defeat Tennessee 9-6 for a second consecutive walk-off win on the afternoon. Trailing 6-3 and down to its final at-bat the Gamecocks made their final rally push as pinch hitter Brison Celek kept the inning alive with a base hit to center field. The rally then continued with Max Schrock as the sophomore drove a 1-1 pitch to right field from reliever Josh Peterson just fair of the foul pole in right field for a home run cutting the deficit to one run. After the Volunteers made a change to left-hander Drake Owenby, the Gamecocks stayed alive as a fly ball off the bat of Joey Pankake was mishandled by right fielder Scott Price putting the tying run on second base. Kyle Martin drew a walk and Connor Bright was hit on a 2-2 pitch from Owenby to load the bases and set the stage for Greiner. Tennessee would make one more change as right-hander Peter Lenstrom entered from the bullpen. On a 1-0 pitch, Greiner belted the game-winning homer to left field setting off a frenzy in Carolina Stadium. It was Greiner's fourth home run of the season.
On April 19, 2014, down a run entering the ninth inning, South Carolina stormed back with a pair of runs on RBI hits from freshmen Gene Cone and Jordan Gore to defeat Auburn 3-2 in game two of a doubleheader at Plainsman Park. The Gamecocks escaped a jam in the bottom of the eighth to set up the ninth inning heroics. With the bases loaded and no outs, right-hander Cody Mincey fought back from a 3-0 count against Ryan Tella to strike him out for the first out of the inning. A strikeout of Dan Glevenyak followed and Mincey ended the threat with pinch hitter Daniel Robert lining out to Gore at second base. With momentum, the Gamecocks battled as the ninth inning opened with a leadoff single by Grayson Greiner and a one-out walk to Elliot Caldwell. After pinch-runner Patrick Harrington replaced Greiner, the Gamecocks tied the game at 2-2 on a RBI double to right field off the bat of Cone. Auburn intentionally walked Tanner English that set the stage for Gore who lined a RBI single into left field to give the Gamecocks a one-run lead. Junior right-hander Joel Seddon came in and pitched a perfect ninth to seal the Gamecock victory.
AT THE PLATE, ON THE MOUND AND IN THE FIELD
South Carolina is hitting .286 (441-for-1542) for the year with a .359 on-base percentage and a .383 slugging percentage. The Gamecocks rank fourth in the league in hitting. The Gamecocks own a SEC-best 2.05 ERA in 409.0 innings, opponents batting .220 against the Gamecocks. South Carolina is fielding .975 as a team with 43 errors.
Junior infielder Joey Pankake is hitting .297 (47-for-158) with a team-high 39 runs scored. He went 3-for-3 in the 6-1 win over USC Upstate. Pankake's on-base percentage is .384 with a .405 slugging mark. He is fourth in the SEC in runs scored. Pankake's .274 average (23-for-84) in SEC games is fourth best on the team. He has 12 of his 21 RBI this year in SEC games.
CROWE MAKES AN IMPACT
Freshman right-hander Wil Crowe was effective in a no-decision in Sunday's 9-3 win over Alabama. He allowed three runs in five-plus innings of work. Crowe is 6-2 with a 2.60 ERA in 65.2 innings pitched. He is one of 14 pitchers in the SEC to have won six games or more.
Crowe was honored twice by the Southeastern Conference in the first two weeks of the regular season. On February 24, he earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors after working 6.1 scoreless innings in a 6-0 win over Eastern Kentucky with just four hits allowed and one walk to pick up his second win of the season.
The first week, Crowe was SEC Pitcher of the Week. He had an impressive debut as he hurled 6.1 hitless innings in his first career start. Crowe walked just one and hit one batter while finishing with five strikeouts to earn his first career win in a Gamecock uniform. Bucknell had just one runner reach second base and none reach third base while Crowe was on the mound. Crowe retired 13 consecutive batters in a row before coming out of the game as he reached his pitch count total.
A BRIGHT SPOT
Junior outfielder Connor Bright is hitting at a .336 clip (48-for-143) with 10 doubles, 23 RBI and 25 runs scored. Bright has a .376 on-base percentage and a .406 slugging percentage. He owns 14 multi-hit games
Freshman right-hander Reed Scott has been effective in a middle relief role for the Gamecocks. Scott pitched six scoreless innings of relief to earn his first career win in a Gamecock uniform and kept the Gamecocks alive in a 9-6 come-from-behind victory vs. Tennessee.
Scott is 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA on the year. He has allowed just three runs on 19 hits in 27.0 innings, opponents hitting .204 against him.
MOONEY IN THE MIDDLE
Sophomore shortstop Marcus Mooney was a spark plug in Sunday's 9-3 win over Alabama going 3-for-6 with a RBI and a run scored. He is up to a .291 average (44-for-151) at the plate. He has scored 20 runs and driven in 18 runs as well. Mooney has eight doubles, tied for third highest on the team. Mooney has 11 of his 18 RBI with two outs this year.
Junior left-hander Vince Fiori pitched 1.2 scoreless innings in Sunday's 6-5 loss vs. Florida. He allowed just one hit in 1.2 innings with a strikeout. Fiori has a 0.00 ERA in 16.0 innings pitched with 15 strikeouts to six walks. Opponents own a .186 average against him.
WIDENER SHOWS VERSATILITY
Freshman Taylor Widener started all three games at designated hitter in the Alabama series and had a relief appearance on the mound. Widener pitched 2.2 scoreless innings on Saturday and went 3-for-11 (.273) in the series with a pair of runs scored.
Two Gamecock players have started all 44 games this year, junior first baseman Kyle Martin and junior center fielder Tanner English.
Junior outfielder Patrick Harrington recorded his first hit and had a RBI in the 8-0 win over Davidson. In his first start vs. Florida, Harrington walked twice and drove in a run as he started in left field for the Gamecocks. He also walked twice and scored a run in Tuesday's 4-1 loss vs. Charleston Southern.
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