USC Begins SEC Tournament Against Miss St.
HOOVER, AL (USC SID) — South Carolina begins SEC Tournament action on Wednesday night as the No. 4 seed in the tournament and will face No. 5 Mississippi State, who defeated Missouri 2-1 in 17 innings on Tuesday night. The Gamecocks finished the regular season 39-16 and 17-12 in the SEC. The Gamecocks were second in the SEC Eastern Division and fourth overall. It will be the final game on Wednesday night, time still to be determined. The game will be televised live on CSS, streamed on ESPN3, and can be heard on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.” South Carolina will start senior LHP Nolan Belcher on Wednesday night. Belcher enters with a 7-5 record and a 2.17 ERA in 99.1 innings pitched on the year. SEC TOURNAMENT South Carolina has reached the SEC Tournament for the 17th consecutive season. Carolina’s 17 straight appearances is the longest current streak among the 14 SEC schools. Among the team’s best finishes at the tournament, Carolina won the SEC Tournament in 2004 defeating Vanderbilt in the championship game and finished second in 2002 to Alabama. SEC FINISH South Carolina went 9-5 in the second half of the SEC season to finish 17-12 in league play. The Gamecocks’ second place finish in the SEC East marks the fifth straight year that Carolina has finished second or better in the division. SEC VICTORIES South Carolina owns more conference wins than any SEC team since 2000. The Gamecocks own a 257-160 record in conference games (does not include SEC Tournament or NCAA postseason games) in that span. SEC Win Totals in SEC games since 2000 1. South Carolina 257-160 2. LSU 244-171-3 3. Florida 241-177-2 4. Ole Miss 222-197 5. Alabama 213-205 6. Arkansas 209-203 Vanderbilt 209-203 8. Georgia 196-215-1 9. Auburn 191-229 10. Mississippi St. 188-222 11. Tennessee 167-245 12. Kentucky 159-256-2 13. Texas A&M 13-16 14. Missouri 10-20 note – only conference games, does not include SEC Tournament or NCAA postseason games. Texas A&M and Missouri joined the SEC after the 2012 season. SOME SUPERLATIVES South Carolina is 33-3 when leading after six innings and 34-0 when leading after eight innings. The Gamecocks own a 28-4 record when out-hitting its opponent and 25-6 when scoring first in the contest. Carolina has allowed five runs or less in 45 of 55 games played this season (81.8 percent). The Gamecocks are 35-10 when allowing five runs or less. South Carolina is 20-12 in games decided by three runs or less. AT THE PLATE, IN THE FIELD & ON THE MOUND South Carolina is hitting .282 as a team (515-for-1824), fourth best in the league. The Gamecocks lead the SEC with 46 home runs, rank third in slugging percentage (.421) and fourth in on-base percentage (.373). On the mound, the Gamecocks 3.03 ERA is fifth best in the league. South Carolina has 427 strikeouts to 128 walks in 490. 0 innings pitched. Opponents are hitting .253 against the staff. South Carolina is fielding .972 as a team DANTZLER A CANDIDATE FOR THE GOLDEN SPIKES AWARD South Carolina senior first baseman LB Dantzler is one of 60 players in the nation named to the 2013 Golden Spikes Award Watch List, as announced by USA Baseball on May 2, 2013. Senior first baseman LB Dantzler continues to lead Carolina in hitting with a .333 average (62-for-186) with 14 homers and 47 RBI. He ranks tied for second in the SEC in homers (14), third in slugging percentage (.645), fourth in total bases (120), tied for fifth in walks (35), tied for sixth in RBI (47), eighth in on-base percentage (.445) and tied for ninth in doubles (14). Dantzler homered twice in Saturday’s 7-2 loss vs. Mississippi State. He was also 1-for-3 and scored a run in the 5-3 win vs. the Bulldogs on Friday night. DANTZLER FINALIST FOR SENIOR CLASS AWARD LB Dantzler is one of 10 NCAA baseball student-athletes selected as a finalist for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award one space®. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to help select the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote on the Senior CLASS Award website – seniorCLASSaward.com or on the Senior CLASS Award Facebook fan page through June 10. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division I head coaches’ votes to determine the winner, who will be announced during the 2013 College World Series in Omaha. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – community, classroom, character and competition. Dantzler was South Carolina’s 2012-13 male nominee for the SEC’s H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year. With a 3.641 GPA in sport and entertainment management, he has been on the SEC Academic Honor Roll and spent two semesters on the Dean’s List. Dantzler has volunteered more than 50 hours at the Epworth Children’s Home, working on various projects. He also helped organize a fundraising effort for the orphanage through an area restaurant, and has made speaking appearances for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in Schoolone space®, the Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities. For more information on all the finalists, visit seniorCLASSaward.com. Baseball Senior CLASS Award Finalists Mark Appel, Stanford Shane Basen, Charlotte Chase Brookshire, Belmont Boomer Collins, Dallas Baptist LB Dantzler, South Carolina Carlos Lopez, Cal State Fullerton Alex Mendez, South Florida Raph Rhymes, LSU Chris Rowley, Army Brandon Thomas, Georgia Tech DANTZLER NAMED TO CAPITAL ONE ACADEMIC ALL-DISTRICT TEAM Along with the Senior CLASS Award, Dantzler has been named to the Capital One Academic All-District First Team for District Four as announced by CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) on May 1. Dantzler, South Carolina’s male nominee for the SEC Boyd McWhorter Award, has compiled a 3.64 cumulative GPA in Sport & Entertainment Management. First-team Academic All-Districtone space® honorees advance to the Capital One Academic All-Americaone space® Team ballot, where first-, second- and third-team All-America honorees will be selected later this month. The Academic All-Districtone space® teams (listed above) are divided into eight geographic districts across the United States and Canada. This is the second year of the expanded Academic All-Americaone space® program as CoSIDA moved from recognizing a University Division (Division I) and a College Division (all non Division I) and has doubled the number of scholar-athletes honored. The expanded teams include NCAA Division I, NCAA Division II and NCAA Division III participants, while the College Division team combines NAIA, Canadian and two-year schools. The Capital One Division II and III Academic All-Americaone space® program is being financially supported by the NCAA Division II and III national governance structures, to assist CoSIDA with handling the awards fulfillment aspects for the 2012-13 DII and DIII Academic All-Americaone space® teams program. Tyler Webb MAKES HIS MARK Senior left-hander Tyler Webb made three relief appearances this past week and posted saves in Tuesday’s 4-3 win over Presbyterian and Friday’s 5-3 win over Mississippi State. Webb now owns the South Carolina career record for appearances with 104, surpassing the previous mark of 102 set by Matt Price (2009-12). Webb leads the SEC with 16 saves including nine saves in conference contests. He has not allowed a run in 22 of 26 relief appearances this year. Webb is 2-2 with a 1.27 ERA in 35.1 innings. He has 51 strikeouts to just nine walks, opponents batting .194 against him. He has pitched in relief in 92 career appearances, with 72 relief appearances without allowing a run (78.2 percent). In career relief appearances he is 10-3 with 19 saves. SINGLE-SEASON RECORD AT SOUTH CAROLINA Saves 21 Blake Taylor 2002 20 Matt Price 2011 20 Chad Blackwell 2004 19 Lee Gronkiewicz 2001 16 Tyler Webb 2013 Grayson Greiner SELECTED TO USA BASEBALL COLLEGIATE NATIONAL TEAM South Carolina sophomore catcher Grayson Greiner has been invited to the 2013 USA Baseball Collegiate National Team, it was announced on April 24. Greiner was also invited to last year’s squad but was unable to participate due to his recovery from a knee injury. Training for the team will run from June 21-July 2 in Cary, N.C. at the USA Baseball National Training Complex. Team USA will travel to Japan from July 6-11 and are also scheduled to play Cuba from July 18-23 in various cites in the U.S. Greiner hit a game-winning two-run homer in the 10th inning of South Carolina’s 5-3 win over Mississippi State on Friday night. Greiner was Carolina’s top hitter in SEC games with a .310 average (31-for-100) in 27 starts with three homers and 14 RBI. HE is hitting .297 (52-for-175) for the season with four homers and 34 RBI. He has 10 doubles, second highest on the team, and has scored 26 runs. Greiner was stellar in the four victories two weeks ago as he hit .615 (8-for-13) including five extra base hits (four doubles, one triple), four runs scored and four RBI. His on-base percentage for the week was .600 with a 1.077 slugging percentage. He was 3-for-4 with a double and a triple, a RBI and two runs in the 7-2 win over Georgia. He followed that up with a 2-for-4 game with a run and a RBI in the 8-3 win on Sunday over the Bulldogs. SOUTH CAROLINA PLAYERS & USA BASEBALL COLLEGIATE NATIONAL TEAM 2013 – Grayson Greiner, C 2010 – Jackie Bradley Jr., OF 2007 – Justin Smoak, 1B 2003 – Matt Campbell, P 2002 – Landon Powell, C 1997 – Adam Everett, SS 1989 – Brian Williams, P/OF 1986 – Dave Hollins, 3B Since 1978 USA Baseball has been the National Governing Body (NGB) for the sport of baseball. It represents the sport in the United States as a member of the U.S. Olympic Committee (USOC) and internationally as a member federation of the International Baseball Federation (IBAF). WYNKOOP FINDING HIS ZONE For two straight weeks in the end of April, South Carolina freshman left-hander Jack Wynkoop was named SEC Freshman of the Week. Wynkoop worked seven scoreless innings in a 4-0 victory at No. 2 LSU in the rubber game of a three-game series at Alex Box Stadium on ESPN. It marked the first series loss by the Tigers this year. Wynkoop never reached a 3-ball count in the entire stint and limited the Tigers, the second ranked offense in the league, to just five hits with no walks. Wynkoop combined with two other Gamecocks for the six-hit shutout. Wynkoop earned the victory in the 8-3 win over Georgia. He worked five-plus innings and allowed two runs on five hits with one walk and three strikeouts. Wynkoop is 7-3 on the year with a 2.81 ERA in 57.2 innings with 33 strikeouts to 10 walks. GAMECOCK HONOREES BY THE SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE Week 2 – LB Dantzler (SEC Player of the Week) Week 4 – Joey Pankake (SEC Player of the Week) Week 8 – Max Schrock (SEC Freshman of the Week) Week 10 – Jack Wynkoop (SEC Freshman of the Week) Week 11 – Jack Wynkoop (SEC Freshman of the Week) A LITTLE BIT OF ENGLISH Sophomore center fielder Tanner English provided a punch at LSU with outstanding defense coupled with two triples and two runs scored in the series. English’s RBI triple on Saturday was the game-winning hit in the 4-2 win over LSU. He made 18 putouts and tallied an assist also in the weekend series vs. the Tigers. English went 2-for-4 with a RBI double and two runs scored in the 8-3 win over Georgia. English is hitting .265 (36-for-136) with 18 RBI and 23 runs scored. BELCHER BRINGS IT Senior left-handed pitcher Nolan Belcher had a quality start in a no-decision in Thursday’s 5-4 loss vs. Mississippi State. Belcher allowed just one run on nine hits in 6.1 innings with four strikeouts and three walks. Belcher is third in the SEC with 99.1 innings pitched as well as fifth in strikeouts (83) and 11th in both earned run average (2.17) and opposing batting average (.233). Belcher is 7-5 on the year. Belcher pitched the first complete game shutout of his career in the 8-0 victory vs. Clemson. Belcher allowed just three hits and no walks while striking out seven batters in the win. Only one base runner reached third base the entire game for the Tigers. It is the first complete game shutout by a Gamecock pitcher since Sam Dyson on May 15, 2010 in a 5-0 win at Arkansas. Belcher’s complete game shutout was also the first by a Gamecock pitcher in the Clemson series since May 4, 1986 when Rodney Richey hurled a four-hit complete game shutout in a 5-0 victory vs. the Tigers at Sarge Frye Field. PANKAKE RISES Sophomore shortstop Joey Pankake is among the team’s leading hitters with a .314 average (64-for-204) with 33 runs scored and 38 RBI. Pankake ranks sixth in the SEC in home runs with 10, ranks 12th with a .505 slugging percentage and tied for 14th in RBI. He is tied for the team lead in multi-hit games with 18 on the year. MONTGOMERY BOUNCES BACK Sophomore left-hander Jordan Montgomery was effective in a no-decision in the 5-3 win for the Gamecocks at Mississippi State. Montgomery allowed three runs on nine hits in seven innings with a walk and four strikeouts. For the season, he is 4-1 with a 2.11 ERA in 55.1 innings. Montgomery’s 2.11 ERA ranks 10th in the SEC. Montgomery improved to 4-1 with a victory in the 7-1 win over Georgia. Montgomery carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning and allowed just one run on two hits with three walks and two strikeouts. MAX IT OUT Freshman second baseman Max Schrock had five hits in the four games last week. Schrock was 2-for-3 with a walk in the 4-3 win over Presbyterian. He had a base hit and a run scored in the 5-3 win over Mississippi State and added two more hits in Saturday’s 7-2 loss against the Bulldogs. Schrock is tied with Pankake for the team lead with 18 multi-hit games. He is hitting .283 (54-for-191) for the year with 35 runs and 35 RBI. HOLMES WITH THE ANSWER Senior right-hander Colby Holmes became the 21st pitcher in school history to record 20 or more wins with his victory at Tennessee on April 7, 2013. Holmes pitched three scoreless innings of relief with a strikeout in the 3-2 loss vs. Vanderbilt. He had three more innings of relief with just one run allowed, unearned in the 9-3 win over Wofford. He added two scoreless innings with two strikeouts in the 7-1 win over Georgia. Holmes lowered his ERA to 3.96 in 52.1 innings. SAIKO LEADS IT OFF Junior outfielder Graham Saiko had a streak of scoring at least one run snapped at six games in Saturday’s 7-2 loss at Mississippi State. Saiko was 1-for-3 with a run scored and a RBI in both the 4-3 win over Presbyterian and 5-4 loss vs. the Bulldogs. He went 1-for-3 with a run scored in the 5-3 win at MSU. Saiko is hitting .256 (44-for-172) with 32 runs and 23 RBI. He has 35 walks to 18 strikeouts at the plate. He has reached base in 12 consecutive games and is 11 of 14 in stolen base attempts. WESTMORELAND EFFECTIVE IN RELIEF Senior left-hander Adam Westmoreland earned a win in Friday’s 5-3 win at Mississippi State. He is tied with Nolan Belcher and Jack Wynkoop for the team lead in victories with seven on the year. He pitched two scoreless innings with just one hit allowed and one walk while striking out two. For the year, Westmoreland is 7-1 with a 1.66 ERA in 54.1 innings with 55 strikeouts to just 10 walks in 23 relief appearances. ON BASE WITH CHASE Senior infielder Chase Vergason owns a six-game hitting streak heading into the SEC Tournament. He has also reached base in 12 straight games. Vergason had a hit in each game of the Mississippi State series including a run scored in the 5-4 loss on Thursday. He was also 1-for-3 with a run scored, a double and two RBI in the 4-3 win over Presbyterian. Vergason is batting .268 for the season (53-for-198) with 36 runs and 25 RBI. He also owns a .359 on-base percentage. Vergason tied a school record held by many with two sacrifice flies in the 4-0 win at LSU. Last player to accomplish the feat was Jake Williams on June 5, 2011 vs. Stetson. Vergason also scored two runs this week and tripled in the 4-0 victory. BRISON Junior designated hitter Brison Celek went 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored in the 5-4 loss at Mississippi State. Celek is hitting .291 (23-for-79) in 22 starts with 11 runs scored and 14 RBI. His double at MSU was his first double since April 12 at Florida. SULLY & SULLY Two senior leaders on the South Carolina team are a pair of brothers, senior outfielder Sean Sullivan and senior right-handed pitcher Patrick Sullivan. Patrick picked up the win for South Carolina in the 4-3 victory over Presbyterian with 1.2 innings of relief allowing one run on one hit with no walks and three strikeouts. He is now 2-0 with a 2.92 ERA in 17 appearances with a save. Patrick has 22 strikeouts in 24.2 innings pitched. Sean has seen action in 23 games and is hitting .333 (8-for-24) with seven runs and six RBI. Sean led off with a walk when the game was tied 2-2 vs. Presbyterian and eventually scored the winning run in the 4-3 victory. SOLD OUT Saturday’s 7-1 win over Georgia was played in front of a sellout crowd of 8,242 fans at Carolina Stadium. It marked the fourth sellout of the season and 30th in Carolina Stadium history. South Carolina is 24-6 (.800) in sellout contests at Carolina Stadium. BALANCE ATTACK The Gamecocks had a balanced attack on the offensive side in the Kentucky series with seven different Gamecock players driving in at least one run as well as seven different players scoring at least one run. South Carolina hit .318 (35-for-110) for the weekend with a .372 on-base percentage. On the mound, the Gamecocks were solid as well with a 2.17 ERA and 27 strikeouts in 29 innings pitched. EVAN ALMIGHTY Sophomore right-hander Evan Beal pitched 2.1 scoreless innings of relief with just two hits allowed and a walk in the 5-2 loss to Vanderbilt. Beal is 2-1 with a 4.78 ERA on the year in 13 games with 32.0 innings pitched. He has 36 strikeouts to 16 walks, opponents batting .254 against him. Beal was stellar in a start at Missouri. Beal allowed just one run on eight hits in 6.1 innings of work with one walk and a career-high 10 strikeouts in the 4-1 win over Missouri. Beal’s 10 strikeouts are also the most by a Gamecock pitcher this season. BRITT SHOWS VERSATILITY Freshman right-hander Curt Britt made his second career start in the 9-3 win over Wofford. He allowed two runs on four hits with no walks and a pair of strikeouts. Britt is 2-0 with a save in 11 games. SEDDON SETTLES IN Sophomore right-hander Joel Seddon pitched one perfect inning of relief with two strikeouts in the ninth inning of the 9-3 win over Wofford. He was stellar in his first start of the year as the Gamecocks defeated Davidson. He pitched four scoreless innings with just two hits allowed while striking out a career-high six batters. Seddon is 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA on the year. He has 20 strikeouts in 18.0 innings pitched. VINNY Freshman left-hander Vince Fiori allowed one run on four hits in 2.2 innings of relief in the 5-2 loss to Vanderbilt. Fiori tied a career-high with four strikeouts as well; he previously had four K’s vs. Charleston Southern on April 2, 2013. He is 1-0 with a 4.12 ERA in 13 relief appearances. Fiori has 20 strikeouts in 18.0 innings. MAJOR LEAGUE GAMECOCKS Four former South Carolina Gamecocks are currently active for the 2013 MLB season. Justin Smoak (2006-08) is in his fourth season in the big leagues with the Seattle Mariners. Brian Roberts (1999) and Steve Pearce (2004-05) don the Baltimore Orioles jersey. Recently, Billy Buckner (2004) was called up to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Michael Roth (2009-12) became the 46th player in school history to play in a Major League game with his appearance and a win for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim on April 13. He is currently in Double-A with Arkansas. Jackie Bradley Jr. (2009-11) made his debut Opening Day for the Boston Red Sox, he is currently in Triple-A with Pawtucket. Two more Gamecocks are on 40-man rosters for their respective teams. James Darnell (2006-08) is in Triple-A with the San Diego Padres and Sam Dyson (2008-10) is in Double-A Jacksonville with the Miami Marlins. Many Gamecocks were in the mix to help Carolina to a series victory vs. Clemson. Nine different Gamecock position players had at least one RBI over the weekend. Dantzler, Saiko, Schrock, Grayson Greiner, Chase Vergason and Connor Bright all had two RBI over the weekend.