USC Starts 2nd Half Of SEC Play With Missouri

Clarke Schmidt pitching

COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) — South Carolina (30-8, 11-4 SEC) returns home to begin a seven-game homestand this weekend with a three-game SEC series vs. Missouri (20-18, 4-11 SEC). First pitch for the opener on Friday is 7 p.m. with Saturday’s game at 4 p.m. and Sunday’s series finale set for 1:30 p.m. All three games will be broadcast live on SEC Network Plus and can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”

South Carolina is ranked No. 4 by Collegiate Baseball, No. 8 in the USA Today Coaches poll, No. 11 by the NCBWA and Perfect Game and No. 12 by Baseball America and D1Baseball.

DEDICATION

Saturday will be the official dedication for Founders Park with a pregame ceremony held on the field at Founders Park. Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 3:45 p.m. for the dedication. South Carolina athletics director Ray Tanner and Founders President & CEO Bruce Brumfield are among the dignitaries attending the festivities.

Founders Federal Credit Union and the University of South Carolina announced in October 2015 a partnership awarding naming rights of the baseball facility to Founders Federal Credit Union changing the name from Carolina Stadium to Founders Park.

The agreement, which continues through 2025, includes official naming rights and other partnership benefits for the South Carolina based credit union. The Founders Federal Credit Union brand is prominent throughout the baseball stadium complex including the outfield scoreboard and video board, interior signage, on-field signage, concourse and plaza signage. In addition, Founders Federal Credit Union receives advertising and promotional packages with the Gamecocks athletics program.

WEEKEND ROTATION

Friday
South Carolina – Clarke Schmidt (Jr. RHP) 8-1, 1.66 ERA, 65.0 IP, 10 BB, 80 SO
Missouri – Reggie McClain (Sr. RHP) 3-2, 3.92 ERA, 64.1 IP, 5 BB, 54 SO

Saturday
South Carolina – Braden Webb (Fr. RHP) 7-2, 3.46 ERA, 52.0 IP, 27 BB, 66 SO
Missouri – Tanner Houck (So. RHP) 4-3, 3.22 ERA, 64.1 IP, 18 BB, 70 SO

Sunday
South Carolina – Adam Hill (Fr. RHP) 5-0, 2.95 ERA, 42.2 IP, 16 BB, 50 SO
Missouri – Michael Plassmeyer (Fr. LHP) 3-3, 4.91 ERA, 36.2 IP, 7 BB, 22 SO

LOOKING BACK

South Carolina went 1-3 last week with a win at Georgia in a three-game SEC series. The Gamecocks are 29-8 and 11-4 in the SEC. The Gamecocks are tied with Florida for first place in the SEC. Carolina’s 11-4 SEC record is the best conference record by the Gamecocks at the halfway point of the conference slate since the 2011 team went 12-3 in the first 15 league games.

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 as announced on Wednesday.

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 is 8-1 on the year with a 1.66 ERA. Schmidt has allowed 15 runs, 12 earned, on 53 hits with 10 walks and 80 strikeouts in 65.0 innings pitched. Opponents are batting just .221 against him. He leads the SEC in wins, strikeouts and innings pitched and ranks second in ERA. Schmidt is also tied for the national lead in victories alongside Louisville left-hander Drew Harrington as well as the national lead in strikeouts alongside Santa Clara right-hander Mitchell White.

He pitched his second career complete game and his first in nine innings to earn the win in a 3-1 victory at Georgia on Friday in the series opener. Schmidt allowed just one run on five hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts to pick up the victory.

Schmidt was named National Co-Pitcher of the Month for March as announced 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

Despite a loss on Saturday at Georgia, freshman right-hander Braden Webb still remains one of the top pitchers in the SEC. Webb is 7-2 with a 3.46 ERA. He has allowed 25 runs, 20 earned, on 36 hits in 52.0 innings. He has 66 strikeouts and opponents are batting .193 against him. Webb’s opponents batting average is fifth-best in the SEC. He ranks seventh in the SEC in strikeouts.

Webb has been named SEC Freshman of the Week twice this year. Webb struck out 11 batters in eight scoreless innings and limited third ranked Vanderbilt to just two hits in a 4-0 win. Fresh off 14 strikeouts vs. Ole Miss, 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 for 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.

CONE LEADS IT OFF

Junior outfielder Gene Cone owns a 24-game hitting streak and is one away from the single-season school record of 25 set by Greg Keatley in 1976 and two away from the school record 26-game hitting streak held by Whit Merrifield over the course of the 2009 and 2010 seasons (14 in 2009, 12 in 2010).

Cone is batting .331 (39-for-118) for the season with 30 runs scored and 12 RBI. He has 22 walks to 13 strikeouts and owns a .438 on-base percentage.

Cone is the team’s top hitter in SEC play with a .379 average (22-for-59) in 15 league games with 19 runs scored. He also has a team-high 13 walks and a .500 on-base percentage in league contests. That on-base percentage in 15 league games is second-best in the SEC with his batting average fifth-highest as well.

Cone’s hitting streak dates back to March 6 at Clemson. During his 24-game hitting streak, Cone has hit .358 (34-for-95) with 24 runs scored. In that span he has a .456 on-base percentage and a .495 slugging mark. It is the second-longest current hitting streak right now behind Matt Reardon of Florida Gulf Coast, who is on a 29-game hitting streak.

DYNAMIC DESTINO

Sophomore outfielder Alex Destino is hitting .344 (45-for-131) with 22 runs scored, eight doubles, four homers and 32 RBI. He has a .383 on-base percentage and a .496 slugging mark. Destino was 2-for-3 with two RBI and a double in Sunday’s 5-3 loss at Georgia.

Destino had a game-winning RBI pinch-hit single in the bottom of the eighth inning in Sunday’s 4-3 win over Tennessee. With the base hit, Destino extended his hitting streak to 21 games. The hitting streak was snapped last week vs. North Carolina.

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.

HILL ON THE MOUND

Freshman right-hander Adam Hill allowed two runs on four hits with three walks and three strikeouts in five-plus innings of work in a no-decision in Sunday’s 5-3 loss at Georgia. Hill is 5-0 with a 2.95 ERA. He has allowed 14 runs on 32 hits in 42.2 innings with 16 walks and 50 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting .213 against him. Hill’s ERA is 15th 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.

CULLEN CATCHING ON

Freshman catcher Chris Cullen had a key two-out RBI single in Friday’s 3-1 win at Georgia. Cullen has driven in 11 of his 19 runs this year with two outs. Cullen is hitting .274 (26-for-96) for the year with 11 runs scored and 19 RBI. He has 12 walks and a .343 on-base percentage.

SEC HONORS

A Gamecock has earned a weekly honor from the SEC six times. Along with Webb’s two SEC Freshman of the Week honors, John Jones was SEC Co-Player of the Week on February 29 and SEC Player of the Week on March 21, Clarke Schmidt earned SEC Pitcher of the Week on March 7 and Adam Hill was SEC Freshman of the Week on March 14.

STOKES RETURNS

Sophomore infielder Madison Stokes has hit safely in all five games he has started. Stokes is batting .300 (6-for-21) since returning after a Jones fracture caused him to miss the first half of the season.

REAGAN FROM THE LEFT

Junior left-hander Josh Reagan is one of the top relief pitchers in the SEC with a 1-1 record and 10 saves in 19 relief appearances. Reagan has allowed just three runs on the year and owns a 0.88 ERA. He has 27 strikeouts in 30.2 innings. Opponents are batting .152 against him. Reagan, Schmidt & Webb have been named to College Baseball Hall of Fame’s National Pitcher of the Year Award Watch List.

DTW

Junior outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams leads South Carolina with a .346 average (47-for-136) with 33 runs scored, 11 doubles, three triples, four homers and 31 RBI. He has a .458 on-base percentage with a .559 slugging mark and 15 stolen bases. He is seventh in the SEC in walks, tied for seventh in doubles and stolen bases, eighth in on-base percentage, tied for 12th in runs scored and 15th in slugging percentage. Thompson-Williams leads Carolina with a team-high 16 multi-hit games and owns 10 multi-RBI games, second-highest on the squad.

Thompson-Williams tied a single-game school record with three doubles and added a triple in the 14-4 win over Furman.

DTW

Junior outfielder Dom Thompson-Williams had reached base in 26 consecutive games to open the season before the streak snapped on March 31 at Vanderbilt.

Thompson-Williams stole second base and scored the winning run in the bottom of the eighth inning in the 4-3 win over Tennessee. He was also 2-for-3 with a team-leading eight double and a run scored in Saturday’s 7-4 win. He was 2-for-4 with a RBI double in the 4-2 win over Coastal Carolina.

Thompson-Williams is hitting .344 (43-for-125) with 28 RBI and 32 runs scored and a .447 on-base percentage. He ranks tied for ninth in the SEC with 32 runs scored and tied for 15th with 43 hits on the year.

JONAH WITH A JOLT

Sophomore infielder Jonah Bride tied a season-high with a pair of hits in Sunday’s 5-3 loss at Georgia. Bride is batting .261 (35-for-134) with 17 RBI and 30 runs scored. He also has 14 hit by pitches, second-highest in the SEC.

LT

Freshman infielder LT Tolbert hit a two-run homer and tied a career-high with three RBI in a 7-6 win over Tennessee. Tolbert drove in a team-high four runs over the weekend vs. the Volunteers.

Tolbert is hitting .232 (32-for-138) with 19 RBI, 20 runs scored and a .305 on-base percentage.

MR. JONES

Sophomore catcher John Jones is hitting .315 (46-for-146) with six homers, nine doubles and a team-high 37 RBI. He has at a .420 on-base percentage and .500 slugging mark. He is tied for eighth in the SEC in homers, tied for ninth in RBI and walks.

Jones was named SEC Player of the Week on March 21 after hitting .500 (7-for-14) in the Arkansas series with a pair of game-winning home runs as well as eight runs batted in. Jones opened the series going 3-for-5 with a pair of run scored and a RBI in the 10-6 win. He followed that up with a two-run homer to break a 2-2 tied in the 6-2 win over Arkansas on Saturday. Jones capped the weekend off going 3-for-5 with a double and a game-winning three-rum homer in the bottom of the eighth inning that lifted Carolina to an 8-6 victory vs. the Razorbacks. Jones’ five RBIs in Sunday’s contest was a career-high as well.

That was Jones’ second conference award of the year as he was also Co-Player of the Week on February 29 after the Penn State series. Jones earned National Player of the Week honors from Collegiate Baseball and SEC Co-Player of the Week after putting together arguably one of the greatest weekends at the plate in school history in the Penn State series. Jones reached base in all 14 plate appearances vs. Penn State batting 1.000 (8-for-8) with six walks for an OBP of 1.000 as well. Jones went 4-for-4 with a homer and four RBI in a 7-1 series-opening win vs. the Nittany Lions. He followed that up with a grand slam and tying a single-game school record with four walks in Saturday’s 16-5 victory vs. Penn State. In the series finale, Jones went 3-for-3 including a two-run single and a walk in the 4-2 win to sweep the series vs. Penn State. Jones’ slugging percentage for the weekend was 1.750 also.

In records going back to 1997, Jones is the only Gamecock in school history to start three games in a series and put up a 1.000 OBP, besting the previous mark of .875 set by Christian Walker in 2011 at Mississippi State as well as Walker’s .909 batting average (10-for-11). Jones’ six walks tied for the most by a Gamecock in a series since Scott Wingo’s six walks vs. Brown in 2010. Jones’ 10 RBI are the most by a Gamecock in a series since LB Dantzler drove in 10 vs. Albany vs. 2013. Jones’ 1.750 slugging percentage is the best in a series since Steven Neff’s 2.000 slugging mark vs. Arkansas in 2011.

MOONEY IN THE MIDDLE

Senior infielder Marcus Mooney went 3-for-3 with three RBI and three runs scored in the 14-4 win at Furman.

Mooney is hitting .314 (37-for-118) with 21 RBI and 24 runs scored. Mooney has a .403 on-base percentage and is fielding .951 with just seven errors at shortstop.

Mooney tied a career-high in hits in the middle of March going 4-for-5 in the 12-6 win over USC Upstate and 4-for-4 in a 10-6 win over Davidson.

JOHNSON BRINGS THE HEAT

Sophomore right-hander Tyler Johnson has shown an electric arm this year out of the bullpen. Johnson has struck out 27 batters in 24.0 innings in 15 relief appearances and owns a pair of saves. Opponents are hitting .233 against him.

GREAT SCOTT

Junior right-hander Reed Scott pitched 1.2 scoreless innings of relief in to earn his second win of the year in the 14-4 win at Furman.

Scott has a 3.49 ERA in 17 relief appearances and has allowed 11 runs on 30 hits in 28.1 innings pitched.

DC DELIVERS

Senior infielder DC Arendas was one of the Gamecocks’ top hitter in the Vanderbilt series batting .400 (4-for-10) with four runs scored, a homer and two RBI. He followed that up with a 2-for-3 day at the plate vs. Coastal Carolina.

Arendas is hitting .218 (22-for-101) with a .316 on-base percentage. Arendas has been stellar defensively as well fielding .992 for the season with just one error in 130 chances with 47 putouts and 82 assists. That error came at shortstop as well, not at his primary position of second base.

WIDENER

Junior right-hander Taylor Widener won his first game of the season in a 4-2 win over Coastal Carolina. Widener allowed two runs on two hits in five-plus innings with a walk and five strikeouts. He also tied a career-high with seven strikeouts in the 14-4 win at Furman. Widener has struck out 32 batters in 29.2 innings with opponents hitting .233 against him.

TJ

Freshman outfielder TJ Hopkins went 4-for-5 with three runs scored in the 14-4 win at Furman.

Hopkins is hitting .333 (22-for-66) with 15 runs scored and 16 RBI and a .418 on-base percentage in 25 games played with 18 starts. 12 of his 16 RBI have come with two outs.

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.

SUPERLATIVES

South Carolina has outscored its opponents this year 248-141 including 62-24 in the first two innings of play. The Gamecocks are 23-2 on the year when scoring first and 14-2 when scoring in the first inning. South Carolina is 22-1 when out-hitting its opponent and 16-2 when hitting at least one home run. The Gamecocks are 28-0 when leading after the sixth inning. South Carolina is 11-4 in games decided by three runs or less. Carolina has reached double-digits in hits in 16 games this year with a 16-0 record with 10 hits or more.

TO ARMS

The Gamecocks own a team ERA of 3.26 on the year. South Carolina has allowed 141 runs, 123 earned, on 286 hits with 128 walks to 365 strikeouts in 340.0 innings pitched. Opponents are batting .227 against the Gamecocks. South Carolina averages 9.7 strikeouts per nine innings, that is fifth-best in the nation.

AT THE PLATE & ON THE FIELD

South Carolina is hitting .294 (386-for-1313) as a team with a .385 on-base percentage and a .411 slugging percentage. The Gamecocks have hit 24 homers. Carolina is fielding .979 as a team with just 29 errors on the year.

SCOUTING MISSOURI

Missouri enters 20-18 on the year with a 4-11 mark in the SEC.

Senior right-hander Reggie McClain is the scheduled starter for the Tigers in Friday’s series opener. McClain defeated the Gamecocks twice last year, once in Missouri and once at the SEC Tournament. This season, McClain is 3-2 with a 3.92 ERA with 54 strikeouts to just five walks in 65.1 innings. He is followed by sophomore power right-hander Tanner Houck. Houck, who will play his second season this summer with USA Baseball’s Collegiate National Team, is considered one of the top pitching prospects for the 2017 MLB Draft. He is 4-3 on the year with a 3.22 ERA with 70 strikeouts in 64.1 innings.

Senior first baseman Zach Lavy is Missouri’s top hitter with a .338 batting average. He leads the SEC with 15 doubles and is third total bases with 87 on the year. He also has a team-high 34 RBI.

THE MISSOURI SERIES

South Carolina is 6-4 in the series history with Missouri. The Tigers won two of three games in Columbia, Mo. as well as a contest at the SEC Tournament. Carolina swept Missouri two years ago in the last series played in Columbia, S.C.

Categories: Local Sports, Sports, USC Gamecocks