South Carolina Moving On Up

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina is known as "The Palmetto State" and, appropriately, palmetto trees line the outfield wall at Sarge Frye Field, where Arkansas beat South Carolina 9-1 on Friday.

But the beach-like, hitter-friendly atmosphere won't be around the Southeastern Conference much longer as plans are in the works for a new ballpark to be opened for the 2007 season. It will be a more self-contained facility that will feature a weight room and indoor batting cages, among other amenities.

"Sarge Frye is a very special place," said South Carolina coach Ray Tanner. "But to be able to go into a new ballpark like Arkansas did at Baum Stadium, I think it brings a lot to the program.

"You have to have good coaches and you have to have good players, but you also have to have the resources."

The new facility will be located behind the Colonial Center, where the Gamecocks play basketball, and South Carolina coach Ray Tanner consulted with Arkansas coach Dave Van Horn about Fayetteville's Baum Stadium while drawing up plans for the new field.

"We're proud of our place, so we're happy to talk about it and show it off a little bit," Van Horn said. "(South Carolina) sent a private plane out with a bunch of their faculty and staff and I believe their architect to (Fayetteville) in the fall and I spent three hours with them touring everything.

"And they're going to use a lot of the same dimensions as our field."

Hitters have enjoyed the short porch at Sarge Frye Field since it opened in 1977. It's 325 feet down the lines, 365 feet in the power alleys and 390 feet to center field. By comparison, Arkansas' Baum Stadium is 330 down the lines, 370 in the alleys and 400 to straight away center.

"Hopefully, we'll have one of the nicest facilities in the country when it opens in 2007," Tanner said. "It's probably going to sit somewhere in the neighborhood of 6,000 permanent seats with the ability to expand, hopefully to up around 10,000 seats."

Arkansas senior Casey Rowlett extended his SEC-best hitting streak to 17 games with a double off the leftfield wall in the first inning.

Several other Razorbacks are riding hitting streaks of their own including Scott Hode (8 games), Scott Hode (7), Clint Arnold (7) and Blake Parker (6).

On the flip side, Brian Walker was streaking the other way. He had struck out five consecutive times and six times in his last seven at-bats dating back to Saturday's 12-1 win against Eastern Illinois.

Walker finally took out his frustration by slugging a solo homer, his second to center field in the eighth.

Caught Stealin'
Besides the homer, Walker also made up for his strikeouts with his play at catcher. He threw out USC's Steven Tolleson attempting to steal second base in the fourth inning. It was the first time Tolleson had been caught stealing in 10 attempts.

Walker has thrown out 7 of 12 runners (58.3 percent) attempting to steal this season.

Like Father, Like ... ?
Arkansas junior infielder John Marquardt's father, John, was an All-American third baseman for South Carolina in 1978.

The younger Marquardt entered as a defensive substitute in the fifth. He popped out to left field in his only at-bat.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories