South Carolina BASEBALL NOTEBOOK
COLUMBIA, S.C. (Univ. of South Carolina, SID) - South Carolina (42-14, 18-12 SEC) will open the SEC Tournament on Wednesday, May 21 vs. the winner of Tuesday night's No. 5 Mississippi State-No. 12 Georgia game. The Gamecocks are seeded fourth for the second consecutive year at the SEC Tournament. Wednesday's game is the final game of the evening and will start 30 minutes following the conclusion of the third game of the day that starts at 5:30 p.m. ET. The game can be heard on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station 107.5 FM, "The Game." It will also be televised on CSS and streamed online on ESPN3.
SOUTH CAROLINA IN THE SEC: With a second place finish in the Eastern Division, South Carolina has finished in the top three places of the SEC Eastern Division 18 of 23 seasons since joining the league.
FORTY: For the 15th consecutive season, South Carolina has won 40 or more games. South Carolina was the first SEC team to reach the 40-win mark this year. It is the longest current streak among the 14 SEC schools. South Carolina's 42 victories is the most overall victories by a SEC team heading into the tournament as well.
A LOOK BACK: South Carolina won two of three games in the final series of the year at Vanderbilt. The Gamecocks finish up the year 18-12 in league play and second in the SEC Eastern Division.
PANKAKE AT THE PLATE: Junior infielder Joey Pankake has been hot at the plate as of late. He hit .417 (5-for-12) in the Vanderbilt series including a game-winning homer in the 10th inning of Thursday's 4-3 win and two hits and two RBI in Saturday's 6-3 victory. Pankake is up to 199 career hits and is one shy of becoming the 26th player in school history to tally 200 or more hits. Pankake also played well in the Missouri series batting .500 (6-for-12) vs. the Tigers.. Pankake had two hits in Sunday's 2-1 win including a game-winning RBI single in the bottom of the ninth.
Pankake is now batting .312 (62-for-199) for the year with a team-high 48 runs scored and a .402 on-base percentage with 27 walks to 19 strikeouts. Pankake hit .303 (36-for-119) in league games, second-best on the team with 18 RBI and 19 runs scored.
GREINER SHINES: 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 is a semifinalist for the Johnny Bench Award for the top catcher in college baseball and is on USA Baseball's Midseason Watch List for the Golden Spikes Award.
Greiner is hitting .333 (64-for-192) with 38 runs scored, a team-high 12 doubles and eight homers as well as 50 RBI, third highest in the SEC. He also has a team-best .406 on-base percentage and a .521 slugging mark. Greiner hit a team-best .327 (37-for-113) in league games with four homers and 24 RBI vs. SEC teams.
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 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.
SOME SUPERLATIVES: The Gamecocks are 29-1 when leading entering the seventh inning as well as 34-1 when leading entering the ninth inning. The Gamecocks are 36-4 when outhitting the opponent as well. South Carolina is 9-4 in one-run games and 40-8 when allowing five runs or less. The Gamecocks are 21-1 when scoring six runs or more as well. South Carolina is 20-11 in games decided by three runs or less. The Gamecocks have allowed three runs or less in 41 of 56 games this year with a 38-3 record in those contests.
SEDDON SEALS IT: Junior right-hander Joel Seddon earned a win with two scoreless innings in Thursday's 4-3 win and followed that up with two more scoreless innings with four strikeouts in Saturday's 6-3 victory over the Commodores. Seddon leads the league with 14 saves with nine of the 14 vs. SEC opponents. He is 2-1 with a 0.48 ERA. He has limited opponents to just three runs, two earned, on 20 hits in 37.1 innings with 46 strikeouts to nine walks. Opponents are batting .157 against him. He is 14-for-15 in save opportunities. Seddon sits alone at seventh place on the USC Single-Season Top 10 save list. He has been named to the NCBWA Midseason Stopper of the Year Watch List.
SOUTH CAROLINA BULLPEN: South Carolina's bullpen is 19-1 with a 1.06 ERA in 203.1 innings pitched this year. The bullpen has 206 strikeouts to 67 walks, opponents batting .189 against the relievers. The relief staff has limited opponents to 29 runs, 24 earned, on 135 hits. The numbers are very similar for SEC games with a 8-1 record along with nine saves and 1.01 ERA in 97.2 conference innings pitched. The relievers have given up 15 runs, 11 earned, on 70 hits with 92 strikeouts to 31 walks. Conference opponents are hitting .205 against the Gamecock relievers.
MINCEY WITH AN APPEARANCE: Junior right-hander Cody Mincey had another scoreless outing in the 4-3 victory vs. Vanderbilt. Mincey is 5-0 on the year with a 0.52 ERA. He leads the Gamecocks with 27 appearances. Mincey has 43 strikeouts in 37.1 innings. He is tied for fourth in the SEC in appearances.
DC DELIVERS: Sophomore infielder DC Arendas had a key two-out two-run single in the 6-3 win over Vanderbilt on Saturday. He was also 5-for-10 in the Missouri series. Arendas tied his season-high with three hits in the 3-1 victory vs. Missouri. Arendas has climbed to .273 (44-for-161) with a .371 on-base percentage.
MONTGOMERY GETS IT STARTED: Junior left-hander Jordan Montgomery was in command on Thursday night to earn a no-decision in the 4-3 victory over Vanderbilt Montgomery allowed just three runs on eight hits in seven innings with a walk and eight strikeouts. Montgomery is 7-4 with a 3.26 ERA in 88.1 innings. He has struck out a team-high 85 batters and opponents are batting .243 against him. Montgomery ranks sixth in the SEC in strikeouts.
JACK OF ALL TRADES: Sophomore left-hander Jack Wynkoop allowed one run on five hits in 5.2 innings with a walk and two strikeouts to pick up a win in the 3-1 victory vs. Missouri. Wynkoop is 7-4 with a 2.80 ERA in 83.2 innings. He has 57 strikeouts to 10 walks.
CARDIAC GAMECOCKS: The Gamecocks have won seven games this season when trailing entering the seventh inning including five wins when trailing entering the ninth inning. South Carolina is outscoring opponents 97-24 from the seventh inning through extra innings on the year. From the sixth inning to the end, South Carolina is also outscoring opponents 153-40.
AT THE PLATE, ON THE MOUND AND IN THE FIELD: South Carolina is hitting .283 (541-for-1909) as a team with a .363 on-base percentage and a .377 slugging percentage. The .283 average is fourth-best in the league.
The Gamecocks own a SEC-best 2.15 ERA in 506.0 innings with 436 strikeouts to 140 walks, opponents batting .223 against the squad. South Carolina is fielding .976 on the year, second-best in the SEC. South Carolina also owns a 2.80 ERA in SEC games, best in the league as well.
CROWE MAKES AN IMPACT: South Carolina freshman right-hander Wil Crowe worked seven-plus innings and allowed three runs on four hits in the rubber game of a three-game series vs. nationally-ranked Vanderbilt in Nashville. Crowe did not allow a batter to even reach in six of the innings he worked on his way to his seventh victory of the season. Crowe did not walk a batter and tied his career-high with nine strikeouts, the most he had in a game vs. an SEC opponent this year. The win helped solidify the Gamecocks as a top four seed at the SEC Tournament.
Crowe is 7-3 with a 3.05 ERA on the year in 82.2 innings. He has 55 strikeouts to 19 walks, opponents batting .239 against him. He 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.
CLUTCH CONE: Freshman outfielder Gene Cone had a bases-clearing double in Friday night's 8-2 win over Missouri. Cone has 18 RBI in 24 starts and a .355 on-base percentage with 19 hits and 20 walks on the year.
Cone had two of the biggest hits in the weekend series vs. Alabama. Cone reached base in all four plate appearances in a 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.
MAX IT OUT: Sophomore infielder Max Schrock has battled injuries the entire year with an ankle injury, illness and now a back injury. Despite his back, Schrock played on Thursday at Vanderbilt and went 2-for-5 with a key game-tying single in the top of the 9th of South Carolina's 4-3 come-from-behind win. He would sit out games two and three in Nashville.
Schrock returned vs. Wofford and also played in the Missouri series. He added three hits and a RBI in the 8-2 win over Missouri, tallied a RBI in the 3-1 win vs. the Tigers and scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth inning in the 2-1 series finale after leading off with a triple. Schrock owns a .275 average (30-for-109) with a .459 slugging percentage.
Schrock had a flair for the dramatic in the Ole Miss series. Despite a sprained ankle, Schrock came on in a pinch-hit role and without taking batting practice before the game, launched a two-out two-run homer to right field in the bottom of the 9th to help the Gamecocks rally to a 5-4 10-inning win over the Rebels. The previous day, Schrock tied a career-high with four hits including a homer as well as two RBI and two runs scored in the 6-4 loss.
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 .278 (54-for-194) for the year with a team-high 17 stolen bases.
Patrick Harrington on third base
HARRINGTON HIGHLIGHT: Junior outfielder Patrick Harrington has a hit in six of the last nine games and has a knack for finding his way on base. Harrington owns a .328 on-base percentage in 22 games played with 15 starts. He tallied a RBI single in the 2-1 win vs. Missouri and went 2-for-3 with a run scored in the 3-1 win the day before. Harrington set a career-high in the 15-1 win vs. Wofford with three RBI as well.
K-MART: Junior first baseman Kyle Martin has tallied four hits in a game four times this year including last Friday at Vanderbilt. Martin also had two hits and a RBI single in the 6-3 win on Saturday. He owns a .335 average (74-for-221) with 33 runs scored, nine doubles, four homers and 32 RBI. Martin leads the Gamecocks with 22 multi-hit games.
A JOLT FROM JORDAN GORE: Freshman infielder Jordan Gore reached base in all five plate appearances in Saturday's 6-3 win at Vanderbilt going 2-for-2 with two walks and reaching on an error on a sac bunt. 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. Gore has a .313 on-base percentage on the year.
MOONEY IN THE MIDDLE: Sophomore shortstop Marcus Mooney is a spark plug at the plate and in the field. He is up to a .275 average (53-for-193) at the plate. He has scored 30 runs and driven in 20 runs as well. Mooney has 12 of his 20 RBI with two outs this year.
WIDENER SHOWS VERSATILITY: Freshman Taylor Widener has been solid both on the mound and at the plate this year for the Gamecocks. Widener is 3-0 on the mound with a 1.42 ERA in 19 appearances. He has 32 strikeouts in 31.2 innings; opponents are batting .170 against him.
GREAT SCOTT: Freshman right-hander Reed Scott has been effective in a middle relief role for the Gamecocks as well as a spot starter. He struck out a career-high seven batters in a career-high seven innings in 10-1 win over The Citadel. 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. He is 2-0 with a 0.68 ERA on the year. He has allowed just earned runs on 27 hits in 39.2 innings, opponents hitting .196 against him.
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.
VINNY: Junior left-hander Vince Fiori has not allowed a run in 15 relief appearances. Fiori has a 0.00 ERA in 18.1 innings pitched with 18 strikeouts to nine walks. Opponents own a .182 average against him.
REAGAN SUPPLIES RELIEF: Freshman left-hander Josh Reagan pitched 2.2 scoreless innings of relief in Sunday's 5-3 loss to Georgia. Reagan has been very effective this year with a 3-0 record and a 0.36 ERA in 25.0 innings with 24 hits allowed. He has 21 strikeouts to four walks as well.
STARTERS: Two Gamecock players have started all 56 games this year, junior first baseman Kyle Martin and junior center fielder Tanner English.