Gamecocks Take On Tennessee Beginning Today

Ray Tanner's Yardcocks welcome the Tennessee Volunteers onto Sarge Frye Field this weekend for a key SEC showdown series. The Gamecocks almost must sweep in order to stay in the hunt for another SEC Eastern Division Crown. Tennessee comes in ranked, but on a six game losing streak. USC fans need to get to the ballpark - The Day is set to honor four Gamecock Seniors ...

Columbia, S.C. - Seventh ranked South Carolina (36-13, 13-11 SEC) hosts its final home SEC series of the season this weekend as the Gamecocks face 25th ranked Tennessee (34-16, 12-12 SEC) at Sarge Frye Field. Carolina heads into the weekend series having won 11 of the last 14 games played including the last three SEC series vs. Alabama, Ole Miss and Auburn. First pitch for Friday's opener is set for 7 p.m.

South Carolina leads the overall series with the Volunteers 28-24 and have won the last four series played between the two schools in Columbia, S.C. South Carolina is currently in third place in the SEC Eastern Division, one game ahead of Tennessee with six games remaining in conference play. South Carolina is 26-6 in home games this season including 7-5 vs. SEC opponents. The Volunteers are 9-8 on the road and 6-6 in SEC road games this year.

Live GAMETRACKER stats and live audio will be available at GamecockNation.COM for all three games. The game will also be broadcast on all Gamecock Baseball Radio affiliates with Mike Morgan and Tommy Moody calling the action.

Saturday the Gamecocks will honor four seniors on Senior Day with first pitch set for 4 p.m. Nick Gardiner, Hank Parks, Landon Powell and Bryan Triplett will play their final home SEC series this weekend at Sarge Frye Field. Sunday's final game will be at 1:30 p.m.

WEEKEND PITCHING ROTATION

Friday
Tennessee: RHP Luke Hochevar (3-1, 3.55 ERA), So.
South Carolina: LHP Matt Campbell (7-3, 3.42 ERA), Jr.

Saturday
Tennessee: RHP Craig Cobb (3-1, 2.44 ERA), Fr.
South Carolina: RHP Aaron Rawl (9-3, 4.96 ERA), Jr.

Sunday
Tennessee: RHP Sean Watson (4-4, 3.37 ERA), Fr.
South Carolina: LHP Arik Hempy (3-1, 3.19 ERA), Fr.

THE TENNESSEE SERIES
The South Carolina-Tennessee basball series rivalry began in 1912 and the Gamecocks and Volunteers met 14 times over the years before South Carolina joined the Southeastern Conference in 1992. The series has continued annually since with South Carolina holding a 28-24 lead in the series.

GRAND SLAM
The 10th inning bases loaded home run by Steve Pearce against The Citadel Wednesday night was the second grand slam of the season for the Gamecock first baseman and the third by a South Carolina player. Pearce homered with the bases loaded against Charleston Southern February 14 and Lanond Powell hit a grand slam in a win over Alabama on April 24. The second Pearce grand slam followed a bases loaded walk that broke a 1-1 tie in the 10th inning and resulted in a 6-1 Gamecock win.

DONALD
Junior right-hander Cliff Donald worked six strong innings Wednesday night in his second start of the season but settled for a no decision. Donald allowed four hits, one earned run, walked one and struck out five against The Citadel. In his previous start also against The Citadel, Donald earned his first career win. He has pitched 33 1/3 innings in 18 appearances this year and his 1.89 earned run average is best on the pitching staff. Donald has one save.

HOMERS
Brendan Winn hit three home runs last weekend in the series at Auburn and one Tuesday (May 11) against North Carolina to move out front in the four man race for the 2004 South Carolina home run title. Winn had a solo homer in the 9-4 win over North Carolina, a two run homer in a 3-1 win over Auburn and homered twice and drove in four runs in a 12-11 Sunday win over Auburn. The four homers in three games increased his season total to 17. Landon Powell and Steve Pearce have 14 and Michael Campbell has homered 13 times.

TANNER
Ray Tanner is in his eighth season at South Carolina and his 17th as a collegiate head baseball coach. His record with the Gamecocks is 355-148, a winning percentage of .706. Tanner's overall record is 750-321-3 a winning percentage of .700. Tanner won his 350th game at South Carolina April 30 in the first game of a series with Ole Miss. The second game of the series at Auburn, May 8, a 3-1 victory, was the 500th South Carolina game coached by Tanner.

EXTRA INNINGS
Sophomore shortstop Steven Tolleson has contributed the winning run batted in twice in extra inning games this season. After more than a month on the disabled list with leg injuries, Tolleson returned to the lineup during the week of April 21-25. His 10th inning RBI single April 25, produced a 1-0 win over Alabama. On March 7 at Clemson Tolleson led off the 10th inning with a home run to defeat the Tigers 8-7. South Carolina is 5-1 in extra inning games this season. A 10th inning home run by Landon Powell defeated Florida April 9 and two days later Brendan Winn drove in the winning run with a 10th inning single to defeat the Gators 7-6. A bases loaded walk followed by a grand slam from Steve Pearce produced a 10-inning 6-1 win over The Citadel.

WHAT'S NEXT
The final home game is scheduled for Wednesday night at Wofford. Game time at Sarge Frye Field is 7 p.m. The regular season ends next weekend, May 21-23, with a three-game SEC series at Georgia. The SEC Tournament begins on May 26 at Hoover, Ala.

LANDON POWELL

USC senior catcher Landon Powell has been named by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association as a semifinalist for the Dick Howser Award. The NCBWA, working in Association with the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce, has released the list of 30 semifinalists for the Dick Howser Trophy, given to the top player in collegiate baseball.

Powell leads USC with a .364 batting average on the year including 14 home runs and 55 RBI. Powell has started and played all 49 games this year and owns a .998 fielding percentage with just one error behind the plate. The senior from New Hill, N.C. has also been named to the Johnny Bench Award Watch List (top collegiate catcher) as well as the Golden Spikes Award Watch List (top amateur baseball player - USA Baseball).

The membership of the NCBWA will choose the Dick Howser Trophy based on three rounds of voting. The 2004 winner will announced at the College World Series in Omaha on Friday, June 18 at 9:30 a.m. CDT.

The Dick Howser Trophy, given in memory of the former Florida State University All-America shortstop and major league player and manager who died of brain cancer in 1987, is regarded by many as college baseball's most prestigious award.

Criteria for consideration for the trophy include performance on the field, leadership, moral character and courage, qualities that were exemplified by Dick Howser's life.

The winner's name is inscribed on the permanent trophy, a bronze bust of Howser permanently displayed at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, home of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays and the 1999 NCAA Men's Basketball Final Four. Both the winner and his school receive a special trophy to keep.

The St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce is in its 105th year of existence in 2004. The organization has long been a vital force in the baseball affairs of the city, both in spring training and during the pursuit of a major league baseball franchise for the Tampa Bay area, and continues its solid role in the 21st Century.

NCBWA membership includes writers, broadcasters and publicists. Designed to promote and publicize college baseball, it is the sport's only college media-related organization, founded in 1962.

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