Gamecocks Ranked #1 Nationally

The South Carolina baseball program is ranked as the #1 team in America this week by Baseball America, the most prestigious of the College Top 25 polls. The Gamecocks were ranked #2 in last week's poll, and ascended to the top spot after their weekend series win on the road over SEC foe Mississippi State. This weekend they take on last week's #1 team, the Vanderbilt Commodores.

In the other two major polls, South Carolina rose one spot to #4 in the Collegiate Baseball poll, and remained at #3 in the USA TODAY/ESPN Top 25 baseball coaches' poll.

The Gamecocks are now 21-4 on the season and are tied for first place in the SEC with a 4-2 conference record.

USC concludes a five-game road trip on Tuesday with a non-conference game vs. Elon (14-12) with first pitch set for 7 pm at Latham Park. Elon will start J.D. Reichenbach, a freshman left-hander who is 3-2 so far this season with a 5.96 ERA.

USC Junior Left-handed pitcher Arik Hempy is scheduled to start vs. the Phoenix. Hempy, Carolina's ace from 2006 is still on limited pitch counts as he works his way back into the rotation after Tommy John reconstructive surgery ended his season early last year.

Last week Hempy pitched for three scoreless innings of work at Wofford, where he picked up his first win in a predetermined split. Hempy is 1-0 on the season with a 1.59 ERA, having pitched a total of 5.2 innings.

South Carolina won four of five games this week with wins of 9-2 vs. UNC Asheville and 13-1 at Wofford in the midweek and victories in two of three games at Mississippi State … Carolina defeated the Bulldogs 20-3 on Friday night, fell 6-5 in 12 innings on Saturday and won the rubber game 8-3 on Sunday afternoon … South Carolina has now won four straight series vs. the Bulldogs dating back to the 2002 season (2002, 2003, 2006, 2007 – the two teams did not play any series in 2004 and 2005).

The Gamecock offense had a productive weekend in Starkville batting .388 (52-for-134) as a team and outscoring the Bulldogs 33-12 and out-hitting the SEC-leading Bulldogs 52-32 as well … The 25 hits tallied by the Gamecocks in Friday's 17-run win over MSU was the largest single-game total of the season for Carolina and the fifth largest ever by a Ray Tanner coached team at South Carolina … The last time Carolina tallied as many as 25 hits was a record-setting performance in 2004 at Charleston Southern. Friday' hit total featured four doubles, a triple and three home runs.

The top hitter of Friday's game was Reese Havens, who tallied a career high five hits (5-for-6) including three doubles. Those three doubles marks the second time this season a Carolina player has accomplished the feat, it ties a single-game school record for the Gamecocks. Havens improved his batting average over .60 points this week and is now batting .265 with 20 RBI.

The Gamecocks are now batting .316 as a team with 41 home runs in 25 games … South Carolina tallied five home runs in the weekend series (James Darnell, Phil Disher (2), Trent Kline, Justin Smoak).

Junior catcher Trent Kline continues to lead the team in hitting with a .374 average (34-for-91) with four HR and 24 RBI.

Sophomore infielder James Darnell has three multi-hit games this weekend vs. MSU and is now batting .351 on the year (27-for-77) and has seven HR and 25 RBI on the year along with 20 runs scored … Darnell tallied three hits in both Friday and Saturday's games vs. Mississippi State.

Sophomore first baseman Justin Smoak hit his team-leading eighth HR in Sunday's win and tied a career-high with four hits in the 8-3 victory. He also had four RBI. Smoak is batting .347 this season and also leads the team with 34 RBI.

Junior Phil Disher hit a pair of home runs in the Mississippi State series and is batting .326 with six HR and 23 RBI on the year.

Junior RHP Harris Honeycutt improved to 6-0 picking up the victory in Friday night's 20-3 win over MSU. Honeycutt has 43 strikeouts in 38 innings pitched and a 1.42 ERA with just 22 hits allowed.

Friday's win also showcased an impressive relief performance from sophomore LHP Alex Farotto, who struck out all seven batters he faced to close out the game, a career-high. Senior RHP Jeff Jeffords had a big decision in Sunday's game in middle relief and delivered in 3.2 innings of work allowing just one run in the 8-3 win. His six strikeouts in the game also tied a career-high. Jeffords is now 2-0 with a 2.31 ERA in seven appearances with 19 strikeouts in 11.2 innings of work. Junior RHP Wynn Pelzer closed out Sunday's game in the last 2.1 innings and was stellar allowing just two hits and no runs while striking out four … Pelzer is 1-1 with a 1.69 ERA in 16 innings and has 26 strikeouts to just two walks.

The Gamecock pitching staff owns a 2.44 ERA in 228.2 innings with 254 strikeouts to just 73 walks allowed.

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