COLUMBIA - South Carolina (27-10) returns home on Tuesday, April 16 hosting College of Charleston (20-15). First pitch is set for 7 p.m. with the game televised live on SportSouth and available on the Gamecock Radio Network from IMG College including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.” It can also be heard at GamecocksOnline.com on the All Access Channel.
Probable pitching rotation
South Carolina - Forrest Koumas (Jr. RHP) 0-0, 6.39 ERA, 12.2 IP, 10 BB, 12 SO CofC - Player Loving (Fr. LHP) 1-1, 4.85 ERA, 13.0 IP, 9 BB, 16 SO
Did you know??
College of Charleston head coach Monte Lee served as assistant coach on former Gamecock head coach Ray Tanner’s staff at South Carolina from 2003-08.
A look back
South Carolina won one of our games last week with a 6-5 win at The Citadel. The Gamecocks were swept on the road at Florida. The Gamecocks are 27-10 on the year with an 8-7 record in the SEC. At the midway point in league play, South Carolina is tied for second in the SEC East and tied for fourth place overall in the conference.
On the mound
The Gamecock pitching staff currently owns a 3.16 ERA in 328.0 innings pitched. Carolina has allowed 140 runs, 115 earned, on 303 hits with 95 walks to 305 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting .243 against the squad.
At the plate & on the field
South Carolina is hitting .284 (347-for-1223) as a team. The Gamecocks lead the SEC with 32 homers. Carolina is fielding .974 with 36 errors for the season. South Carolina’s slugging percentage of .420 is third best in the SEC with on-base percentage of .384 fourth best in the conference also.
Last time vs. CofC
Colby Holmes worked 7.1 innings and allowed just one run on four hits with a season-high eight strikeouts and South Carolina scored twice in the first inning on the way to a 3-1 win over College of Charleston on March 26 at Patriots Point.
College of Charleston starting pitcher Nathan Helvey lasted only 2.2 innings and suffered the loss. He is now 2-2 for the season. He allowed two runs on six hits with no walks or strikeouts.
Carolina wasted no time getting on the scoreboard with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning. With one out and Chase Vergason on first base, the Gamecocks executed the hit and run as Joey Pankake knocked a base hit through the right side putting runners on the corners. The Gamecocks then kept attacking as LB Dantzler jumped on the first pitch from Helvey for a double to right field scoring Vergason, South Carolina would go ahead 2-0 on a Grayson Greiner RBI groundout to the third baseman.
College of Charleston cut Carolina’s lead to one run in the bottom of the third inning. Morgan Phillips drew a leadoff walk. With two outs and Phillips on second base, Tyler Jackson laced a first pitch from Holmes to the gap in right-center for a double and the Cougars’ first run of the game.
The Gamecocks manufactured a run in the top of the sixth inning to go ahead 3-1. College of Charleston reliever Drew Freie entered and struggled with his control early as he hit both Max Schrock and Connor Bright to open the frame. The two hit by pitches were the first two of the season for Freie. After a sac bunt by Erik Payne moved up both runners, Dante Rosenberg drove in Schrock with a sac fly to right field.
South Carolina had eight hits with College of Charleston tallying four for the contest. Pankake went 2-for-4 with a run scored. He has reached base safely in 17 consecutive games. Dantzler added two hits, both doubles and a RBI.
Belcher brings it
Senior left-hander Nolan Belcher had a quality start despite the loss in Thursday’s 3-2 defeat to Florida. Belcher hurled his second complete game of the season and allowed three runs, one earned, on seven hits in eight innings with a walk and two strikeouts.
Belcher for the season is 5-3 with a 1.63 ERA in 66.1 innings with five walks to 55 strikeouts. Opponents are hitting just .218 against him. He is tied for the league lead in innings pitched, is fourth in earned run average as well as seventh in strikeouts and tied for ninth in victories.
Belcher pitched the first complete game shutout of his career in the 8-0 victory vs. Clemson. Belcher allowed just three hits and no walks while striking out seven batters in the win. Only one base runner reached third base the entire game for the Tigers. It is the first complete game shutout by a Gamecock pitcher since Sam Dyson on May 15, 2010 in a 5-0 win at Arkansas. Belcher’s complete game shutout was also the first by a Gamecock pitcher in the Clemson series since May 4, 1986 when Rodney Richey hurled a four-hit complete game shutout in a 5-0 victory vs. the Tigers at Sarge Frye Field.
A bright spot
Sophomore outfielder Connor Bright is the team’s leading hitter with a .324 average (34-for-105) with four doubles, a triple, three homers and 10 RBI. Bright went 5-for-12 in the Florida series including three hits and a homer in the 4-3 loss on Friday. Bright has a .310 average (18-for-58) in league play as well.
Westmoreland effective in relief
Senior left-hander Adam Westmoreland continues to be one of the team’s top performers out of the bullpen. Although he took the loss in the 4-3 loss to the Gators, Westmoreland was effective in five innings with three runs allowed on four hits with a walk and two strikeouts.
For the season, he is 4-1 with a 1.82 ERA in 13 relief appearances with two saves. He has 38 strikeouts to five walks in 39.2 innings. Opponents are hitting .199 against him. Westmoreland ranks fourth in the league in opposing batting average and sixth in earned run average.
Westmoreland factored in the first two victories at Tennessee. His performance in game two was key as he was tremendous in relief allowing just one run on five hits in a season-high six innings to earn the win.
Schrock making strides
Freshman second baseman Max Schrock went 2-for-5 with a homer and three RBI in the 14-5 loss at Florida. Schrock is hitting .264 (34-for-129) with six doubles, two triples and three homers as well as 28 RBI. Schrock leads the Gamecocks with 11 multi-hit games. He also has eight stolen bases, second highest on the team.
Schrock was named SEC Freshman of the Week for his play the week of April 2-7. He hit .500 (11-for-22) with seven runs scored and eight RBI in five games. His game-winning RBI double in the top of the ninth inning lifted the Gamecocks to a 5-4 win over Tennessee. He followed that up with a double, a homer and two RBI in the 12-8 win over the Volunteers. In the series finale, he had a career-high four hits with a career-high four RBI as well as two runs scored in the 19-2 win over Tennessee. The four hits matched an individual high for a Gamecock player in a game this year. He was 7-for-12 (.583) in the Tennessee series with five runs scored and seven RBI against the Volunteers.
Welcome back Jordan
Sophomore left-hander Jordan Montgomery made his second start back since his stress reaction in his left arm last Friday at Florida. Montgomery went three innings and allowed one run, unearned, on four hits with a walk and two strikeouts. For the season, Montgomery is 3-0 with a 0.69 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 26.0 innings pitched.
Pankake with walk-off
Sophomore shortstop Joey Pankake hit a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth inning in Carolina’s 6-5 win over The Citadel. Pankake is hitting .278 (37-for-133) for the year with 23 runs scored, five doubles, six homers and 25 RBI.
Junior designated hitter Brison Celek continues to find his way on base. Celek had three hits and four walks with a .500 on-base percentage at Florida. He also had a pinch-hit RBI single in the 6-5 win vs. The Citadel.
In 15 games with 10 starts, Celek has a .343 average (12-for-35) with eight runs scored and nine RBI. His on-base percentage for the season is .511.
Holmes with the answer
Senior right-hander Colby Holmes became the 21st pitcher in school history to record 20 or more wins with his victory at Tennessee on April 7, 2013.
He earned two wins this past week. In a predetermined split on Tuesday in the 9-5 win over Charleston Southern, he pitched 3.1 innings, allowing two runs on four hits with no walks and struck out two batters. He followed that up with five innings of relief allowing just two runs, one earned, on two hits with no walks and three strikeouts in the 19-2 win over Tennessee.
On base with Chase
Senior third baseman Chase Vergason had two hits in both game one and game three in the Florida series. Vergason is hitting .290 (36-for-124) with 25 runs scored as well as 18 RBI. His on-base percentage is .403 as he has walked 17 times and leads the with nine hit by pitches.
Vergason hit .400 (6-for-15) in the Tennessee series with four runs scored, a triple and a home run as well as four RBI. He went 2-for-5 with his first career triple, two runs and two RBI in the 19-2 win as well as 3-for-6 with a homer, a RBI and two runs in the 12-8 victory.
Dantzler at the bat
Senior first baseman LB Dantzler is among the league leaders in several categories. Dantzler has a .318 batting average (42-for-132) with 28 runs scored, eight doubles, a triple, 10 homers and 36 RBI. Dantzler is third in the league in home runs (10), fourth in slugging percentage (.621), fifth in walks (26), tied for seventh in runs batted in (36) and 11th in on-base percentage (.436).
Dantzler was named SEC Player of the Week after the Albany series when he went 9-for-13 (.692) at the plate with two doubles, two homers, six runs scored and 10 RBI. He had 17 total bases for the weekend with a .733 on-base percentage as well as a 1.308 slugging percentage. In an 8-3 win, Dantzler tallied a career-high four hits and career-high five RBI with a home run. He followed that up with a 2-for-4 game with three runs and four RBI in the 14-1 win and closed out the weekend 3-for-4 with a run scored and two RBI in the 6-4 victory.
Dantzler is the University of South Carolina’s male nominee for the 2012-13 SEC H. Boyd McWhorter Male Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
A bit of English
Sophomore outfielder Tanner English scored three runs and drove in four as well in the Tennessee series.
English is the team’s fourth best hitter with a .293 average (24-for-82) with 16 runs scored and 10 RBI. He has a .438 on-base percentage.
South Carolina is 23-1 this season when leading after six innings and 19-3 on the year when out-hitting the opponent. Carolina has allowed five runs or less in 31 of 37 games played this season. The Gamecocks are 25-6 when allowing five runs or less. South Carolina is 14-7 in games decided by three runs or less.