Monthly Archives: April 2012

Gamecocks sweep Mississippi State; Travel to Auburn next

Man, did the Gamecocks need that sweep of Mississippi State this weekend.  It finally put the Gamecocks over .500 in the SEC, and put them back in position to contend for both a hosting gig and a national seed in the post-season.

The series wasn’t necessarily pretty , but somehow, this week, the Gamecocks managed to find a way to win.  #winanyway, as it were.  (Side note: are we still using that hashtag this season?  If not, do we have a new one?)

Friday night, Michael Roth just wasn’t on.  He wasn’t off…he just wasn’t as effective as he normally is.  Not a big deal.  Even our ace pitcher is allowed to have an off day.  By the 7th inning, the Gamecocks were trailing by 3 after giving up a 3 run lead.  Thankfully, in the 8th inning, the Gamecocks bats came alive, as Grayson Griener led off the inning with a home run and pinch hitter Sean Sullivan slammed a two-out triple to tie the game.  Thanks to a Mississippi State wild pitch, Sullivan went on to score what became the winning run.  Matt Price came in and earned the save. Truly a win in the spirit of Friday the 13th.

Freshman (and apparent new Saturday starter) Jordan Montgomery threw 6.1 innings on Saturday afternoon, giving up only 1 run.  Matt Price (again) earned the save.  The Gamecocks put 5 on the board on a string of 2 out hits through the first 6 innings.   Things were a little touch-and-go for the Gamecocks as they gave up 3 runs in the 7th, but they managed to hang on and win 5-3, cementing the series victory.

On an utterly gorgeous, albeit hot, Sunday afternoon, Colby Holmes took the mound to try to lead the Gamecocks to their first SEC sweep of the season.  Holmes pitched 8.1 innings, gave up 4 runs, and only 8 hits.  Tyler Webb earned the save.  The  pitching staff was well supported by their offense, as the Gamecocks tallied 11 hits and 6 runs.  They were helped along by a pair of Mississippi State errors, but a win is a win, right?  Right.  The Gamecocks won 6-4 to complete the sweep of the Bulldogs.

Some things of note:
Grayson Greiner.  The freshman catcher hit two doubles and a solo home run in the series against Mississippi State plus a grand slam in Tuesday night’s game against the Citadel.  That was good enough to earn him SEC Freshman of the Week honors this week.  Well played Mr. Greiner.  Congratulations!

Jordan Montgomery.  It appears that the freshman lefty has cemented his spot in the weekend rotation.  Montgomery allowed one run on three hits last weekend against Tennessee, which was good enough to earn SEC Freshman of the Week honors.  He then came out and pitched another stellar 6+ innings against Mississippi State.  Montgomery now boasts a 2.48 ERA with 31 strikeouts, 4 walks, and a 3-0 record.  For reasons beyond my control, I’ve missed the past two Saturday games, so I have yet to see Montgomery pitch live, but everything I’ve heard has been praise.

LB Dantzler.  His batting average might not show it, but Dantzler has 30 RBI, good enough for 11th place in the SEC.  He also drove in 5 runs in the Mississippi State series.  He has been pretty steady at 3rd base too, helping to anchor the infield.

The 2nd Base Question.  It still doesn’t seem like Coach Tanner has made a firm decision about his second baseman.  Or maybe he’s decided to just go with two and switch them up as necessary.   I said in this post that whomever started the Clemson series at 2nd base would win the starting job.  That was Chase Vergason, and he’s certainly been back in the lineup more recently.  He’s gotten some hits when the Gamecocks needed them and his defense has been solid.  I wouldn’t rule out Erik Payne yet, but as good as Vergason has looked lately, he may be a more likely day-to-day guy.

Traveling to Auburn.  The Tigers are 19-16 (7-8 SEC).  They lost two of three to Vanderbilt this weekend.  To be honest, I haven’t heard much about Auburn baseball this year, so I don’t have too much to say.  An SEC series on the road is always a tough atmosphere, but if the Gamecocks can continue to build on the momentum they gathered during the Mississippi State series, they should be able to walk away with a win or two.  Or three.

Upcoming games:
vs. College of Charleston – 4/17, 7 p.m. (on SportsSouth)
at Auburn – 4/20, 7 p.m.
at Auburn – 4/21, 4 p.m. (on SportsSouth)
at Auburn – 4/22, 2 p.m.

The Gamecocks are now 27-10 (8-7 SEC).  They are ranked #9 in the Baseball America poll and #13 in the Collegiate Baseball poll.


Gamecocks to host Tennessee this weekend

It’s been a tough couple of weeks for the Gamecocks.   After getting swept at Kentucky, they appeared to bounce back the next weekend against Florida.  USC took the first game of the series (televised on ESPNU) in decisive fashion, winning 8-3.  The Gators did the same to the Gamecocks in Game 2.  Game 3 was hard fought, but the ‘Cocks couldn’t pull it out in the end, and Florida took the series.  Desperately needing an SEC series win, the Gamecocks headed to Nashville to take on Vanderbilt – who also desperately needed an SEC series win.  The Gamecocks took 2 of 3 from the Commodores, despite an abysmal showing on Saturday afternoon.  Winning the Vandy series and then shutting out the College of Charleston earlier this week, may have given the Gamecocks some momentum as they head into a series with Tennessee this weekend.

Some things of note:

Matt Price.  Looks like his move back to the bullpen is permanent.  At least until Forrest Koumas’ elbow situation is resolved.  And even then, Price may be more valuable in the ‘pen then as a starter.

Saturday starter.  Moving Price back to the closer’s role also leaves a gaping hole in the weekend rotation.  Last week, freshman Evan Beal got the Saturday start.  To say it was rocky is an understatement.  This weekend, the Gamecocks are putting their faith in freshman lefty Jordan Montgomery.  Montgomery has had a few mid-week starts, and his numbers are pretty decent, but we’ll see how he does on Saturday night against an SEC opponent.

Michael Roth.  Roth has been named the 2011-2012 SEC H. Boyd McWhorter Scholar-Athlete of the Year.  That means he gets a $15,000 post-grad scholarship.  Well done Mr. Roth.  Gamecock Nation is exceptionally proud of you.

Evan Marzilli.  Marzilli has been on base in every single one of the 29 games played so far this season.   That’s just an absurd statistic, but it goes to show why he is our leadoff man.

Brison Celek.  The sophomore has been in the DH spot recently.  And he’s certainly been doing his part.  Celek’s average is .353, which is good enough to give him the second highest average on the team (just remember, he’s only played in 16 games).

Christian Walker.  Walker got his 200th career hit during the Vanderbilt series.  He now has 207, and is currently #23 on the list of Carolina’s all-time hits leaders.  And the season is only halfway done.

Next Up:
vs. Tennessee (4/6 at 7 p.m.)
vs. Tennessee (4/7 at 8 p.m. on ESPNU)
vs. Tennessee (4/8 at 1:30 p.m.)

The Gamecocks currently have a 21-8 record (3-6 SEC).  The Gamecocks are ranked #11 in the Baseball America poll and #18 in the Collegiate Baseball poll.

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