May 24, 2015

Dismal season likely over for Gamecocks after 5-1 loss to Missouri (AUDIO)

Wynkoop took the loss vs Missouri (File Photo)

Wynkoop took the loss vs Missouri (File Photo)

The final nail in the coffin for USC’s baseball season was hammered by Missouri closer Breckin Williams who was nails in a clutch 8th inning relief job that saved a 5-1 win for the Tigers and in all likelihood ended the Gamecocks’ season.

Called on to protect a 3-1 lead when starter Reggie McClain allowed a single and double to start the eighth, Williams struck out DC Arendas looking, got Kyle Martin swinging and and induced Elliott Caldwell to fly out to left field to end the Gamecocks’ final hopes for a comeback.  Williams set down the Gamecocks quickly in order in the ninth to secure his 13th save and move the Tigers into the double elimination portion of the tournament.

The Gamecocks, who haven’t won a game in the SEC Tournament since 2012 and are now 25-42 all time in the event, managed just six hits off McClain and Williams, three of those by Gene Cone whose 8th inning double was USC’s only extra base hit.  That was not enough offense to support starter and loser Jack Wynkoop who allowed four runs and nine hits over seven innings.

Missouri scored two runs in the second but the Gamecocks answered with a run in the third on a sacrifice fly by Arendas.  The Tigers added a run in the fourth for a 3-1 lead.  Meantime the Gamecocks had just one baserunner between the fourth and seventh innings.

The Gamecocks are 32-25 and with only 13 SEC wins and an RPI in the 60s, they are likely to be at home for the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999.

Box Score

AUDIO: USC post game press conference [5:06]

(Chad Holbrook, Jack Wynkoop, Gene Cone)


USC’s Kyle Martin and Max Schrock earn All-SEC Honors

Kyle Martin has put together a great senior season.

Kyle Martin has put together a great senior season.

South Carolina senior first baseman Kyle Martin earned first-team All-SEC honors with junior second baseman Max Schrock picking up second-team All-SEC accolades as announced by the league office on Monday afternoon.

Martin leads the Gamecocks in all three Triple Crown categories batting .352 (70-for-199) with 14 homers and 56 RBI.  Martin leads the SEC on the year in RBI (56) is second in the league with 39 walks and also ranks third in on-base percentage (.458) and slugging percentage (.643).  He is also tied for fourth in the SEC in homers (14), and tied for fourth in total bases (128).

Martin was even more impressive in league contests.  In 30 SEC games, Martin hit a league-high 11 homers, slugged a SEC-best .794 and totaled a league-best 85 total bases.  In addition, he ranked second in the SEC in league games with a .393 batting average, a .504 on-base percentage and 24 walks in conference play.

Schrock is hitting .328 (63-for-192) on the year with 34 RBI, 44 runs scored, 11 doubles, two triples and six homers.  Schrock has a .419 on-base percentage and a .500 slugging mark.  He has 32 strikeouts to just 18 walks as well.  Schrock homered in the first inning of both last Thursday’s and last Friday’s games vs. top ranked LSU.  He hit .556 (5-for-9) with four runs in the LSU series.  Schrock hit .354 in 28 SEC games (40-for-113) with 20 RBI and 25 runs scored.  He had a .409 on-base percentage and a .566 slugging mark in league play.

2015 SEC Baseball Awards

 Player of the Year: Andrew Benintendi, Arkansas

Pitcher of the Year: Carson Fulmer, Vanderbilt

Freshman of the Year: Alex Lange, LSU

Coach of the Year: Paul Mainieri, LSU

Scholar-Athlete of the Year: Seth Heck, Mississippi State

First-Team All-SEC

C: Kade Scivicque, LSU

1B: Kyle Martin, South Carolina

2B: JaVon Shelby, Kentucky

3B: Conner Hale, LSU

SS: Alex Bregman, LSU

OF: Andrew Benintendi, Arkansas

OF: Andrew Stevenson, LSU

OF: Christin Stewart, Tennessee

DH/UT: Mitchell Nau, Texas A&M

SP: Carson Fulmer, Vanderbilt

SP: Alex Lange, LSU

RP: Zach Jackson, Arkansas


Second-Team All-SEC Team

C: Mike Rivera, Florida

1B: Chris Chinea, LSU

2B: Max Schrock, South Carolina

3B: Josh Tobias, Florida

SS: Dansby Swanson, Vanderbilt

OF: Kyle Barrett, Kentucky

OF: Nick Banks, Texas A&M

OF: Logan Taylor, Texas A&M

DH/UT: JJ Schwarz, Florida

SP: Grayson Long, Texas A&M

SP: Cole Lipscomb, Auburn

*RP: Breckin Williams, Missouri

*RP: Wyatt Short, Ole Miss

Freshman All-SEC Team

C: Mike Rivera, Florida

1B: Evan White, Kentucky

2B: Dalton Guthrie, Florida

3B: Will Toffey, Vanderbilt

SS: Ryan Gridley, Mississippi State

OF: Keegan McGovern, Georgia

OF: Trey Harris, Missouri

OF: Jeren Kendall, Vanderbilt

DH/UT: JJ Schwarz, Florida

SP: Tanner Houck, Missouri

SP: Keaton McKinney, Arkansas

RP: Kyle Wright, Vanderbilt

SEC All-Defensive Team

C: Kade Scivicque, LSU

1B: Evan White, Kentucky

2B: Kyle Overstreet, Alabama

3B: Bobby Wernes, Arkansas

SS: Alex Bregman, LSU

OF: Andrew Stevenson, LSU

OF: Mark Laird, LSU

OF: Buddy Reed, Florida

P: Carson Fulmer, Vanderbilt

* – Denotes a tie in voting. Ties are not broken.

Holbrook dealing with injuries going into SEC Baseball Tournament (AUDIO)

Wynkoop will get Tuesday's start for USC

Wynkoop will get Tuesday’s start for USC

USC needs to make a deep run in the SEC Baseball Tournament beginning Tuesday afternoon to have a chance to make the NCAA Tournament and the Gamecocks could be playing shorthanded against Missouri in their tournament opener.

Gamecock head coach Chad Holbrook said Monday morning on an SEC baseball coaches conference call outfielders Connor Bright and Elliott Caldwell and second baseman Max Schrock are hampered by injuries that could keep them out of the lineup.

The Gamecocks left Columbia for Hoover, AL this morning and will practice later in the afternoon.  Holbrook said Bright is not on the trip and will have an MRI later today on his injured shoulder.  Caldwell and Schrock are with the team.

Caldwell is battling a knee injury while Schrock has wrist and achilles tendon issues.  Holbrook said Schrock’s issues are more serious than Caldwell’s.  He will evaluate both after today’s practice.

Holbrook said Jack Wynkoop is in line to get the start against Missouri.  He will be pitching on four days rest but in last Thursday’s win over LSU he went only 5.1 innings and threw just 91 pitches.  In his outing against Mizzou in March, Wynkoop went 7.1 innings allowing two runs on seven hits and striking out five.  He did not get the decision in a 4-3, 10 inning loss that day.

Junior righthander Reggie McClain is slated to start for the Tigers.  He is 6-7 with a 3.83 ERA.  He beat the Gamecocks 3-2 on March 20th allowing two runs and five hits over 8.1 innings.

 AUDIO: Chad Holbrook [5:32]



Gamecocks’ season on the brink after series loss to LSU (VIDEO)

A rare site for USC Saturday night as Hunter Taylor scores Gamecocks' lone run

A rare site for USC Saturday night as Hunter Taylor scores Gamecocks’ lone run

After winning Thursday night’s series opener against LSU at Carolina Stadium, USC’s NCAA Tournament hopes looked promising.  Sitting on 13 SEC wins, the Gamecocks were thought to be one more SEC regular season win away from punching their ticket because over the past ten seasons every SEC team with 14 regular season wins has made the field.  But that 14th win proved to be too much for the Gamecocks to accomplish.  The top ranked Tigers hammered the Gamecocks Friday night then drilled them Saturday night 8-1 to take the series two games to one.

Widener struggled in his three innings

Widener struggled in his three innings

The Gamecocks now head to Hoover, AL and the SEC Tournament Tuesday as the #10 seed and will play Missouri in the second game of the single elimination round.  They will need a long run in the tournament, if not a tournament championship, to avoid missing the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999, which was also the last season the Gamecocks failed to win at least 40 games.

The Gamecocks lost their regular season series at Missouri in March losing the first two games 3-2 and 4-3 in 10 innings and winning game three 7-5.   The winner of their elimination game will face #2 seed and defending national champion Vanderbilt in Wednesday’s second game.

The other single elimination games Tuesday are Ole Miss vs Alabama, Kentucky vs Auburn and Arkansas vs Tennessee.  LSU is the #1 seed for the tournament with Vanderbilt, Texas A&M and Florida the 2-4 seeds and the other teams with first day byes.

SEC Tournament Bracket

Senior Kyle Martin played his final game at Carolina Stadium

Senior Kyle Martin played his final game at Carolina Stadium

In Saturday night’s loss, the Gamecocks managed just two hits off five LSU pitchers.  Alex Lange was the starter and winner (10-0) pitching the first five innings and allowing the one run while striking out nine.

Taylor Widener was the starter and loser (1-5) for USC.  He lasted just three innings and yielded four runs on four hits.  The Tigers got all the runs they would need in the second on a two run homer by Chris Chinea. Alex Bregman added a solo shot in the third as the lead grew to 4-0 and the game was never really in doubt from there.

The Gamecocks did have one chance to catch the Tigers.  Trailing 5-1 in the bottom of the seventh, they loaded the bases with two men out but Matt Williams, who had replaced an injured Max Schrock at second earlier in the game, struck out looking on a 1-2 pitch to end the threat.  LSU responded with a three spot in the top of the eighth for the final 8-1 spread.

Box Score 

VIDEO: Chad Holbrook

VIDEO:  Kyle Martin

VIDEO: Marcus Mooney

Clemson and USC move on to NCAA Men’s Golf Championships

Larry Penley

Larry Penley guides Tigers back to national tournament

Clemson and USC comfortably qualified for the NCAA Men’s Golf Championships starting May 29th in Bradenton, FL.  The Tigers were the fifth of the five qualifiers from the Chapel Hill Regional but had a seven shot edge over sixth place Kennesaw State.  This will be Clemson’s first appearance in the championship tournament since 2010.

The Tigers fired a final round of four under 284 and finished the regional at minus five.  Charlotte won the regional at 19 under par, five shots ahead of Stanford.  Florida State finished third and Florida fourth.

All five Clemson players shot even par of better on Saturday with Miller Capp’s three under 69 leading the way.   Austin Langdale finished the regional at five under par to finish in a tie for seventh.

Chapel Hill Regional leaderboard

At the Bremerton, WA regional, USC had the day’s low round 14 under part 274 and finished second, two shots back of UAB.  Southern Cal, TCU and Washington round out the other qualifiers from the regional.

Matt Nesmith led the Gamecocks with a five under 67 while teammates Will Starke, Will Murphy and Caleb Sturgeon each had a 69.  Nesmith finished the regional at six under, good enough for a tie for seventh.

Bremerton Regional leaderboard

Charleston Southern finished last in the Lubbock regional at 38 over par while The College of Charleston was 12th in the New Haven Regional at +33.