Former South Carolina infielder James Darnell (2006-08) has been called up to the Major Leagues by the San Diego Padres. Darnell, a two-time All-SEC third baseman at South Carolina joined the team in New York as the Padres begin a four-game series with the Mets. Darnell is one of five former Gamecocks currently in the big leagues.
Darnell, 24, has hit .317 (124-for-391) with 29 doubles, one triple, 23 home runs, 75 RBI, 80 runs scored and 64 walks against 70 strikeouts over 102 games between Double-A San Antonio and Triple-A Tucson this season. The infielder was selected to the United States roster of Major League Baseball’s 2011 Futures Game as well as a midseason Texas League All-Star this year.
A native of Fresno, Calif, Darnell was signed by the Padres as a second-round selection out of South Carolina in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. Over parts of four minor league seasons in the Padres (2008-11) organization, he has hit .304 (399-for-1313) with 95 doubles, seven triples, 56 home runs, 229 RBI, 220 runs scored and 211 walks against 239 strikeouts in 352 games played.
A second team All-SEC selection, Darnell hit .306 his junior year with 19 HR and 81 RBI. His RBI total is the fourth highest in a single-season by a Gamecock player. He started all 63 games in his final year at third base for the Gamecocks. Darnell also led the conference in RBI in SEC games with 40 RBI in 30 conference contests. He twice tied the USC single-game record for home runs with three in a 13-7 win vs. Kentucky on March 29 and in a 13-1 win at the College of Charleston on March 18. Darnell recorded 41 career homers in a three-year career with the Garnet & Black, tied for ninth on the USC Career List.
Gamecocks in the Pros
INF James Darnell, San Diego Padres
INF Steve Pearce, Pittsburgh Pirates
C Landon Powell, Oakland Athletics
2B Brian Roberts, Baltimore Orioles
1B Justin Smoak, Seattle Mariners