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  • February 19, 2014 Volume 36 Issue 2 $1.50

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    Gamecocks get into theswing of things quickly in season-opening series

    Signing DayReportMeet the excitingclass of 2014

  • 2 Spurs & Feathers February 19, 2014

    by mike kucharskimike@spursandfeathers.com

    It is that time of year again when the players roll out the baseballs, get out the spikes, bats and gloves and the fans come to crowd Carolina Sta-dium to watch the Gamecocks play.

    Saturday, Feb. 15 was Opening Day for the Gamecocks and despite being delayed by a day due to wintry conditions the fans came out to support South Carolina as they played host to Bucknell for a doubleheader.

    Before game one of the doubleheader the opening day festivities kicked off with a cer-emony dedicating the home bullpen to former Gamecock All-American pitcher Michael Roth. Roth had a taped message to Gamecock fans play on the videoboard thanking them and apologizing for not being present, but he is in Arizona preparing for the 2014 season with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Roth said that he was both honored and humbled to receive such recognition in his message.

    South Carolina Athletics Director Ray Tan-ner, Cocky and longtime supporter of the Gamecocks Billy Moore and his fam-ily unveiled a plaque beside the home

    bullpen officially naming it after Roth. Moore then threw out the first pitch and his daughter, Mary English who is a new recording artist with MTV, sang the national anthem.

    Another Opening Day celebration planned before the second game of the doubleheader was the dedication of the new playground at Caro-lina Stadium to lifelong Gamecock fan Hay Fant Sparks by the Athletics Department. Tan-ner, Cocky, Sparks and his family were planned to take part in a ribbon cutting ceremony to officially dedicate the playground shown on the videoboard.

    The fans were extremely excited to come and support the Gamecocks as a good crowd filed in to fill the stands.

    Tim Eyler of Goose Creek, S.C. met his daughter, Jennifer, who attends the University to take in the Gamecocks Opening Day. Eyler said that he has tried to come to Opening Day each of the last four years.

    Its not snowing anymore so we had to be here, Jennifer Eyler said. Were excited about

    the team every year, happy to be here and ex-cited to see them name the bullpen after Roth. They should; hes my favorite.

    Paul Matheney and his son Matt from Co-lumbia, S.C. said that they get to come to many games, but it was their first Opening Day.

    Its always good to come out here, but this is the first Opening Day so were really excited about it. Were absolutely excited about the new season and this team were just really glad to be here today, Matheney said.

    The players were just as excited as the fans to get out on the field to face Bucknell with some saying they wished they could have played on Friday. Despite the delay, they were chomping at the bit to get on the field and face the Bison.

    I think were all really excited. A little angry we didnt play (Friday), but you cant control weather. Were all happy to just get out there and play against another team, junior relief pitcher Joel Seddon said. Im sure all of the guys are sick of facing the same pitchers, facing the same hitters so were ready to face Bucknell.

    Sophomore second baseman Max Schrock said that he still experiences the butterflies that Opening Day brings and was extremely excited to get out on the field.

    Its Opening Day. All those little jitters come from being so excited. Ever since the last game last year youre looking forward to this one. Its a long time and a lot of buildup, Schrock said.

    Joey Pankake agreed with Seddon and Schrock saying the delay of a day to start the season just made the excitement level grow for the Gamecocks saying that he knew it would be a good day.

    The Gamecocks came through on Pankakes prediction by plating a pair of runs in the first inning to take an early lead. The conditions in Carolina Stadium at the time of the first pitch of the season were 49 degrees and fair with 17 mph wind from the northwest. There were 8,015 fans in attendance for game one on Opening Day at Carolina Stadium.

    Gamecocks open the baseball season in style

    photos by allen sharpe and jenny dilworth

    All Gamecock baseball coverage sponsored by

    DiPratos

    by mike kucharskimike@spursandfeathers.com

    The seventh-ranked South Carolina baseball team swept Bucknell to begin its season 3-0 behind a potent offense and a pitching staff that gave up only six runs over three games.

    The Gamecocks won the Opening Day doubleheader by scores of 17-4 and 12-2 before claiming the series sweep on Sunday, 12-0.

    One of the aspects that head coach Chad Hol-brook said he likes most about the team is the age and experience level he is able to put out on the field.

    We can be pretty old with the lineup that we put on the field as far as experience. Coach Tan-ner always told me you win a lot more games with 21- and 22-year-olds than you do with 18- or 19-year-olds and thats true, Holbrook said. We can put some 21-, 22-year-olds out there and you need to be old in this league.

    The Gamecock offense was clicking on all

    cylinders in the season-opening series as they plated 29 combined runs in the doubleheader before putting up 12 in Sundays victory. South Carolina was able to score early by pushing across runs in the first inning in all there games.

    Kyle Martin led the Gamecock offense by going 7-for-9 over the weekend, including a career-high four hits in Sundays finale. Gray-son Greiner and Connor Bright each drove in seven runs during the weekend and Tanner English drove in a career-high five runs in Sat-urdays second game. The Gamecocks hit three home runs in Sundays series finale from Max Schrock, Joey Pankake and Greiner.

    I did think that we had a chance to have some pretty good offensive players in the lineup. When I put the starters on the team last weekend I think we scored nine runs both of those scrim-mages against our guys. I do feel good about our offensive team, Holbrook commented on the 41 runs the offense scored over the weekend.

    South Carolinas starting pitching showed well

    to open the season with Jordan Montgomery and Jack Wynkoop each going five innings and earning a victory in Saturdays doubleheader. Holbrook said that he was spoiled and had seen them pitch better, but he was pleased with their efforts in the first outings of the year. Freshman Wil Crowe had an excellent showing in his col-legiate debut, throwing 6.1 innings of no-hit ball with five strikeouts. Crowe retired the final 13 batters he faced in the game. Four Gamecock pitchers combined to throw a one-hit shutout while striking out 10 Bison in Sundays finale.

    Holbrook lauded Crowes skill and composure in his debut outing along with the other starters, but one of the things he noted he learned about the team was the bullpens skill and versatility.

    I think the thing that kind of stood out to me was that I was very impressed with the way that our bullpen threw the ball I think that you see that we do have some depth and do have some balance in our bullpen, Holbrook said. I like the depth of our bullpen and what I take

    away as a coach from these three games is that makes me feel pretty good.

    Weve got a number of guys that we can go to after our starters hopefully get us to the sixth inning to help us finish the game. Who knows, sometimes you might see (Joel) Seddon, we have to go to him in a big spot, you might see him in the seventh. Now I feel comfortable go-ing to (Cody) Mincey later. We can pass the ba-ton from kid to kid depending on the opponent and having a versatile bullpen makes me feel good as a coach, Holbrook continued.

    Schrock said sweeping the opening series reinforces the teams confidence in themselves and they hope to continue the high level of play.

    I think it just gives us confidence. We had somewhere around 40 runs and 40 hits prob-ably which is boosting our hitters confidence, Schrock said after Sundays game. Thats al-ways good to be boosting the hitters confidence and we just need to take that into our game on Tuesday and into next weekend.

    Gamecocks sweep Bison to open season

  • February 19, 2014 Spurs & Feathers 3

    by mike kucharskimike@spursandfeathers.com

    South Carolina baseball welcomed home some Gamecock greats for a professional players reunion at Carolina Stadium on Fri-day, Jan. 31.

    The program was coordinated by South Carolina Athletics Special Assistant to De-velopment Clyde Wrenn and Tommy Moody, analyst for Gamecock baseball, served as the emcee for the event. Athletics Director and former baseball head coach Ray Tanner and current Gamecock head coach Chad Hol-brook were in attendance to greet and catch up with the former South Carolina players.

    Tanner thanked the 14 profes-sional players in attendance for returning and allowing the program to become as successful as it has. He also credited these players with putting the pro-gram in the position it is now, including the beautiful stadium that is packed with fans every time the Gamecocks take the field.

    I love the opportunity that you guys cre-ated in having a facility like this and thats one reason that Im in this position today. I want to help all the other sports to have the kind of facility that gives them a chance to compete at the highest level, Tanner said. I appreciate all of you guys and I miss you it was an honor and pleasure to coach you over the years and follow your careers now. Its why we do what we do.

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