Class of 2014 commitment Clark Scolamiero lost his 15-game hitting streak on the first day of the SC Diamond Invitational but he may have been the best player in the entire tournament. He was 6-for-10 at the plate with five walks, a triple, four runs scored, and two RBIs. In Saturday’s game against Mauldin, he hit the game-winning sacrifice fly but also picked up the victory on the mound allowing two earned runs on three hits over six innings. He struck out five and only walked one in his 84-pitch outing. Scolamiero, unsurprisingly, was named to the All-Tournament team.
Class of 2014 outfielder Clark Scolamiero had at least one hit in every game of the season entering Game 1 of the SC Diamond Invitational in Blythewood over the weekend. In the first game, he was 0-for-1 with three walks, two RBIs, and two runs scored, so it's not like he didn't have a productive game. He's now on a three-game hitting streak to finish off the tournament. Scolamiero was also great on the mound in his start and was 84-86 with his fastball. He touched a couple of 87s and said it was as good as he's felt on the mound this year. That's good news considering after his last pitching performance, he had some lingering soreness in a muscle kind of on his side. It was hard for him to throw at all for a week or so from the outfield. He felt much better last week and pitched on Saturday. On Sunday and Monday, he felt fine, so the little muscle pull, or whatever he had, is gone. I have painted the picture that he's definitely going to come to school and I still believe that to be the case but his stock has steadily been on the rise. He's had a great high school season and his tools are underrated. I've talked a lot about his arm and his speed is deceiving as he's a lot faster than he looks. Must be the long stride or just how fluid he is. There will be a lot of scouts at his games next year and he'll certainly be one to follow. I still think he has a great shot to step right in for Tanner English for the 2015 season and start for three years.
He is a side armer that stands 6-foot-5 and about 200 pounds. According to the NJCAA website, he's 0-2 with a save this year. His ERA is 2.01 with 18 Ks in 31.1 innings. When Esposito saw him yesterday, he pitched two innings and got five ground balls and a pop out, which is what a side armer is supposed to do.
McNickle throws predominantly a fastball and slider but also mixes in a changeup, which is rare for a sidearm pitcher. His fastball is 82-84, which is average for a side-armer. The slider is good. The changeup is basically a slow fastball thrown in the mid-to-upper 70s. He's a walk-on with a chance to come in and compete right away for a roster spot. There will be for side-arm guys trying out next year with Hunter Privette, Austin Hill, and Kris Nelson. I can't see more than two guys being kept but that will be figured out later.
McMillan is committed as a walk-on but is also a player who could be a future gem. He has split time between football and baseball during his high school career but will focus on baseball going forward. He has a fastball that ranges from 82-84 and a big curve ball. If he can make a jump in velocity, he could be a big contributor before his time at South Carolina is over.
South Carolina recently picked up a commitment from Tyler Haswell (Lawrenceville, Ga./Peachtree Ridge), who stands 6-foot-1, 175. I didn't expect the Gamecocks to take another player in the 2013 class but the right guy did come along. Haswell is a guy who can run his fastball up to 91 but will hover around the upper 80s right now. He is a strike-thrower that has a plus-changeup. Head coach Chad Holbrook has scouted him before and he had a good summer in the East Cobb organization. Sammy Esposito saw him a couple of weeks back as well and he jumped off the page with his performance
Like Caldwell, Johnson signed with Winthrop out of high school and things just didn't go very well for him there. He transferred down to Chipola and became a very different pitcher. The coaches scouted him during fall games at Chipola and a lot of big colleges came calling. He chose the Gamecocks over Miami and others.
Reagan used to be committed to College of Charleston but decided to open things back up when CofC went from the SoCon to CAA. He's regarded as the top left-handed pitcher in the state. He's a low-80s pitcher and will creep up to around 84.
BLYTHEWOOD - Ranked as the No. 3 player in the state of South Carolina by Diamond Prospects, class of 2013 standout Taylor Widener (Aiken/South Aiken) plays every game in front of a handful of scouts or more. A two-way player as a power right-handed arm and sweet-swinging left-handed hitter, Widener has a chance to pitch and hit for the Gamecocks. Prior to the SC Diamond Invitational, Widener discussed how his season is going thus far, where he wants to improve his game, and also a little bit about the MLB Draft.
I mentioned in the VIP Room earlier this week that the good news for South Carolina fans is that RHP/OF Taylor Widener is trending towards school. He is one of a few guys who I have considered up in the air for a while but things are looking up for the Gamecocks at this point. That doesn't mean that he's playing poorly and it doesn't mean that his level of play is dropping. What it means is that scouts aren't ready to give him the kind of money he would require to skip school.
Class of 2013 right-handed pitcher Wil Crowe (Pigeon Forge, Tenn./Pigeon Forge) was in the Palmetto State with his high school team when his future college team was back in his home state of Tennessee. Pitching in the Mingo Bay Classic last week, Crowe allowed one hit and struck out 13 before high-tailing it back to Tennessee to watch the Gamecocks play twice against the Volunteers.
In the same game, Crowe, who bats cleanup for his team, also hit a grand slam in the 4-0 victory. He provided all of the offense his team would need and also put together a dominant pitching performance. In the above video interview, Crowe discusses how his season has gone so far and what he wants to improve on before getting to Columbia in the fall.
High school regular seasons are winding down in South Carolina but they’re just getting started in other areas of the country. Class of 2014 two-way player Brandon Murray (Hobart, Ind./Hobart) is only 10 games into the season but he’s off to a great start both on the mound and in the field.
A pitcher and first baseman, Murray caught the eye of South Carolina coaches because of his game on the mound. In two starts this season, the right-hander is 1-0 allowing only one earned run over 11 innings. He has 23 strikeouts, which includes a complete game shutout with 15 Ks in his last start.
At the plate, Murray is hitting .468 with 10 doubles and a triple on the season so far. Murray says he’s playing pretty well so far this season but isn’t at his best. Entering the season, he had some areas of his game he wanted to improve upon and feel those areas are coming along.
“My self discipline at the plate,” Murray said. “Sometimes I go up there a little too anxious. I need to relax and let the game come to me. I’ve noticed lately I’m going up to the plate trying to make things happen too fast and not let it come to me. Pitching, I need to work some on command. I find myself getting behind sometimes. My main goal pitching is to get ahead and stay ahead. If your pitch count stays low, that means you can pitch more innings.”
Murray’s arsenal on the mound includes a fastball, slider, and circle changeup. His fastball runs in on the hands of right-handed hitters and is upper 80s and into the low 90s on a good day.
“I really wanted to have all three of my pitches mastered so I can throw any of them for a strike in any situation,” Murray said. “I want to trust every single pitch so I can keep hitters guessing with what I’m going to throw.”
Murray was recruited with the promise that he will be given an opportunity to play both ways at the college level. There haven’t been many who have been able to accomplish that feat at South Carolina but freshman Curt Britt is proof that players will be given the opportunity to do both.
“I know being a two-way guy at the college level will take a lot of work and a lot of dedication,” Murray said. “But I love the game so much, I want to be involved in each and every inning of each game and contribute to the team as much as I can. I want to contribute as much as I can. I know it’s going to be a lot of work but I think it will pay off.”
Murray picked South Carolina over schools such as Michigan, Indiana, Purdue, and some others in the Midwest.
“South Carolina was always like a dream school for me,” Murray said. “The baseball and facilities are second to none down there. I just feel like it will put me in my best position to develop as a player and prepare for the next level. Once I went down and got to see everything, it all clicked and I knew it was where I wanted to be.”
One of the main reasons Murray is a Gamecock is because of his relationship with pitching coach Jerry Meyers. Murray’s high school coach, Bob Glover Jr., and Meyers graduated from high school together, which is how South Carolina came into the picture.
Murray camped at South Carolina in the fall and Meyers liked what he saw from the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder. Murray liked what he saw from the South Carolina pitching coach and everything came together shortly after the camp.
“The pitching staff is always top notch,” Murray said. “You look at what he’s done with players like Michael Roth and the rest of the pitchers that come through the program. I have no doubt that coach Meyers is going to develop me.”
#Gamecocks 2013 RHP Wil Crowe (@WilCrowe15) threw a complete shutout allowing two hits and no walks with 18 strikeouts. Not a bad day.
This also happened today. Story on TBS soon! RT "@diamondprospect Bishop England's OF Zack Madden has committed to USC #GamecockBaseball"
OF Gene Cone (@gene_cone4) pitched 6.2 shutout innings last week allowing three hits and 8 Ks. He also wants followers on his new acct.
#Gamecocks class of 2013 RHP Tyler Haswell went 6 IP and allowed 1 ER on 6 hits and 6 Ks to pick up the win on Friday. He also hit a HR.
One of the top players in the Palmetto State became available in the late fall and the coaches at South Carolina were sure to make him a Gamecock. Class of 2013 outfielder Zack Madden (Charleston/Bishop England), ranked as the No. 11 player in the state by Diamond Prospects, chose to stay in state to play his college baseball on Sunday morning
Madden, formerly committed to College of Charleston, decided to open up his recruitment when the Cougars switched conferences. South Carolina, North Carolina State, and Clemson all showed interest in the 6-foot, 180-pounder but he decided to join the South Carolina program
Madden visited Columbia for a game during the Texas A&M series and spent time around the program. After a long conversation with head coach Chad Holbrook last week and several chats with recruiting coordinator Sammy Esposito, he decided to pull the trigger once the Gamecocks returned home from Florida.
“I felt it was in my best interest to decommit and explore other options. I waited on schools to see if there was interest around me and luckily there was,” Madden said of his decommitment from Charleston. “I fell in love with South Carolina. I like the facilities. I’ve played there a ton. I really like coach Holbrook and coach Esposito. They’re really easy to get along with.”
Once reopening his recruitment, Madden decided to take the process slower this time around and said he found the right fit with the Gamecocks. Both of his parents are LSU alums but Baton Rouge was too far from home to consider.
That’s good news for the Gamecocks, who will now bring in an outfielder with a lot of upside.
“I think the reasons schools like that recruit me is I’m a really aggressive player,” Madden said. “I’m hard-nosed, like to get on the bases and run around the bases. They think I’m a good hitter and fast. Coaches see that I’m really hard-working and you can’t be a good hitter without being a hard worker.”
Madden swings from the left side but is right-handed. At the plate, he’s hitting over .400 this season for Bishop England, which produced current designated hitter Brison Celek.
“I hit for average. I have a good bit of pop but I’m mostly an average hitter,” Madden said. “I’m not the type of player that is going to hit a bunch of home runs. I like to hit the ball the other way, like to hit the ball on the ground. Once I get on the ground, that’s where I do most of my damage.”
Madden grew up playing on the infield but made the transition into the outfield last summer for his showcase team, the Charleston-based Diamond Devils. He hit over .500 for the club in the World Wood Bat Association championships last year while playing the corner outfield positions.
For his high school team, Madden is playing centerfield this year.
“I’ve been kind of streaky offensively. Defensively, I am doing great,” Madden said of his high school performance this year. “I grew up not being an outfielder. This past summer, I started playing outfield. I was kind of hesitant. I realized it was a good position for me because I’m fast and I can track the baseball. It’s kind of a blessing in disguise I end up playing outfield. I’m getting better and learning a lot about the position.”
Class of 2013 outfielder Zack Madden decommitted from College of Charleston shortly before signing day back in November solely because he didn't want to play in the new conference. He was one of the key pieces of the CofC class and expected to come in and contribute immediately for the Cougars. He was the biggest defection of several that left.
When Madden opened it back up, South Carolina was very interested and began recruiting him heavily. Madden wanted to wait and see what programs would come along and he decided, even though it was very late, to take the process slowly.
As far as the kind of player he is, I had him described to me back in the late fall as someone a lot like Adam Matthews at the same stage. Very toolsy but still sort of raw. He hits with an open stance and hits a lot of line drives. I haven't gotten to see him play a lot of games but my hunch is that he'll strike out some early on during his college career.
He was at Pro Day, which I attended, and I noticed his swing and hitting tools. I didn't notice him much with the outfield arm. He's still pretty new to the outfield, so he probably has some work to do to build that up a little bit. He's a very good athlete. He's about a 6.7 runner, so he'll be able to get around the bases pretty well. I hope to get to a game and see him play as I've only seen him in a showcase setting.
ROSWELL, Ga. - The 2014 season seems to be a long way away given that South Carolina is only halfway through the conference slate this year but, glancing ahead, there are a lot of innings pitched leaving when the last ball of 2013 is thrown. Multiple players are going to have to fill the void of pitchers like Nolan Belcher, Adam Westmoreland, and Tyler Webb.
One of those pitchers coming in ready to compete is right-hander Reed Scott (Roswell, Ga./Blessed Trinity), who pitched perhaps the best game of his young baseball career on Tuesday night against Decatur High School. Given his recent outing, he's shown he can make an early impact for the Gamecocks.
Scott has made his name pitching to contact. He has a fastball with some good sink that will run in on right-handed hitters, a tight slider and a changeup. He’s a ground ball pitcher which makes Tuesday’s start even more impressive.
On his very first pitch of the game, Scott allowed a leadoff single through the left side. It was the only runner, however, he would allow until the sixth inning. He retired 16 straight hitters at one point before giving up an infield single. It was the last time a player would reach base on him in the game.
"Everything was working,” Scott said. “I was hitting my spots well. Me and my catcher were on the same page. My defense played really well and kept the pitch count low and let me pitch the whole game.”
Scott finished with a complete game shutout as Blessed Trinity blanked Decatur 8-0 over seven innings. He allowed two hits, didn’t walk a batter, and struck out 16 in 80 pitches of work.
Scott is a strike-thrower and didn’t go to a full count to any hitter in the game. He only went to two two-ball counts and finished off both of those hitters with a strikeout.
“I just try to work low in the zone, get ground balls, get outs and keep my pitch count low,” Scott said. “Tonight I had my strikeout pitch working and felt good.”
Scott, who signed with the Gamecocks in November, hopes to enroll this summer and get into the weight room before the fall semester when the rest of the team arrives.
Between now and then, his goal remains the same as what it was entering the season, which is to tack on more velocity to his fastball.
"I really wanted to work on my velocity,” Scott said. “That was my main concern with getting ready for college. I feel like I’ve picked up a couple of miles per hour, which is really helping me. If I can keep hitting my spots like I have been and keep my velocity up, I think I’ll be fine.”
Scott visited for the Clemson game earlier this year and hopes to get back to campus to see another game before the season is out. He hasn’t spoken to the South Carolina coaches much in recent weeks but the last time he did, the message was clear.
“They told me I could start or relieve, anything next year, which I’m excited about,” Scott said. “As long as I get to pitch next year, that’s all I really care about. It doesn’t matter where they put me.”
Scott is one of eight pitchers signed as a part of the 2013 class.
?@johnmwhittle 4h #Gamecocks RHP signee Reed Scott (@Reed_Scott42) threw another complete game shutout allowing three hits, 6 Ks, no BBs on 80 pitches.
@johnmwhittle 4h #Gamecocks OF signee Gene Cone (@gene_cone4) threw 6 IP and gave up two hits pitching and hit a solo HR to lead SV to rivalry win over RNE.
South Carolina received a boost to its 2013 recruiting class on Wednesday when left-handed pitcher John Parke (Greenville/Greenville) cast his lot with the Gamecocks.
Parke was committed to Clemson but chose to explore other options late last week. After going back and forth, Parke elected to join a South Carolina program that was just a few months away from being his hated rival.
“It’s one of the best program in the nation from facilities and location to the teams they’ve had in the past and in the next few years,” Parke said of South Carolina. “The outlook looks really great the next four years. I know some of the guys coming in with the class with me and know we can keep the winning tradition.”
In August, Parke accepted a preferred walk-on position at Clemson, according to The Greenville News. A lifelong fan of the Tigers, he decided to explore scholarship options as he’s put together a SC Pitcher of the Year type of résumé.
This season, Parke is 5-1 with a 1.56 earned run average and also has a save to his credit. In 45 innings pitched, he has 68 strikeouts allowing 21 hits and 23 walks. He’s led his Greenville High School squad to a region championship and the Red Raiders are ranked as one of the top AAA programs in the state.
Flipping from Clemson was a very tough decision for Parke but, after visiting South Carolina over the weekend, he made the call to switch allegiances.
“It was a really, really tough decision and one of the toughest of my life. You have the best programs in South Carolina and two of the best programs in the country. I wanted to play in the SEC. I felt comfortable around all the coaches. I knew it was the right decision for me.”
There have been several players in the not too recent past who were Tigers in their younger days but signed to play baseball at South Carolina. The best example, which was used as a recruiting tool with Parke, is Wingo, who spurned the school in the upstate and went on to win the College World Series Most Outstanding Player award.
“Coach Holbrook was telling me a story about Scott Wingo,” Parke said. “There was no bigger Clemson fan that him but he chose to play baseball at South Carolina because he thought it was the best place for him to play. I took that under consideration and did what Scott Wingo did.”
Now, Parke has his sights set on having the same kind of career at South Carolina that Scott Wingo did.