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May 5, 2006

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina softball will close out the 2006 regular season with a three-game series against the Florida Gators in Gainesville this weekend, May 6-7. The Gamecocks are 28-27, 8-18 in the SEC, while the Gators are 38-22 and 14-13 in the conference. Saturday’s doubleheader is set for 1 p.m.

USC is currently eighth in the conference and has a spot in the tournament but has to maintain its half-game lead on Ole Miss to keep the berth. The Gamecocks are one of four teams that have never missed an SEC Tournament, Florida, LSU and Alabama have all made nine consecutive appearances.

South Carolina holds a slim 19-17 lead over the Gators in the series but for the last two seasons, USC has lost six straight to Florida. The last win for Carolina came in 2003, when the Gamecocks swept UF 3-0. The last time USC recorded a win in Gainesville was game three in 2002. USC has never won a series in Gainesville.

In their last six games, Carolina is 4-2. USC is still looking for another win against an Eastern Division team. The Gamecocks are 1-7 against the SEC East, with its one victory coming against Kentucky back in March.

This will also mark the final regular season games for two seniors, Ashley Smith and Melanie Henkes. Both have been starters for four years and have recorded a 125-99-1 record. Henkes ranks among USC’s all-time strikeout leaders, while Smith ranks among USC’s all-time home run leaders and RBI leaders. Smith is a two-time ESPN The Magazine CoSIDA Academic All-America, the first ever for South Carolina, a two-time SEC Scholar Athlete of the year, and a seven-time President’s Honor Roll selection. Henkes ranks eighth on the strikeout list and is only the eighth pitcher to reach the 300 mark.

All three games can be followed live via audio or Gametracker on