Skip to main content
Partner logo
Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Mobile Icon Link Gamecocks+

April 4, 2011

Coach Smith Weekly Press Conference

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina starts a slate of six non-conference games in a row on Tuesday when the Gamecocks host Charleston Southern at 5 p.m. at Beckham Field. After the rematch of head coach Beverly Smith’s first game at South Carolina, her alma mater North Carolina comes to town on Wednesday, with first pitch scheduled for 4 p.m. Both games will have Gametracker live stats and live audio available at

Scouting the Charleston Southern Buccaneers
Heading into Monday’s doubleheader at Coastal Carolina, Charleston Southern is 14-21 on the year. Megan Lombard powers the lineup, hitting a team-best .314 while posting the second-best on-base percentage at .391. Her five homers tie with Jana Matthews and Erin Kegley for tops on the team. Matthews leads the squad with 22 RBI and a .529 slugging percentage. The Bucs don’t run a lot, with only 19 stolen bases in 29 tries.

Morgan Dowdy leads the Bucs in the circle, posting a 3.08 ERA and a 5-13 record in 27 appearances, 18 starts. She’s struck out 87 batters and walked 41 in 132 innings of work. Kimberly Hobbs has started 17 times, posting a 9-8 record and a 4.90 ERA. Hobbs has struck out 81 and walked 29 in 100 innings. Foes have hit .300 against her.

Series History Versus Charleston Southern
The Gamecocks hold a 10-1 record against Charleston Southern, including a win earlier this season in Columbia. When hosting, South Carolina is a perfect 5-0 against the Buccaneers.

Last Meeting vs. Charleston Southern – Feb. 11, 2011
A new chapter started the Gamecocks’ 2011 season off on the right foot, as South Carolina downed Charleston Southern, 10-6, in the season opener. Sophomore shortstop Samie Garcia made a great first impression on offense in her debut, going 2-for-4 with a two-run triple, a stolen base and a run scored. Senior designated player Laura Mendes reached base in all three plate appearances and drove in two runs with her two-run blast in the third. Senior catcher P.J. Fulmer also drove in a pair of runs, while junior outfielder Kaitlin Westfall went 2-for-3 with a double, an RBI and a run scored. Junior second baseman Evan Childs scored twice, while freshman Chelsea Hawkins and junior first baseman Molly Brossart both added doubles.

Scouting the North Carolina Tar Heels
North Carolina will enter Wednesday’s game against the Gamecocks with a 24-13 overall record and a 7-2 mark in the Atlantic Coast Conference. The trio of Kelli Wheeler, Haleigh Dickey and Ally Blake lead the Tar Heels offensively. The only major categories that those three don’t lead UNC is sacrifice bunt and stolen bases. Dickey leads the team with 30 RBI, while Wheeler has team bests in runs, triples, home runs, on-base and slugging percentage.

Lori Spingola leads the Tar Heels in the circle, tossing over 70 percent of the innings. She’s posted a 1.71 ERA and a 19-9 record, posting seven shutouts in 24 starts. She’s struck out 174 batters and walked 35 in 172 innings. Opponents hit .188 against Spignola. Sara Buchholz is the second pitcher, posting a 5-4 record and a 4.52 ERA in 62 innings.

Series History Versus North Carolina
In the series that dates back to 1985, South Carolina holds a 47-12 advantage in the border battle. That includes a 28-4 record at home. The Tar Heels have won the last two meetings, including a 1-0 win at Beckham Field in 2007.

Last Meeting vs. North Carolina – March 30, 2010
The Gamecock offense rose up with seven runs and three home runs, but it was not enough as No. 22 North Carolina defeated South Carolina, 17-7, in five innings at Anderson Stadium. Eight of the nine Gamecocks in the lineup had hits, while six different Gamecocks drove in runs. Briana Hamilton had the only multi-hit game for South Carolina, going 2-for-3 with an RBI. Laura Mendes, P.J. Fulmer and Kaitlin Westfall all had solo home runs in the game. The Fulmer and Westfall blasts were the first career homers for both.

Carolina in the Month of April
Since 1984, the Gamecocks are 347-199-1 (.635) in the fourth month of the year. In April SEC games, South Carolina is 98-109 (.473).

Great Start to the Season
The Gamecocks have eclipsed their record from last year. With 17 wins overall and three in Southeastern Conference action, South Carolina surpassed its win totals in both categories from 2010 before the halfway mark of this year, which the Gamecocks officially hit in the last game of the Auburn series.

Offensive Improvement Easy to See
South Carolina is not prominently displayed in the SEC’s team stat rankings, but it would be bad for one to think that the team has not progressed at the plate. Just past the halfway point in 2011, the Gamecocks have already surpassed their 2010 total in runs, triples, home runs, stolen bases and sacrifice flies. The Garnet and Black have a batting average that is 56 points better than last year (.272-.216), an on-base percentage 65 points improved (.352-.287) and a slugging percentage 102 points better (.390-.288).

South Carolina Making Defenses Work
The Gamecocks have done a great job putting balls in play this year. South Carolina stands at the bottom of the SEC standings in strikeout by its hitters, fanning just 144 times in 35 games. That’s tied for the fewest team K’s in the SEC. The Gamecocks have benefited, hitting .306 on balls in play.

South Carolina Confident with Two Runs Scored
The Gamecocks own a 17-9 record when they score two runs or more in a game. That includes a 15-5 mark when posting three or more.

The Speed Proves Its Worth When Not There
South Carolina has gone 2-10 in games when it has not stolen a base. When swiping two or more, the Gamecocks are 12-3.

Showing Off the Wheels
South Carolina has recorded 56 stolen bases already in 2011. That total surpasses the 2001 team as the best in a decade. While a hard pace to maintain, it’s worth noting that the Gamecocks have stolen more bases than games played in just three seasons (1992, 1994, 1995). And it’s not one person doing the work on the bases. Six different Gamecocks have tallied four or more stolen bases.

Four of those Gamecocks have nine or more. If all four get into double figures, that would make the 2011 team the first in South Carolina’s recorded history (since 1983) to have four individuals steal 10 or more bases. Only eight times has more than one Gamecock made it to 10+ SB in a year. Sophomore Hannah Milks has already joined the double-digit steals club, most recently visited by Ashton Payne, who swiped 13 in 2007. Junior Lauren Lackey joined Milks with 11 after stealing two at Coastal Carolina on March 22. Sophomore Samie Garcia made it a trio when she stole a base at No. 11 Tennessee on March 26.

The Long Ball Effective for Gamecocks
South Carolina has already hit 15 home runs on the season, more than the high in two of the last three seasons. It has been a big help to the squad this season, as the Gamecocks are 11-3 in games in which they have hit a homer. South Carolina has won just one game in which it did not record at least one triple or one home run. A six-game drought ended at No. 11 Tennessee when Laura Mendes hit her 10th career homer in the first game of the series. Hannah Milks hit the Gamecocks’ first grand slam since 2008 on Sunday, March 27 in Knoxville.

Gamecocks Could Use a Faster Start
Maybe it takes the Gamecocks a little while to get going. Of South Carolina’s 157 runs, only 15 have come in the first inning. The initial frame is also the lowest for the Gamecocks in terms of batting average (.227), on-base percentage (.313) and slugging percentage (.303). Things improved on March 6 at the FAU Miken Classic, as South Carolina posted three first-inning runs in the two games that day. Four more runs came in the first on March 27 at No. 11 Tennessee on Hannah Milks’ grand slam.

The Gamecocks hit best in the sixth, compiling 34 runs with a batting average/on-base percentage/slugging percentage stats of .331/.398/.531. The fifth isn’t bad to the Garnet and Black, either, posting 31 runs with a slash line of .281/.387/.430.

Offensive Onslaughts More Prevalent than Last Three Seasons
On four occasions, South Carolina has tallied 10 or more runs in a game this season. That is one more than the total of 10-or-more run games in the 2008-10 seasons combined, a total of 143 games. The Gamecocks have also shortened four games this season, matching the total from the last three years.

Unlucky So Far
South Carolina has won 17 games already, but its of their specialty stats seem to point towards much better things to come. With runners in scoring position, the Gamecocks have hit .262, ninth-best in the SEC. That includes a 5-for-25 mark with the bases loaded, which stands last. In all situations, South Carolina holds a .272 batting average. If those numbers, especially with the bases loaded, improve, it will be a big help to the Gamecocks going forward. Two of the highest games for a team with runners left on base in the league have been in two of the Gamecocks’ losses (11 against USC Upstate and Winthrop).