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April 10, 2011

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina looks to get back on the right side of .500 with a pair of non-conference games this week, hosting Coastal Carolina at 4 p.m. on Monday before traveling to USC Upstate for a 5 p.m. game on Wednesday. Live audio feeds for both contests can be found at

Scouting the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
Coastal stands at 16-22 after winning their Big South series against Winthrop this weekend. Brooke Donovan and Chelsea Pineda lead the team in hitting, with Pineda topping the squad with a .405 on-base percentage and four home runs. Jessie Winans and Jazmin Daigle lead the Chanticleers in runs batted in. However, defense is an issue, with Coastal committing 49 errors on the year.

In the circle, Ashley Bagwell holds a 3.00 ERA and an 8-9 record. Michelle Evans is 5-8 with a 3.54 ERA.

Series History Versus the Chanticleers
South Carolina owns a 48-6 mark all-time against Coastal, including two wins this year. The Chanticleers spoiled the Gamecocks’ final home game of 2010, however, on April 21.

Last Meeting vs. Coastal – March 22, 2011
A dynamic offensive performance led South Carolina to a 9-0 win in six innings over intrastate rival Coastal Carolina at the CCU Softball Field. South Carolina pounded out 12 hits, including three for extra bases. Gamecock freshman second baseman Dana Hathorn led the attack with three RBI and hit her first career triple in a 2-for-3 day at the plate. Junior centerfielder Lauren Lackey also went 2-for-3 and matched Hathorn with two runs scored. Junior leftfielder Kaitlin Westfall plated two runs, while freshman Chelsea Hawkins posted her first two-hit day. For the Chanticleers, Brooke Donovan and Chelsea Pineda both had two hits.

Scouting the USC Upstate Spartans
The Spartans are 34-9 on the season, sweeping an Atlantic Sun doubleheader most recently at Stetson. At home, USC Upstate holds a 22-4 mark. Janna Lewis leads a strong Spartan lineup with a .483 on-base percentage and a .387 batting average. Lauren Quevedo has hit .a team-best 11 home runs and driven in a team-high 37 runs, while Katie Zauner is second in both categories with 7 homers and 37 RBI. The Spartans are solid in the field, posting a fielding percentage of .976 and committing just 26 errors.

Morgan Childers leads Upstate in the circle with a 24-5 record. She holds a 1.40 ERA and has struck out 296 batters, walking just 40, in 174.2 innings. Opponents hit just .157 against her. Childers has thrown every inning of the series against the Gamecocks, but she does have a capable No. 2 pitcher behind her in Hannah Alexander. She’s struck out 87 in 96.2 innings, posting a 10-4 record with a 1.52 ERA.

Series History Versus the Spartans
The Spartans own a 3-1 advantage in the series, winning three straight dating back to last season. USC Upstate won the only previous meeting at Cyrill Stadium, 5-0, on April 14, 2010.

Last Meeting vs. USC Upstate – Feb. 13, 2011
Despite a three-hit outing from sophomore shortstop Samie Garcia, South Carolina could not solve USC Upstate’s Morgan Childers, as the Spartans took home a 3-2 win over the Gamecocks, claiming the 2011 Palmetto State Showdown title. Garcia led the Gamecocks with those three hits while adding an RBI. Senior catcher P.J. Fulmer added an RBI while going 2-for-2 with a double. Childers went the distance, tossing 140 pitches while striking out 12 and allowing two earned runs on eight hits and two walks. Katie Zauner, the tournament’s MVP, drove in all three Spartan runs during her 2-for-4 day.

Carolina in the Month of April
Since 1984, the Gamecocks are 349-201-1 (.634) 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 19 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. At 39 games into the 2011 season, the Gamecocks have already surpassed their 2010 total in runs, hits, triples, home runs, hit-by-pitches, stolen bases and sacrifice flies. The Garnet and Black have a batting average that is 60 points better than last year (.276-.216), an on-base percentage 69 points improved (.356-.287) and a slugging percentage 112 points better (.400-.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 160 times in 39 games. That’s second in the SEC for the fewest team K’s. The Gamecocks have benefited, hitting .309 on balls in play.

South Carolina Confident with Two Runs Scored
The Gamecocks own a 18-10 record when they score two runs or more in a game. That includes a 16-6 mark when posting three or more.

The Speed Proves Its Worth When Not There
South Carolina has gone 3-11 in games when it has not stolen a base. When swiping two or more, the Gamecocks are 13-4.