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Feb. 5, 2015

10751455.jpeg South Carolina at the Pirate Classic
ECU Softball Stadium – Greenville, N.C.
Fri.-Sun., Feb. 6-8

Gamecock Softball on Facebook

Fri. vs. Longwood – 12:30 PM
Live Audio | | @GamecockSoftbll

Sat. vs. Delaware State – 2 PM
Live Audio | | @GamecockSoftbll

Sat. vs. East Carolina – 4:30 PM
Live Audio | | @GamecockSoftbll

Sun. vs. Longwood – 2 PM
Live Audio | | @GamecockSoftbll

Sun. vs. East Carolina – 4:30 PM
Live Audio | | @GamecockSoftbll

15 SC Softball Notes – 2/5 Get Acrobat Reader

15 SC Softball Bios – 2/5 Get Acrobat Reader

2014 SC Softball Stats – Final Get Acrobat Reader

Feature on Julie Sarratt
Feature on Nickie Blue
Feature on Kristen Struett

Roster Notes

  • Seven position player starters return for the Gamecocks from last year’s squad.
  • In the circle, only 28 innings depart, while the duo of Nickie Blue and Julie Sarratt return after going 35-22 with 11 saves last year.
  • Back from 2014 are team leaders in home runs (Sarah Mooney, 12), runs batted in (Kaylea Snaer, 35), walks (Snaer, 31) and stolen bases (Ansley Ard, 9).
  • SC lost four seniors who combined to start 157 games, including every start at second base and shortstop as well as 54 of 58 starts in right field.
  • The top offensive loss is Ashlyn Masters, who started a team-high 56 games and led the way in 10 categories: at bats (174), batting average (.362), on-base percentage (.447), runs (47), hits (63), doubles (19), triples (3), total bases (112), slugging percentage (.644) and sacrifice flies (3).
  • South Carolina looks to replace highs of 53 percent of its sacrifice hits and sacrifice flies (8 of 15 in both) as well as 51 percent of doubles (42 of 82).
  • In the rest of the offensive categories, the Gamecocks bring back from 53.8 percent (at bats and triples) to 70.7 percent (home runs) of their production from 2014, a season where the Gamecocks set four team offensive records.
  • Seven freshmen join the squad to put the roster at 22 for the second-straight year.
  • The team is dominated by South Carolina natives, with 36.4 percent of the roster (eight players) hailing from the Palmetto State. California is second with four players.
  • The Gamecocks hailed from 10 states this year, with the freshmen coming from California, Delaware, Pennsylvania and the Palmetto State.
  • Nickie Blue and Hayley Copeland are the first Gamecock duo who are both over six-feet tall.

Offensive Records Falling Regularly for Gamecocks Under Smith

  • South Carolina set six team offensive records in 2014, four cumulative and two per-game.
  • The 53 homers, 210 walks, .385 on-base percentage and .464 slugging percentage all topped previous marks.
  • Per-game marks broken include home runs (0.91) and walks (3.62), both set the previous year.
  • Sixteen team single-season records have been set in Smith’s first four years, eight each in both cumulative and per-game stats.
  • Smith’s teams have set the home run and slugging percentage records now in three-straight seasons.
  • The 210 walks snapped a mark (173) set in 1992.

We Schedule Tough

  • The Gamecocks play 24 of their 56 regular-season games against teams who made the 2014 NCAA Tournament.
  • A total of 41 of the Gamecocks’ scheduled games come against teams that finished in the top 100 of the NCAA’s Ratings Percentage Index last year. Of those, 26 are against RPI top-50 teams.
  • Thirty-one games come at home, including non-conference foes UCF, South Alabama and USC Upstate, who all made the NCAA Tournament with RPI’s in the top 30.

And You Can Watch Us Play (At Home and On The Road in SEC Play)

  • All 31 home games will be on either the SEC Network (five games) or on SEC Network + via the WatchESPN app and
  • Also, four road SEC games will be on the SEC Network with the rest on the SEC Network +.
  • The 13 road non-conference games will be streamed live via an audio broadcast for a $10 monthly fee as part of the Gamecocks All-Access page at

Gamecocks Have a Rich History in NCAA Tournament

  • South Carolina earned its 17th bid in the NCAA Tournament in 2014 and its second straight.
  • The Gamecocks are 32-31 in those trips, making three Women’s College World Series in their history (1983, 1989 and 1997).
  • The program has five AIAW World Series trips in its history as well prior to 1982.

South Carolina Staff Has Top Credentials

  • Gamecock head coach Beverly Smith has now been a part of 10 NCAA Tournament teams as a coach (eight at UNC, two at South Carolina).
  • Associate head coach Lisa Navas has been to four NCAA Tournaments as an assistant coach (two at SC, one each at UNC and Missouri) and eight as a head coach (six Division II at Barry, two at NC State). Her 1998 Barry squad played in the national championship game.
  • Assistant coach Calvin Beamon has three titles to his credit, the biggest a College World Series title at Texas during 2005.
  • He also won the NJCAA Division I title in 2003 at the College of Southern Nevada and a high school state championship at Smoky Hill High School in Cherry Creek, Colo.,

Scouting Longwood

  • The Lancers return every regular starter and all of its innings pitched from last year’s team that went 40-16 and finished second in the Big South regular season with a 17-6 mark.
  • Megan Baltzell earned a spot on the USA Softball Player of the Year watch list after hitting .448/.581/.792 with 30 extra-base hits last season, which included 17 doubles and 10 homers.
  • She also ranked second on the team with 15 stolen bases in 20 tries.
  • Emily Murphy had the second-best on-base percentage at .404 but led the squad with 23 stolen bases in 26 attempts.
  • Murphy finished second on the team with seven homers and third with 32 RBI.
  • Chelsea Sciacca has 17 doubles and 35 RBI, both second on the team.
  • Elizabeth McCarthy was Longwood’s top pitcher during her freshman year in `14, fanning 145 batters against 54 walks in 171.2 innings. She held a 1.79 ERA.
  • Libby Morris posted a 2.95 ERA in 166 innings, striking out 90 batters while walking 37.

Ties Between South Carolina and Longwood

Series History vs. the Lancers

  • The Gamecocks are 5-3 all-time against the Lancers, never meeting them at a neutral site until this weekend.

The Last Series – Longwood at South Carolina – April 25-26, 2014

  • The Gamecocks took the first game of the two-game set at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field 14-0 (5) before the Lancers rebounded to win Saturday’s game 1-0 in eight innings.
  • Ansley Ard went 3-for-3 with two doubles, two runs and three RBI to lead the offense on Friday, while Julie Sarratt tossed a five-inning shutout, giving up three hits and four walks while striking out six in the victory.
  • A wild pitch in the eighth ended Nickie Blue’s shutout bid in Saturday’s game, as she fanned nine against five hits and three walks in the complete game.

South Carolina Softball Historical Record

  • South Carolina has played 2,064 games in its softball history, going 1340-717-7 (.651) in its 41st season of sponsorship.
  • With the first game of 2015, Beverly Smith becomes the second Gamecock head coach to coach five seasons at South Carolina, joining NFCA Hall-of-Fame coach Joyce Compton.

Scouting Delaware State

  • The Hornets went 35-17 last year, winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference North Division.
  • Seven starters return, including top-hitters Nicole Gazzola and Sandy Hawthorne.
  • Gazzola stole a team-best 17 bases in 20 tries, while Hawthorne blasted 22 doubles on the season.
  • One loss was Jessica Madrid, who was the third Hornet with a .400 batting average or better who drove in a team-best 41 runs.
  • Jordan Stamps and Rochelle Sablay both return after hitting seven and six homers, respectively.
  • Only one pitcher returns from last year’s squad, but Tara Tursellino had a team-best 1.97 ERA in 124.2 innings, striking out 72 while walking 30.

The Pitchers Reigned Supreme

  • Both Julie Sarratt and Nickie Blue won SEC weekly awards in 2014.
  • Blue had seven saves, tied for the most in 2014 in NCAA Division I and second in a single season at South Carolina, and Sarratt four, tied for fifth in Gamecock history.
  • Both were better in relief (Sarratt 1.12 ERA, Blue 2.01) than starting (Sarratt 3.08, Blue 3.68).
  • The group posted a 29-inning scoreless streak from the final game at Florida Atlantic till the final game of the Gamecock Invitational.
  • Longer than that stretch was the Gamecock pitchers’ no-homer stand, a 72-inning stretch from the 4th against Ohio through the end of the UNC Wilmington game.
  • As a team, the Gamecock pitchers allowed 0.53 homers, 0.08 triples and 0.73 doubles per game, which stood second, sixth and fourth in the league, respectively.
  • The staff gave up 123 runs in the first three innings of games (174 IP) and only 98 runs in the innings 4-7 this season (in 195.2 innings).

Scouting East Carolina

  • The Pirates return only two offensive starters from last year’s 28-20 team that finished sixth in its final year in Conference USA.
  • Picked to finish fifth in a seven-team American Athletic Conference, ECU does return all but 10.1 innings tossed in the circle.
  • Sarah Christian led the way with 181.2 innings, posting a 2.81 ERA with 121 strikeouts and 44 walks.
  • Caroline Umphlette ranked second on the team with 96 innings and a 3.79 ERA, but she walked 56 against 52 strikeouts.
  • Losing their top five offensive starters, the Pirates return Abby Wynne, who ranked second on the team with nine doubles and 28 walks last year.
  • Also back is Casey Alcorn, who hit seven homers, third on the squad.

Ties Between South Carolina and East Carolina

  • Both ECU’s Kelsi Briggs and SC’s Kristen Struett played travel ball with the California Raiders.

Series History vs. the Pirates

  • South Carolina is 19-2 against East Carolina all-time, going 3-1 in games in Greenville.

The Last Meeting – South Carolina at East Carolina – Feb. 12, 2006

  • In the Worth Invitational championship game hosted by Florida Atlantic, South Carolina lost 2-1 to East Carolina on a walk-off home run by Beth Nolan.
  • Lisa Longo went 3-for-3 at the plate, while McKenna Hughes had a home run in the contest.

Gamecocks Picked to Finish 10th in SEC Coaches Preseason Poll

  • In a poll of the SEC coaches, South Carolina was picked to finish 10th in 2015.
  • Last season, the Gamecocks finished in a tie for eighth, three spots better than what the league’s coaches predicted in the preseason.
  • Of note, all nine teams picked ahead of South Carolina appear in both national rankings.
  • Defending national champion Florida was the coaches’ selection to take the 2015 league crown.
  • The past two years, the SEC has sent 11 teams into the NCAA Tournament, with two of the last three NCAA Champions hailing from the league.

Awards Poured in for 2014 Gamecocks

  • Gamecocks Nickie Blue and Kaylea Snaer both garnered spots on the SEC All-Freshman Team as voted on by the league’s coaches.
  • It’s the first time since 2008 for South Carolina to received multiple people on any combination of the SEC’s postseason awards.
  • Snaer (3rd team 1B) was joined by Ashlyn Masters (2nd team DP/U/Non-P) on the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) All-Southeast Region squads.
  • Chelsea Hawkins gained a spot on the 2014 SEC Softball Community Service Team, while Julie Sarratt made last year’s.
  • Both Masters and Kristen Struett claimed spots on the 2014 Tallahassee All-Regional Team.
  • Blue started the team’s weekly recognition haul with her Feb. 24 SEC Freshman of the Week win.
  • Sarratt garnered SEC Pitcher of the Week honors on March 17 after helping the Gamecocks take the series from nationally-ranked Texas A&M.
  • Masters (March 31) and Codee Yeske (May 5) both won SEC Player of the Week awards, the first time since 2005 the team had won two in a year.
  • Blue also earned a spot on the first listing of 25 for the NFCA’s inaugural National Freshman of the Year award.

Blue Best in Big Games

  • Nickie Blue garnered a spot on the inaugural NFCA Division I Freshman of the Year listing of the 25 finalists.
  • Her seven saves stood atop the NCAA Division I stat rankings.
  • Blue led the SEC in two categories: saves (7) and wild pitches (19).
  • When Blue pitches, she’s produced double the ground-ball outs (253) versus fly outs (123).
  • Lefties had more trouble against Blue with two strikes, hitting .173 (24-of-139) (and .221 overall)with 57 of her strikeouts against lefty batters in 133 less at-bats than vs. righties.
  • Blue earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors on Feb. 24 after picking up a win and two saves in relief as well as her first career shutout vs. Michigan State.
  • Her top-two wins on the season were complete-game victories at ranked opponents in the 3-2 victory at No. 3/3 Arizona State and the 1-0 triumph at No. 15/17 Georgia.
  • Against the Bulldogs, Blue struck out a career-best seven and held UGA to its lowest hit total of the season to that date, allowing only three.
  • She also tossed a shutout in the 8-0 (5) win over No. –/24 LSU (4/20).

Savvy Veteran Sarratt Striking Down Foes

  • Julie Sarratt picked up SEC Pitcher of the Week honors on March 17 after going 2-0 with a save the week prior, which included a complete-game, nine-strikeout win over No. 13/15 Texas A&M.
  • Last year’s leader in wins, ERA, innings pitched and strikeouts, Sarratt has 12 career marks in South Carolina’s top 15 after her third year active on the roster.
  • Sarratt’s fanned 140 batters in 170.1 innings, a rate (5.75 K/7IP), over a strikeout better her career standard (4.56 K/7IP) entering the year.
  • Sarratt struck out a career-high 10 in the win over Maryland, while she sat down nine in her complete-game victory over No. 13/15 Texas A&M, her best in an SEC game.
  • She was at her best with two strikes against right-handed hitters, holding them to a .155 batting average (30-of-193) with 85 of her K’s in those circumstances.

Snaer Drove The Middle of the Order

  • Kaylea Snaer started the first 46 games of her freshman year (2014) before an arm injury took her out of the lineup for three weeks, returning to start all three games of the Tallahassee Regional.
  • While out, the Gamecocks managed to go 6-3 without their RBI (35) and walks (31) leader.
  • She had eight homers (T-7th) and 31 walks (T-5th), both in SC’s top 10 in a season.
  • The first freshman to lead the Gamecocks in RBI since Jill Semento in 2008, Snaer earned third-team All-Southeast Region honors from the NFCA at first base.
  • Earning a spot on the SEC All-Freshman Team, she had 14 hits in 20 league games, with nine going for extra bases (4 2B, 5 HR).
  • Snaer’s posted two or more hits 11 times and multiple RBI in 12 games, the latter tops on the team.
  • Eighteen of Snaer’s 35 RBI came with two outs.