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Feb. 12, 2015

Gamecock Invitational Tournament Central

South Carolina hosts the Gamecock Invitational
Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field
Fri.-Sat., Feb. 13-14

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Fri. vs. Appalachian State – 1:30 PM
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Fri. vs. Presbyterian – 4 PM
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Sat. vs. North Carolina – 3 PM
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Sat. vs. College of Charleston – 5:30 PM

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

Gamecock Invitational Schedule Adjusted Due to Freeze Concerns

  • With temperatures not scheduled to rise much above freezing on Sunday, South Carolina officials revised the Gamecock Invitational schedule.
  • South Carolina will play four games in the event, twice on Friday and Saturday, with the four teams traveling in playing three times each.
  • Appalachian State and Presbyterian have two games each on Friday, while College of Charleston and North Carolina play twice on Saturday.

Offense Struggles in Two Straight Losses

  • In the second East Carolina game and the home opener vs. UCF, the Gamecocks did not have a single extra-base hit after posting at least two and as many as seven in the first four games, all wins.
  • Another common stat in the losses, the AAC foes hit a triple to start the first in each.

Opening Weekend Notes

  • South Carolina went 4-1 in the Pirate Classic, posting 10 runs or more in three of its first four games for the second time in three years (2013 Stetson Lead-Off Classic).
  • Both Nickie Blue and Julie Sarratt posted two wins and one shutout in the tourney, with Blue adding a save.
  • Blue joined Alaynie Page and Taylor Williams on the Pirate Classic All-Tournament Team.
  • The junior Page hit a team-best .500 while also leading the squad with seven runs and eight RBI out of the leadoff spot, four coming on a grand slam vs. Delaware State.
  • Williams hit two home runs in the 11-2 win over East Carolina on Saturday night, matching a program record.
  • Gamecocks Effie Manahan, Kate Shereyk and Kamryn Watts all posted their first career hits on RBI singles in the tourney, while Caroline Cash also tallied her first hit.
  • Junior Jordan Bizzell was never retired while at bat in the event, scoring five runs while walking five times and going 3-for-3 with a double and a home run.

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 hail 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.

Watch Us Play on the SEC Network + (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

Scouting Appalachian State

  • The Mountaineers return five position starters from last year’s 19-32 team.
  • Picked last in the Sun Belt preseason poll, ASU went 1-3 in the Plainsman Invite at Auburn last weekend, with two losses coming in shortened games.
  • Cynthia Gomez led the returners from last year’s squad with a .341 batting average.
  • Dani Heichen hit .333 and stole 18 bases a year ago, and she’s got a hit in all four games this season.
  • Cara Parker had 10 home runs, nine doubles and 29 RBI, all marks tying or standing as team bests.
  • Caroline Chambers hit .556 at Auburn last weekend, leading the team in most offensive stats.
  • Vanessa Ciocatto tossed 10 innings in her first weekend for the Mountaineers, tallying 10 K’s against five walks.
  • Ciocatto transferred from Delaware State, where she posted a 2.10 ERA in a team-high 140.1 innings. She struck out 76 batters and walked 35 as a freshman for the Hornets.

Ties Between South Carolina and Appalachian State

  • ASU’s Haley Stewart, Kristen Taylor and Kaitlin Williford as well as SC’s Sarah Mooney played for the Carolina Cardinals travel-ball group.

Series History vs. the Mountaineers

  • The Gamecocks own a 2-0 lead in the series, with both games coming in Columbia.

The Last Meeting – Appalachian State at South Carolina – April 3, 2013

  • The Gamecocks won 5-0 at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field.
  • Julie Sarratt tossed five shutout innings while striking out four in the victory.
  • Two Gamecocks had 2-for-3 days, including Kristen Struett, who also added two RBI and a run scored.

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.

Scouting Presbyterian

  • Seven position starters and all the innings from last year’s 26-26 team return for the Blue Hose, who are under second-year head coach Britne Stubbs.
  • Presbyterian went 2-1 at a tournament at Campbell, beating East Tennessee State 6-5 in one win.
  • Jill McLean and Kersten Legacki return after leading the team in most categories a season ago.
  • Legacki tied with fellow returners Hope Rogers and Erin Ruff with eight homers each.
  • McLean tallied seven triples and went 10-for-12 in stolen bases, while Ruff added eight steals in as many tries.
  • Shelby Petik slapped 14 doubles a year ago, most on the team.
  • Sydney Seigler was the workhorse in the circle last year, tossing 134 innings, fanning 87 while walking 27.
  • Kensley Loudermelk threw 11.2 innings at Campbell, posting a 6.00 ERA.

Ties Between South Carolina and Presbyterian

  • PC’s Sydney Seigler and Jordan Ashley played for Carolina Elite during the summers, a group that has produced five current Gamecocks (Jordan Bizzell, Caroline Cash, Alaynie Page, Macey Webb and Krystan White).
  • PC’s Ashlyn Durham played for the same Carolina Crush group that produced SC’s Julie Sarratt.
  • The Blue Hoses’ Erin Taylor served as a manager in the fall of 2011 for the Gamecocks before transferring to Clinton to play for Presbyterian

Series History vs. the Blue Hose

  • The Gamecocks have taken all four meetings previously against Presbyterian, all SC home games.

The Last Meeting – Presbyterian at South Carolina – April 1, 2014

  • The Gamecocks won 8-0 in five innings as the second game of a split doubleheader.
  • Julie Sarratt tossed a two-hit shutout while striking out six.
  • Lauren Masters went 2-for-2 with two runs and two RBI, while Victoria Williams hit a homer and drove in four.

Scouting North Carolina

  • Eight position starters are back for the Tar Heels, who went 24-26 in 2014.
  • Aquilla Mateen led the squad with a .412 batting average and 19 stolen bases in 24 tries last year.
  • Jenna Kelly joined Mateen with an on-base percentage better than .450, with Kelly posting 11 home runs and 39 RBI, both third on the team.
  • Kristen Brown had 12 home runs and a team-best 45 RBI, hitting .335.
  • The Tar Heels are trying to replace Lori Spingola, who tossed 185 of the 2014 team’s 329 innings.
  • Kendra Lynch (2.50 ERA, 14 IP) and Kaylee Carlson (4.88 ERA, 14.1 IP) have done the bulk of the work in the early going of 2015.

Ties Between South Carolina and North Carolina

  • Gamecock head coach Beverly Smith played for and coached with UNC leader Donna Papa for years in Chapel Hill. Papa also hired SC associate head coach Lisa Navas for her staff for two years.
  • UNC’s Jenna Kelly came from the same SoCal A’s group that produced Gamecocks Kaylea Snaer and Hayley Copeland.

Series History vs. the Tar Heels

  • The Gamecocks own a 48-13 lead in the series, including a 29-4 mark at home.

The Last Meeting – South Carolina at North Carolina – March 21, 2012

  • North Carolina took an 8-0 (5) win in the last contest at Anderson Stadium in Chapel Hill.
  • Four Gamecocks reached base in the contest, three on walks and another on a hit-by-pitch.
  • Both teams retain one player who started in that game, SC’s Olivia Lawrence and UNC’s Jordan Scarboro. Both went 0-for-2 with a strikeout.

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 College of Charleston

  • Seven position starters are back from the Cougars’ 40-16 team a year ago.
  • Also back are the three of the College’s top pitchers from last year.
  • Hope Klicker had a team-high 178.1 innings, posting a 2.75 ERA with 135 strikeouts against 34 walks.
  • Samantha Martin fanned 112 batters in 115.2 innings while walking 31 with a 1.88 ERA.
  • The Cougars are trying to replace Lizzy Vaughn as a top-of-the-order threat (.369 average, 12-for-12 stolen bases) and the power of Kelsey Hodgson (8 home runs, 28 RBI).
  • Mackenzie Maples had 12 doubles and 32 RBI a season ago, both tying for the team lead.
  • Rebecca Mueller is an all-around threat, stealing eight bags and posting eight doubles among her 2014 numbers.
  • Freshman Taylor Dupree stole two bases and hit .500 in her first weekend as a Cougar.

Ties Between South Carolina and College of Charleston

  • Two of College of Charleston’s coaches played at South Carolina: pitching coach Ashley Chastain (2009-11) and assistant coach Kelley Dillon (2011-13)
  • Both C of C’s Dupree and SC’s Lauren Masters went to Greenbriar HS in Evans, Ga.
  • Cougar Katie Parker played at Hartsville HS with Gamecock Jordan Bizzell.

Series History vs. the Cougars

  • The Gamecocks own an 8-1 lead in the series, including a 6-0 mark at home.

The Last Meeting – South Carolina at College of Charleston – Feb. 8, 2009

  • The College of Charleston won a 2-1 contest at Patriots Point Park in the last meeting, despite SC’s Laura Mendes going 3-for-4 with a double.

South Carolina Softball Historical Record

  • South Carolina has played 2,070 games in its softball history, going 1344-719-7 (.651) in its 41st season of sponsorship.
  • With the first game of 2015, Beverly Smith becomes the second person to serve as the Gamecocks’ coach for five seasons at South Carolina, joining NFCA Hall-of-Fame coach Joyce Compton.

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.
  • UCF (American), Florida State (Atlantic Coast), USC Upstate (Atlantic Sun) and Coastal Carolina (Big South) won their leagues’ regular-season last season.

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.

This Is How Tough 2014 Was (Especially in the SEC)

  • When looking at last year’s RPI, the Gamecocks went 13-19 against top-100 RPI teams during regular-season play, with the only loss outside of the top 100 coming to Maryland (147).
  • South Carolina rebounded to beat Maryland the next day.
  • Overall, South Carolina was 7-17 against RPI top-50 squads.
  • South Carolina played 11 of the 63 other teams in the NCAA Tournament in the regular season, going 9-16 against those squads.
  • Six of those 11 were SEC foes, teams that the Gamecocks went 6-12 against during the year.
  • Five opponents earned national seeds, with the Gamecocks posting a 2-10 mark against them (No. 2 Alabama, No. 4 Georgia, No. 9 Arizona State, No. 10 Tennessee, No. 16 Minnesota).

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).

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.

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.