Gamecock Softball Faces Daunting 2017 Schedule
Oct. 26, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina Head Softball Coach Beverly Smith has put together the toughest test yet for her Gamecocks in 2017, as her 56-game schedule is released today.
The Gamecocks are slated to have 33 games against teams that played in the 2016 NCAA Tournament, facing at least one foe from that list in all but one weekend of the season. That includes 18 games against teams in last year’s Super Regionals and 15 against Women’s College World Series teams, as the Gamecocks face six of the eight who advanced to Oklahoma City last season.
Opening the year at home, the Garnet and Black bring in familiar foes for the Carolina Classic over Feb. 10-12, including last year’s Big South Tournament champs Longwood as well as Mid-American Tournament finalist Ohio. The next weekend, the Gamecocks open their trip to the Lone Star State by facing the Texas Longhorns as part of the event in Austin. Two games each against Indiana and Louisiana Tech round out that weekend trip. The next week sees the Gamecocks travel to Chapel Hill to face North Carolina on Wed., Feb. 22 before hosting the Gamecock Invitational against the College of Charleston and North Dakota State, who captured the 2016 Summit League title.
The final event before Southeastern Conference play begins will be the best prep for that grind, as the Gamecocks fly to Fullerton, Calif., for the Judi Garman Classic. The three-day, five-game tourney pits the Gamecocks against four NCAA Touranment teams, including WCWS participant UCLA on Sunday.
The SEC slate, always tough, is made tougher by the appearance of four WCWS teams, five who made Super Regionals and seven who played in the NCAA Tournament. That includes trips to Tennessee (March 10-12), Alabama (March 24-26) and Georgia (April 28-30) and visits from Florida (March 17-19), Texas A&M (April 1-3), Auburn (April 21-23) and LSU (May 5-7). Only A&M was not a national seed in the 2016 tourney of that slate. The Gamecocks also face Mississippi State (April 7-9) in a road series, taking on a team that finished 39th in the final RPI from the NCAA and a program that has earned 11 NCAA Tournament bids, including four straight from 2012-15.
The non-conference schedule also includes visits to Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field for WCWS participant and the team that eliminated the Gamecocks from last year’s tourney, Florida State (April 14-15) and a host of in-state rivals, including defending Atlantic Sun Tourney champ USC Upstate (March 15).
Season tickets for Gamecock Softball’s 32 home games are $25 for adults and $10 for youth 17 and under. That includes general-admission tickets to every game of the home tournaments. More details on season tickets will be released on a future date.