Feb. 27, 2017
Gamecock Softball: A Day in the Life
Superwomen to Be Honored by Gamecock Softball
Taylor Williams Driven by Family’s Sacrifices to Succeed
Victoria Williams Finds Her True Colors
SEC Corporate Career Tour Offers Unique Opportunity for Student-Athletes
Strength of SEC Softball is a Point of Pride for Gamecocks
Law School the Next Step in Webb’s Dedication to Help Others
Softball Alumni and Military Veterans Raise Awareness for Wounded Heroes
Gamecock Alums Rally Around Teammate After Louisiana Floods
Study Abroad Provides Unique Opportunities for Gamecock Softball Duo
Kaylea Snaer – 2016 NCAA Division I Doubles Leader
Gamecock Freshmen Build Connection before Columbia
Unique Recruiting Trip Impacts Future Gamecocks
Accountability Program for Gamecock Softball
Augustus Honing Leadership Skills
20-Year Anniversary of the First SEC Champs
Winthrop and South Carolina Meet for Tuesday Afternoon Doubleheader
Meetings No. 58 and 59 in the series between South Carolina and Winthrop are slated for Tuesday afternoon at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field.
First pitch is set for 3 p.m. for the twinbill between the Gamecocks and Eagles, with live stats on Gamecocks.StatBroadcast.com and video on SEC Network + on Watch ESPN.
Augustus Plays Big Role in SC Sweeping Through Gamecock Invitational
Junior Jordyn Augustus did a little of everything in her four starts during the Gamecock Invitational, helping South Carolina win all four of its games in the event.
With an illness sidelining everyday starter Kamryn Watts on Friday and Saturday, Augustus put on an infielder’s glove and started three games at third base, making two errors in 12 chances.
To close out the weekend-opening win, she fielded three straight balls flawlessly in the seventh.
She brought in the game-winning run in the first outing against North Dakota State with a sacrifice fly before scoring the game-winner in the second outing against the Bison.
In that second game, she put down a bunt single, stole second and scored on Kennedy Clark’s RBI single.
She capped the weekend with a 2-for-2 day, stealing two bases, scoring twice, driving in two runs while reaching base in all four plate appearances, also reaching via walk and hit-by-pitch.
Overall, she batted .429 with a .500 on-base percentage and four stolen bases in the tournament.
White Leading the Offense in Early Part of 2017
Krystan White enters the fourth week of play with a .382 batting average and 13 RBI, both best on the team.
Much like in her 2016 season, the junior from Chesterfield, S.C., opened up eyes with her bat in her first chance to start.
She had a perfect opening day, going 2-for-2 against both Ohio and Presbyterian.
Three of the four hits went for extra bases: the homer joined with a double against the Bobcats and another double against the Blue Hose.
She also showed her versatility, starting at both second and third while making stellar plays at both.
She added a team-best five RBI during the Texas Invitational, starting all four games.
One of two shortstops in 2015, she drew 46 starts and played all four spots in the infield in 2016.
Also in 2016, she led the team both in opportunies (21) and RBI (15) with runners on third and less than two outs.
Snaer Back to Threaten More Records
First baseman Kaylea Snaer ended 2016 with 27 doubles, leading the nation and tying for fourth in a single season in NCAA Division I history with five others.
The senior produced a strong weekend in Texas, hitting a team-best .417 in the four games while blasting her first two home runs of the year along with a double.
Snaer earned a spot on the 2016 CoSIDA Academic All-District 4 team, the 17th Gamecock to garner selection.
Snaer came through with big home runs twice to help the Gamecocks down ranked teams.
With two outs, two on and on an 0-2 count, Snaer hit her sixth homer of the year to tie the game against No. 17/15 Missouri, a game SC won an inning later on Taylor Williams’ pinch-hit homer.
Snaer also hit the game-winning home run in the eighth against No. 12/12 Georgia on Monday, March 21, clinching the series win.
She entered her senior year ranking first in SC history in doubles per game and walks per game and second in RBI per game.
Blue Starting to Climb Gamecock Pitching Charts
Senior Nickie Blue claimed South Carolina’s saves record with a two-inning shutout showing on Fri., Feb. 24 against North Dakota State.
Already in 2017, Blue’s also moved up in innings pitched, wins, shutouts and strikeouts. Blue became the fourth Gamecock pitcher in history with back-to-back 200-inning years, joining Angie Lear (1990-91), Darlene Gareis (3 years, 1992-94) and Megan Matthews (4 years, 1999-2002) on that list.
In 2015, Blue posted over 200 innings in the circle and an ERA under 2.00, one of two in the SEC to post such numbers (Lauren Haeger of Florida the other).
After her drop ball produced ground outs at a 65 percent rate (506-269) in her first two years on campus, Blue used a rise more often in 2016 but still tallied a 57 percent (271-203) ground-out rate.
The Schedule Has Never Been Tougher
The 2017 schedule is the toughest compiled to date by head coach Beverly Smith.
The Gamecocks are set to play 33 of their 56 regular-season games against teams who made the 2016 NCAA Tournament.
South Carolina is scheduled to play at least one NCAA Tournament team each weekend except for one: the SEC trip to Mississippi State, who ended 2016 with a 39 RPI and was ineligible for postseason play (26-31 record).
On the docket are 15 games against Women’s College World Series teams and another three against last year’s top seed in the NCAA Tournament (and defending SEC champs), Florida, who lost in super regional play to Georgia.
A total of 46 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, 42 are against the top 76 teams and 33 are versus the top 50.
The Gamecocks play four defending regular-season conference champs: Florida (SEC), Florida State (ACC), Longwood (Big South) and North Dakota State (Summit) as well as the Atlantic Sun (USC Upstate) and SEC (Auburn) Tournament champs from 2016.
Of the preseason top 25 in both major polls, the Gamecocks are slated to take on nine of them, including four of the top five and eight of the top 10 (seven in the NFCA poll).
Seven of those nine are in SEC play, accounting for 21 games.
South Carolina, who had 13 points in the NFCA/USA Today Preseason poll, also has five games against teams receiving votes in between the two polls.
Gamecock Newcomers, Signees Have Loads of Accolades, Accomplishments
Many Gamecocks have won awards at South Carolina, but the high school accolades continue to raise the specter of Bev Smith’s recruiting classes.
This year’s freshman class has two high school All-Americans on it: Mackenzie Boesel and Cayla Drotar.
The team also added its third NJCAA All-American under Bev Smith, signing Shannon Plese out of Chattanooga State.
Plese follows in the footsteps of former Tigers Melissa Hendon and Kaela Jackson (herself a former NJCAA All-American) and joins 2015 NJCAA Pitcher of the Year Jessica Elliott on the roster.
Drotar also claimed the South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year award the past three seasons, and next year, two-time New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year Kelsey Oh will join them.
All the awards for the Gamecocks and the national notations for the 2018 signing class are on page four of the notes.
Meanwhile, Gamecock signee Alex Fulmer has racked up notoriety on the baseball diamond, playing for the last two years with the USA Baseball Women’s National Team.
She played on teams that won the 2015 Pan American Games gold medal as well as the consolation bracket of the 2016 World Baseball Softball Confederation World Cup.
Fulmer and Oh were joined by Jana Johns, Victoria Galvan and Alyssa Kumiyama in the 2018 signing class.
Gamecocks Post Stellar Opening Weekend in Carolina Classic
South Carolina showed excellence in every aspect of the 2017 Carolina Classic, going 5-0 in the event.
The five wins pushed head coach Beverly Smith to 200 career victories, a new milestone for the seventh-year boss of the Gamecocks.
The Gamecocks won three of the five games in shortened contests, the most ever in an opening week of competition. and matching last year’s Carolina Classic output.
The defense looked outstanding, with several stellar plays coming from the infield, that sports former shortstops in three spots (Maguire, Watts and White as freshman at SC, Boesel in high school).
The team did not commit an error on the weekend, a five-game stretch. Only Toledo was able to match that in NCAA Division I through an opening five-game weekend this season.
Last season, the Gamecocks had one six-game stretch without an error (Feb. 20-26).
That helped the pitchers post a 0.23 ERA, which ranks sixth in NCAA Division I.
The group posted two one-hitters and a shutout streak of 27.2 innings, the longest since a 29-inning stretch in 2014 (Feb. 16-23).
Four straight shutouts began the year, the first time that has been accomplished by a Gamecock team. The 1983, 1984 and 1986 teams all tallied three.
South Carolina Softball Historical Record
South Carolina has played 2,199 games in its softball history, going 1428-764-7 (.651) in its 41st season of sponsorship.
Bigger Debut Weekend? Debatable Between Boesel, Drotar
Two Gamecock freshmen made their presences felt during their first weekend in the Garnet and Black.
A three-time South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year, Cayla Drotar started twice in the circle and posted a 0.70 ERA in 10 innings, posting a stellar 10-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Her first career start came in game two against Presbyterian, and she proceeded to twirl a one-hitter.
That beginning harkens back to another in-state pitcher’s debut back in 2011, when Julie Sarratt no-hit Coastal Carolina in her first go in the circle.on Feb. 12, 2011.
Meanwhile, Boesel hit one of the team’s two triples in the first Presbyterian win and has four RBI, tied for second on the squad.
Her last RBI came in the clutch, as her ground ball drove in the deciding run in the 2-1 win over Charlotte.
Leading the Gamecocks’ 14 returners is the senior pitching duo Nickie Blue and Jessica Elliott.
The duo combined for all 61 starts, 390.1 innings, 246 strikeouts, 37 wins and all eight saves.
Six position player starters return for the Gamecocks from last year’s squad.
South Carolina lost five students who combined to start 215 games, including a majority of starts at catcher, second base, left and center field.
The highest percentage lost in any offensive category is stolen bases at 75 percent, followed by triples at 66.7 and sacrifice hits at 50.
The Gamecocks return around 60 percent of its offense in most other categories, including 74.4 percent of their doubles to 71.7 percent of their home runs.
The top hitter from last year is back, senior Kaylea Snaer, as she led NCAA Division I in doubles and SC in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, hits, RBI and sacrifice flies.
Six newcomers could play in 2017, three signees and three transfers.
Leading that contingent is former first-team All-Big Ten catcher Alyssa VanDerveer (Penn State), while high school All-Americans Mackenzie Boesel and Cayla Drotar both could be major contributors.
Also joining the team are a pair of award-winning outfielders: two-time 2016 Big Ten Freshman of the Week Lauren Stewart (Purdue) and two-time NJCAA All-American Shannon Plese (Chattanooga State).
The sixth newcomer, freshman Alexis Lindsey, will likely miss the year to rehabilitate an injury.
The Gamecocks hail from 12 states this year, with the newcomers coming from California, Georgia, New Jersey, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Nickie Blue and Hayley Copeland are the first Gamecock duo who are both over six-feet tall.
While both are Williams’ and seniors by class, Taylor and Victoria are not sisters.
Gamecocks Have a Rich NCAA Tournament History
South Carolina earned its 19th bid in the NCAA Tournament in 2016, the fourth straight under head coach Beverly Smith.
The Gamecocks are 37-41 in those trips, making three NCAA 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.
Last season’s regional was SC’s fourth trip to a regional in Tallahassee and the third-straight year the Gamecocks drove to Florida’s capital city.
The Eagles look much improved from last year’s 15-43 team, already posting a 9-5 mark this season.
Seven starters are back for Winthrop, the biggest thus far being Maddie Antone, who missed last season.
The redshirt junior leads the team in many categories, including with her two homers and 16 RBI.
Freshman Ashley Westbrooks, in 10 starts, has hit .393 with a pair of triples.
Paige Haley is one of three Eagles with four doubles and ranks second on the team with nine RBI.
In total, four Eagles hit north of .350: Antone (.412), Westbrooks (.393), Haley (.391) and Brooke Ellison (.375).
Leah Young has drawn nine walks while hitting two homers and posting eight RBI, while she also has four stolen bases in as many tries.
Last year’s ace in the circle, Kiley Majette, leads the way again in innings, strikeouts and wins.
Keleigh Romine has added help from Madyson Watson as Majette’s backup in the circle, with the freshman Watson striking out more batters than Romine.
Common Foes of the Gamecocks and Eagles
Both teams own wins over another in-state competitor College of Charleston. The Eagles beat the Cougars 2-1 on Feb. 19, while the Gamecocks won twice over the College last weekend.
Ties Between South Carolina and Winthrop
While travel-ball teams aren’t listed on Winthrop’s bios, it’s safe to say the four Palmetto State natives at South Carolina are familiar with many of the nine SC natives among Winthrop’s group.
That includes Eagle sophomore Brooke Ellison, who graduated from the same Palmetto High in Williamston, S.C., that produced Gamecock senior Victoria Williams.
SC Series History vs. the Eagles
The in-state rivals have met 57 times previously, with South Carolina winning 48 of them.
In Columbia, the Gamecocks have taken 30 of 32 recorded meetings.
Gamecocks Know A Lot About the Big South
The proximity of the Big South Conference schools to Columbia lends to South Carolina playing many of its members in non-conference competition.
Winthrop stands as the third Big South foe to venture to Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field this year after defending league champ Longwood and Presbyterian.
Two more are slated to come this spring: Gardner-Webb (March 21) and Charleston Southern (April 18).
The Gamecocks are 100-13-1 all-time against the eight current league members that sponsor softball, including 3-0 this season.
Gamecocks Off the Diamond
The Gamecocks post their third-highest team GPA in the past 10 years last spring (3.456).
Fourteen Gamecocks garnered NFCA Scholar-Athlete honors in 2015-16, the most under Beverly Smith.
Kaylea Snaer became the 17th Gamecock selected to CoSIDA’s Academic All-District team in 2016, a year after Victoria Williams made the squad.
Off the 2016 roster of 20 students, 17 Gamecocks earned SEC Academic Honor Roll nods.
Senior Macey Webb has been accepted to law school and wants to help women in need.
Junior Jordyn Augustus went through the University’s Carolina Leadership Initiative in 2015-16.
Snaer participated in the first SEC Corporate Career Tour this Dec. in Atlanta.
Gamecock freshmen Mackenzie Boesel, Cayla Drotar and Alexis Lindsey, during their official visit in the fall of 2015, joined the team and community helping Columbia recover from the historic floods that devastated the Midlands in October of 2015.
The softball team has won the department’s Community Outreach Team of the Year twice under Bev Smith in 2011 and 2013.
Former Gamecocks have played a big part in helping out the Louisville Slugger Warriors team made up of former military veterans.
South Carolina Staff Has Top Credentials
Gamecock head coach Beverly Smith has been a part of 12 NCAA Tournament teams as a coach (eight at UNC, four at South Carolina).
Associate head coach Lisa Navas has been to six NCAA Tournaments as an assistant coach (four 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 as a player, 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.
Volunteer assistant Matt Stewart worked the past three years at Florida, serving as a manager for both of the Gators’ national title wins.
Offensive Records Falling Regularly for Gamecocks under Smith
In head coach Beverly Smith’s first six years, the Gamecocks broke team offensive records 25 times (tracked on page 14 in these notes).
The 2016 team broke the HBP (85) mark and finished second in on-base percentage (.387), tied for second in doubles (82), third in walks per game (2.80), third in sacrifice flies (20) and fourth in walks (171).
Smith’s teams set the home run and slugging percentage records in four-straight seasons (2012-15) and the on-base percentage mark in three straight (2013-15).
While not a record, the Gamecocks have hit .291 over the past six seasons, 75 points higher than the year before Smith came to Columbia.
Gamecock Pitching Making Strides
Beverly Smith’s pupils in the circle improved greatly in her first six seasons.
The 2016 team posted a 2.82 ERA, the best mark for a Gamecock team since 2008.
The staff backed this by lowering its home runs allowed to 23, 20 less than the 2015 team’s total.
Gamecock pitching improved its strikeout-to-walk ratio in each year from 2013-15.
Nickie Blue, who led the nation in saves as a freshman, became the fourth Gamecock to post consecutive 200-inning seasons in 2015-16.
In 2015, she posted over 200 innings in the circle and an ERA under 2.00, one of two in the SEC to post such numbers (All-American Lauren Haeger of Florida the other).
Fielding Has Jumped Leaps and Bounds, Too
Beverly Smith’s teams have improved their fielding percentage in each of the last four years as well, coinciding with the team’s winning ascent.
The 2016 Gamecocks finished third in program history with a .972 fielding percentage, which ranked third in the SEC and 20th in NCAA Division I.
In the SEC era, 10 of the best fielding percentages in a single season in the position categories have been recorded by Smith’s players.
Clark Leading Gamecock Newcomers at the Plate
Outfielder Kennedy Clark started all but two games during her freshman campaign.
She ended the year second on the team in on-base percentage (.430), doubles (11) and walks (26)while tying for third with four home runs and standing third with 36 RBI.
That OBP is the best in South Carolina history for a freshman, topping Victoria Williams’ mark of .426 in 2014.
On those freshman listings, she ranked fourth in doubles (11) and doubles per game, tied for second in walks (26) and tied for fifth with RBI (36).
She’s also tied for second in walks per game and fourth in RBI per game, both joining Alaynie Page’s rookie campaign.
Clark tied the program record with two round-trippers in the Ohio win.
The freshman drove home 10 runners from third with less than two outs in 14 tries while also advancing runners at a .579 clip (70-for-121).
Clark shared SEC Freshman of the Week honors for the week of March 6 with Kentucky’s Abbey Cheek after hitting .588 with seven RBI, both team highs, in a 5-0 week.
Other 2016 Newcomer Contributions for South Carolina
Jessica Elliott started 36 games in the circle, tying for eighth in a single season at SC, while her 47 appearances tied for fourth.
Kenzi Maguire started 45 games at shortstop and led the team with 15 HBPs, second in a single season at South Carolina.
Maguire also made her mark in the field, tying for fourth in the Gamecocks’ SEC era in assists per game (2.04) and standing third on fielding percentage (.965).