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March 2, 2017

Weekend Information

Date: March 3-5, 2017

First Pitch: 8:30 p.m. (Fri.), 1/6 p.m. (Sat.), 2:30/5 p.m. (Sun.)

Location: Fullerton, Calif.

Stadium: Anderson Family Field

Live Video: Google it

Live Stats: for last three games

Feature Stories

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 Snaer2016 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

Trinity Johnson Feature

Gamecocks Head West for Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif.

For the third-consecutive year, South Carolina plays five softball games in the Golden State, taking on top competition in the Judi Garman Classic, hosted by Cal State Fullerton.
The Gamecocks play a pair of Big Ten teams to start in Northwestern and Indiana before squaring off against two ranked Pac-12 teams in No. 20/20 Arizona State and No. 7/8 UCLA. The finale comes against Big West foe Long Beach State.
Live stats will come from the various opponents’ sites, with three linked through

Gamecock Pitching Posting Stellar Results

In February, South Carolina’s pitching tallied eight shutouts, tying 2014 for the most in the 2000s.
Senior Jessica Elliott tossed the first solo no-hitter in seven years with her five-inning blanking of Winthrop in the first game of Feb. 28’s doubleheader.
She didn’t walk a batter in the start, continuing a streak of 16 straight innings without giving up a free pass.
Twice more, Gamecock starters have tallied one-hitters, with two more two-hitters in the books.
Both Elliott and senior Nickie Blue have three complete games, with Elliott finishing out one more complete-game shutout than Blue.
The duo also stand among the top 100 in NCAA Division I in hits allowed per seven innings.

White Leading the Offense in Early Part of 2017

Krystan White enters the fourth weekend of play with a .425 batting average and 14 RBI, both among the team leaders.
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 opportunities (21) and RBI (15) with runners on third and less than two outs.

Blue Climbing the 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.
Blue’s also moved up in innings pitched, wins, shutouts and strikeouts in 2017.
She’s producing ground outs at a 69-percent rate this season (68-30), the best percentage of her career, which stood at 62 percent entering the season (777-472).
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).

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.
This year, she’s already added a walk-off blast with her eighth-inning HR to down College of Charleston on Feb. 25.
She entered her senior year ranking first in SC history in doubles per game and walks per game and second in RBI per game.

Two Freshmen Making Impact Early in 2017

Freshmen Mackenzie Boesel and Cayla Drotar have played pivotal roles in South Carolina’s success so far in 2017.
A three-time South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year, Drotar is 2-1 with a 1.33 ERA in 26.1 innings of work.
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 has produced with a team-best three home runs and 15 RBI.
She’s produced in clutch situations as well, as she plated the deciding run in the 2-1 win over Charlotte.

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.

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 45 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, 41 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.
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 ranked 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.

Roster Notes

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.

South Carolina Softball Historical Record

South Carolina has played 2,201 games in its softball history, going 1430-764-7 (.651) in its 41st season of sponsorship.

Scouting Northwestern

The Wildcats stand at 3-10 on the season, a year after finishing third in the Big Ten but posting a 27-28 record overall.
Of this year’s 10 losses, eight came against ranked teams.
Seven starters return from last year’s team, but they lost two power hitters who combined to post 31 of the team’s 50 home runs and 114 of the squad’s 257 RBI.
One returning power hitter is Morgan Nelson, who’s a quarter of the way to last year’s total of eight home runs and 41 RBI.
Leading the way this season is two-way player Kenzie Ellis, who ranks first in batting average, innings pitched, ERA and strikeouts.
Ellis is two RBI behind Nelson’s 12, which tops Northwestern.
Sabrina Rabin returns and brings a lot of speed, swiping eight bases thus far a year after taking 40.
Krista Williams has shown a patient eye at the plate, drawing 10 walks, which helps use her speed (three stolen bases).
Senior Anna Petersen stands third on the team in batting average and RBI while posting two doubles.
Sammy Nettling and Brooke Marquez both have three doubles on the season.

Ties Between South Carolina and Northwestern

Wildcat junior Brooke Marquez hails from the same SoCal A’s group that produced four Gamecocks: Kaylea Snaer, Hayley Copeland, Kennedy Clark and Mackenzie Boesel.
Northwestern senior Nicole Bond played for Carolina Elite, the same group that helped develop three current Gamecocks (Cayla Drotar, Macey Webb and Krystan White).

SC Series History vs. the Wildcats

Northwestern holds a 6-5 advantage in the series, including winning the past five meetings.

Scouting Indiana

Last year’s ace Tara Trainer has tossed 43.2 innings this season, striking out 60 while walking 32 to go with the 2.42 ERA.
Her understudy, freshman Emily Goodin, won the Big Ten Freshman of the Week last week after going 3-1 while tossing a no-hitter against UAB in a tournament in Birmingham.
The top four hitters return, including speedsters Rebecca Blitz and Erin Lehman.
Blitz led the team with 29 stolen bases and a .350 batting average, while Lehman posted eight sacrifice hits, 13 steals and seven doubles.
Blitz has five stolen bases but just a .262 batting average this year, while Lehman has drawn six walks, second on the team, but only only swiped one base.
CaraMia Tsirigos led the team with seven homers and a .541 slugging percentage while also drawing 31 walks.
Tsirigos has two homers and six RBI while she holds the team-best .396 on-base percentage.
Taylor Uden, who last year led IU with 31 RBI, has three doubles and a team-best eight RBI.
Aimilia McDonough has four doubles and hits .391, both team bests.

Ties Between South Carolina and Indiana

Both juniors, IU’s Rachel O’Malley and SC’s Jordyn Augustus played with the Beverly Bandits’ travel-ball team.

SC Series History vs. the Hoosiers

The Gamecocks have won the last seven meetings, though Indiana owns a 10-7-1 advantage in the series that dates back to 1977.

Scouting Arizona State

The Sun Devils stand at 12-3 on the year, returning to the top 25 early in the season.
An NCAA Tournament team a year ago, 17 letterwinners returned from last year’s 32-26 team.
This season, the pitching staff has led the way, limiting foes to less than two runs a game while issuing just 10 walks in 100.1 innings.
The four-woman staff is led by Breanna Macha’s 39 innings with a 1.26 ERA.
Dale Ryndak has struck out 24 batters in 25.2 innings while compiling a 2.18 ERA.
Giselle Juarez has the best ERA on staff at 1.18, striking out 32 and walking four in 23.2 innings.
At the plate, Ulufa Leilua leads the team with a .522 on-base percentage, four home runs and 11 RBI.
Two other Sun Devils have .500 on-base percentages, Taylor Becerra and Chelsea Gonzales, with Gonzales leading the team with five doubles and ranking second with 10 RBI.
Four other Sun Devils have two home runs: Miranda Farricker, Marisa Stankiewicz, Margaret Stahm and Nichole Chilson, with Chilson leading that group with nine RBI.
Off the bench, Brynley Steele and Avianna Davis have stolen two bases each.

Common Foes of the Gamecocks and Sun Devils

Both teams own wins over Indiana, ASU a 4-2 win in the season’s opening weekend and SC a 13-5 (5) win the following weekend in Texas.

Ties Between South Carolina and Arizona State

Both juniors, ASU’s Dale Ryndak and SC’s Jordyn Augustus played with the Beverly Bandits’ travel-ball team.
Juniors Hayley Copeland and Brynley Steele both hail from Esperanza High School in California.

SC Series History vs. the Sun Devils

Both teams have won five meetings in the series that dates back to 1983.
They have split six neutral-site meetings.

Scouting UCLA

Perennial title contenders, UCLA is ranked in the top 10 in both major polls and is 13-3 this year.
Seven offensive starters and the entire pitching staff returns from last year’s Women’s College World Series team.
They may be stronger this season, as redshirt freshman Rachel Garcia leads the team in the circle, posting a 1.66 ERA in 46.1 innings, striking out 56 while walking seven.
Selina Ta’amilo has the top strikeout-to-walk ratio at 15-1 in 18.1 innings of work.
Johanna Grauer has fanned more than a batter an inning (38 in 35.2 IP) to go with a 1.77 ERA.
At the plate, top returning batter Kylee Perez leads the team again with a .473 batting average and eight doubles.
Two of the top three in homers returns, and this year, Madeline Jelenicki has a team-best five.
Two other Bruins have four homers, senior Delaney Spaulding and Brianna Tautalafua.
On the base paths, Spaulding leads the team with four stolen bases, while Gabrielle Maurice and Jenna Crawford have three each, with Crawford’s all coming off the bench.

Ties Between South Carolina and UCLA

Bruin junior Selina Ta’amilo hail from the same SoCal A’s group that produced four Gamecocks: Kaylea Snaer, Hayley Copeland, Kennedy Clark and Mackenzie Boesel.
Both freshmen, UCLA’s Jenna Crawford and SC’s Alexis Lindsey played with the travel-ball outfit San Jose Sting.

SC Series History vs. the Bruins

UCLA is 11-1 in the all-time series, including a 9-0 advantage in neutral-site affairs.

Scouting Long Beach State

The 49ers bring back seven starters from last year’s team that finished third in the Big West in 2016.
This season, the Beach, picked second in the Big West, has a 5-6-1 mark, with one win coming over a ranked foe (Notre Dame).
Christina Clermont leads the team from the circle, where she’s been named to the Big West First Team in both seasons at Long Beach.
This season, Clermont has a 2.46 ERA in 37 innings, fanning 21 but walking 15.
Behind Clermont is Devyn Magnett and Jessica Flores, but both have more walks than strikeouts in less than 20 innings each.
Lauren Lombardi missed last weekend but tops the team with a .389 batting average.
Nichole Fry has been the top hitter this season, posting three doubles and two triples, and she’ll get on base any way possible (six walks, four HBP).
Aniesa Maulupe has a team-high 10 RBI, while Flores is tied with Fry for the team lead in walks.
The team doesn’t run (2-for-4 in stolen bases) and has as many triples as home runs, four of each.

Ties Between South Carolina and Indiana

49er sophomore Nichole Fry hails from the same SoCal A’s group that produced four Gamecocks: Kaylea Snaer, Hayley Copeland, Kennedy Clark and Mackenzie Boesel.
The Beach’s pitching coach can chalk up a lot of her knowledge to Gamecock head coach Beverly Smith. Danielle Spaulding was a three-time All-American at North Carolina under Smith’s tutelage.

The Only Meeting – Long Beach State vs. South Carolina – March 28, 1987

Long Beach State won the only meeting between the teams on March 28, 1987, 1-0, in the Pony Invitational in Fullerton, Calif.
Sandy Winchester posted the RBI single in the third off Gamecock starter Gretchen Koenig, leading LBSU to the win.
Gamecock Marianne DiRupo went 2-for-3, the only player on either team with multiple hits.

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.

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.

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.