South Carolina To Start SEC Off Week With Wednesday Night Game
Gamecocks to play host to USC Upstate
COLUMBIA, S.C. —- No. 15 South Carolina softball is set to return home as it will play host to USC Upstate on Wednesday night on SEC Network + at 6:00 PM ET. Carolina comes into the week having won six of its last eight games and has won its last two SEC series over No. 4 Alabama and at No. 12 Auburn.
Fans are encouraged to park in the Heyward Street Parking Garage.
- Carolina comes into the 2019 season looking to build upon a 49-17 season in which the Gamecocks reached the program’s second ever super regional after winning the Columbia Regional.
- The Gamecocks welcome five freshmen and transfer Katie Prebble to the program this season to bring the Gamecocks to 19 active members.
- Head coach Beverly Smith has been keeping the local talent home recently, as the Gamecocks have five South Carolina natives on roster and two of the last three South Carolina Gator Players of the Year.
- Carolina won’t be lacking arms this season with five available coming into the new season, leaving 14 fielders. Freshman Rachel Vaughan comes in as coach Smith’s first left-handed pitcher during her time at South Carolina.
THE UPCOMING WEEK
- The Gamecocks enter their SEC bye week following two-straight SEC series wins. Carolina is set for three games at home this week starting on Wednesday night at 6:00 PM ET on SEC Network + against USC Upstate. The week concludes on Friday and Saturday against UNCG.
- South Carolina continued SEC play last weekend, as it earned its first road series win of the year over No. 12 Auburn. It marked the first time under Beverly Smith the Gamecocks dropped the Friday night game of a series on the road against a ranked team and came back to win the series.
- Carolina returns to SEC action next weekend when it plays host to No. 22 Georgia for its senior weekend. Carolina will honor seniors Kennedy Clark and Dixie Raley throughout the weekend as all three games of the series will be on national television starting April 26.
- South Carolina comes into the week with the 18th-most home runs per game in the country and 14th-best slugging percentage. Jana Johns is fourth in the NCAA in hit by pitches per game while Cayla Drotar is fourth in saves.
NOTES AND TRENDS HEADING INTO THE WEEK
- South Carolina comes into the weekend looking to build upon a two-game winning streak as the Gamecocks have won six of their last eight games coming into the SEC bye week.
- As a team Carolina is hitting .305 over the last 10 games with a 7-3 record. The Gamecocks have outscored opponents 54-41 during that stretch with 10 home runs and a .409 on-base percentage.
- Mackenzie Boesel has been stellar over the last ten games. She’s batting a team-best .457 with 16 hits and eight RBI (two home runs) during the team’s recent hot play. She leads the squad with a .513 on-base percentage. Dixie Raley has led the way in the circle with three wins (all in SEC play).
- There have been a couple notable trends this season surrounding the Gamecocks and scoring. Carolina is 23-0 when it scores at least six runs and 24-3 when it scores first. In contrast, the Gamecocks are just 8-12 when scoring less than six runs and 7-9 when the opponent plates one first.
IT’S NOT HOW YOU START DOWN ON THE PLAINS
- Carolina earned its first SEC series win on the road of the year this past weekend at No. 12 Auburn after taking the last two.
- Cayla Drotar earned both wins as Dixie Raley came on in relief to earn the save on Sunday to seal the series win.
- As a team, the Gamecocks outscored Auburn 22-10 with five home runs and a .417 on-base percentage.
- Carolina scored 22 of the last 28 runs over the course of the series on its way to earning the wins.
DIXIE DOMINATES ALABAMA WEEKEND
- Carolina got a much needed SEC win with a 2-1 series victory over No. 4 Alabama two weekends ago. Dixie Raley went 2-0 on the weekend as SC got its first series win over the Tide since 2009.
- Raley earned the win in the Saturday and Sunday games going 12 innings with just one run allowed.
- For her efforts, Raley was named SEC Pitcher of the Week for the first time in her career this past weekend.
- Boesel hit .556 with a homer, double and 2 RBI with .636 on-base percentage during the series.
IRON BOWL SERIES WINS
- Carolina became just the third team since 2005 to earn series wins over Auburn and Alabama in back-to-back weekends (11 chances).
- The Gamecocks outscored the two rivals 30-20 with a .318 batting average with eight home runs.
- Madison Owens led the way with a .462 batting average on six hits while Mackenzie Boesel had 10 with four RBI.
- Jana Johns has been an RBI machine with six to go along with her three home runs and .389 batting average.
BETTER LOOK INTO BOESEL
- Currently batting .385 (would be a career best if the season ended today) on 52 hits (23 of which have gone for extra-base hits) as she’s posted a .484 on-base percentage thanks in part to 26 free bases thus far through 43 games. If the season ended today, would have a career best in batting average, slugging percentage and on-base percentage. With just 11 strikeouts through 43 games, she is well under pace for the past two seasons on her way to a career low in that category.
- In Charlotte on Feb. 24, became the 17th Gamecock in program history to bring home 100 or more RBI in a career in the 15-1 victory in five innings over Winthrop. Currently in her career she is 10th in runs scored, fourth in home runs, 9th in RBI, and tied for 10th in hit by pitches. Is also standing strong with the second-base on-base percentage for a career in school history. (4/16)
- Received plenty of attention at the start of the 2019 season, as she was named to the Preseason All-SEC Team and selected to the USA Softball Top-50 Watch List for Player of the Year.
- Mackenzie Boesel couldn’t have asked for a much better sophomore year, as she became just the 10th Gamecock in program history to be named an Academic All-American as well as her selection to the All-SEC Second Team (her second All-SEC honor of her career).
MUST WIN AT HOME! AND THE GAMECOCKS DO
- South Carolina is 164-78 (.665) at home during the Beverly Smith era, which does not include a 4-1 record at home while hosting a regional at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field.
- The Gamecocks have lost more than 10 games at home in a single season just three times in her eight years.
- Carolina has finished .500 or better at home seven of Beverly Smith’s nine years.
- South Carolina has not lost double digit games at home in six years, and has won 20 or more the past five seasons.
NON-CONFERENCE SUCCESS IS NOTHING NEW FOR SC
- South Carolina is 164-43 (.780) over the past six years in games outside the SEC. Notable wins include Texas, Penn State, Houston, Arizona State, North Carolina, Florida State, California, Virginia Tech, USF, Long Beach State, Hofstra and Liberty.
- The 164 wins in notable because they account for 64 percent of the Carolina wins during that time (yeah, it’s really tough to win SEC games and of course there are more opportunities to win non-conference games. But still).
- This year Carolina is set for at least 25 more non-conference games.