Gamecocks Set To Face UNCG For Weekend Series
Carolina to play host to UNCG on Friday and Saturday
COLUMBIA, S.C. — No. 15 South Carolina softball is set to play host to UNCG this weekend at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field as it closes out its non-conference portion of the 2019 season. First pitch on Friday is set for 6:00 PM ET while the two teams will conclude the two-game series on Saturday at 2:00 PM ET. Both games can be seen live on SEC Network + while live stats will be available online.
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 WEEKEND
- The Gamecocks enter their SEC bye week following two-straight SEC series wins. Carolina is set for three games at home this week that started on Wednesday night on SEC Network + with a 10-2 victory USC Upstate in six innings. 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 WEEKEND
- South Carolina comes into the weekend looking to build upon a three-game winning streak as the Gamecocks have won seven of their last nine games coming into the SEC bye week.
- As a team Carolina is hitting .328 over the last 10 games with a 7-3 record. The Gamecocks have outscored opponents 57-38 during that stretch with 10 home runs and a .423 on-base percentage.
- Mackenzie Boesel has been stellar over the last ten games. She’s batting a team-best .485 with 16 hits and nine RBI (two home runs) during the team’s recent hot play. Jana leads the squad with three home runs and a .553 on-base percentage. Cayla Drotar has led the way in the circle with three wins.
- There have been a couple notable trends this season surrounding the Gamecocks and scoring. Carolina is 24-0 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 8-9 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.
THIS ISN’T SPARTA… BUT SHE’S GOT 300
- Head coach Beverly Smith earned her 300th victory as a head coach at South Carolina a few Wednesday nights ago with a 5-4 win over Duke. She was already in elite company only the second coach in program history with at least 200 wins.
- Smith’s first win as a head coach came on Feb. 11, 2011, at Beckham Field in a 10-6 victory over Charleston Southern. The Gamecocks eventually went 3-1 her first opening weekend that season.
- Smith’s most recent win as a head coach came over USC Upstate on Wednesday night.
- A graduate of the University of North Carolina, Smith’s moved to 3-0 all-time against the Blue Devils and earned win No. 300 against Duke.
MUST WIN AT HOME! AND THE GAMECOCKS DO
- South Carolina is 165-78 (.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 nine years.
- Carolina has finished .500 or better at home eight of Beverly Smith’s nine years. (including this year as the Gamecocks have locked up finishing .500 or better at home with just five games left.)
- 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 165-43 (.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 165 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.
- Carolina has won 22-straight non-conference games following the Wednesday night victory over USC Upstate.