Gamecocks Set for Home Opener and Carolina Classic
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina softball team opens its home schedule when the Gamecocks host the College of Charleston on February 15 at 6 p.m. The Gamecocks will then host the first of two tournaments, the Carolina Classic, February 16-19.
The Carolina Classic will feature five other programs in Campbell, Delaware, East Tennessee State, George Washington, and Western Kentucky. Play begins Thursday when the Gamecocks faceoff with ETSU. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday will feature four games each day beginning at 10 a.m.
- The 2023 season will be the 50th season of Carolina Softball.
- The Carolina Classic is the first of two tournament the Gamecocks will host.
- Carolina played both George Washington and ETSU last season.
- The Gamecocks defeated Campbell this past Saturday 10-9 in Charlotte.
- South Carolina will play on five consecutive days beginning Wednesday.
- It’s the second time in program history they’ve played on five consecutive days. They played on six straight days in 1987 (March 10-15; 14 games).
- The Gamecocks opened the season on the road for the first time since 2019.
- South Carolina has opened the season on the road in 6 of 13 seasons under Smith.
- The roster features 25 total players, with of seven different states represented.
South Carolina Gamecocks 2-1, 0-0 SEC
Coach: Beverly Smith | 13th Season
AVG Leader: .625 | Giulia Desiderio
RBI Leader: 3 | Giulia Desiderio and Marissa Gonzalez
Home Run Leader: 1 | Riley Blampied and Brooke Blankenship
ERA Leader: 4.50 | Donnie Gobourne
Strikeout Leader: 9 | Donnie Gobourne
Wins Leader: 1 | Bailey Betenbaugh and Donnie Gobourne
College of Charleston Cougars 0-0, 0-0 CAA
When: February 15 | 6 p.m.
Series History: South Carolina leads 13-1
Last Meeting: South Carolina 10, CofC 3 | March 17, 2022 | Columbia
Coach: Tracey Lynch | 2nd Season
East Tennessee Buccaneers 0-3, 0-0 SOCON
When: February 16 | 5:30 p.m.
Series History: South Carolina leads 6-0
Last Meeting: South Carolina 6, ETSU 2 | April 9, 2022 | Columbia
Coach: Cheryl Milligan | 1st Season
Delaware Blue Hens 4-1, 0-0 CAA
When: February 17 | 3 p.m.
Series History: South Carolina leads 1-0
Last Meeting: South Carolina 2, Delaware 0 | May 1, 1981 | Annapolis, Md.
Coach: Jen Steele | 5th Season
George Washington Colonials 2-1, 0-0 A-10
When: February 18 | 3 p.m.
Series History: South Carolina leads 3-0
Last Meeting: South Carolina 14, GW 5 | February 12, 2022 | Columbia
Coach: Chrissy Schoonmaker | 2nd Season
Western Kentucky Hilltoppers 1-4, 0-0 C-USA
When: February 19 | 3 p.m.
Series History: South Carolina leads 2-0
Last Meeting: South Carolina 2, WKU 1 | March 11, 2015 | Columbia
Coach: Amy Tudor | 10th Season
Campbell Camels 2-2, 0-0 Big South
When: February 19 | 5:30 p.m.
Series History: South Carolina leads 14-1
Last Meeting: South Carolina 10, Campbell 9 | February 11, 2023 | Charlotte
Coach: Trena Prater | 1st Season
- Brooke Blankenship hit an inside-the-park home run against Campbell on Feb. 11. It was the first inside-the-park home run since Alaynie Page on February 14, 2015, against the College of Charleston.
- South Carolina will have at least one student-athlete from the state of California for the 27th-consecutive year dating back to 1994. Sophomores and California natives Marissa Gonzalez and Emma Sellers could continue the tradition on for three decades.
- Carlie Henderson won’t be the first in her family to achieve at a high level in sports. Her grandpa, Billy Shaw, played football at Georgia Tech and went on to play offensive line for nine years with the Buffalo Bills before being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1999. Her father, Chip, played baseball at Shorter University and has been the baseball head coach at Calhoun High School for 26 years. He’s won more than 600 games with three state titles (and had eight players drafted into MLB).
- Brooke Blankenship and Giulia Desiderio have actually played for volunteer assistant coach Kevin Maguire before. Their travel ball team was coached by Maguire and was based out of Tampa, Fla.
- Sophomores Natalie Heath and Olivia Cook have been best friends since elementary school. Although they attended different high schools, the two joined the Gamecocks for the 2022 season.
IT’S GOOD TO BE HOME
- For the third straight season, South Carolina is set for over 30 home games. Carolina will host 31 home contests, including the Gamecock Invitational and Carolina Classic. They will play just six non-conference road games for the second straight season and also play eight neutral site games. The schedule also includes 12 road SEC games
IF YOU BUILD IT, THEY WILL COME
- South Carolina is 220-110 (.667) at home during the Beverly Smith era, which includes a 4-1 record at home while hosting a regional at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field.
- Carolina has finished .500 or better at home eight of Beverly Smith’s 12 years.
- Prior to 2021, South Carolina had not lost double digit games at home in seven years and has won 20 or more six of the past seven seasons (2020 included).
NON-CONFERENCE SUCCESS IS NOTHING NEW FOR SC
- South Carolina is 222-60 (.787) over the past eight 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, Liberty, and UCF.
- Carolina had won 26-straight non-conference games (regular season) before a loss to Texas Tech in the second weekend of the 2020 season.
CAROLINA HOSTS TOURNAMENTS…AND WINS A LOT
- Carolina is an amazing 35-5 over the past seven seasons in the Gamecock Invitational. The 2021 tournament was canceled due to weather.
- The Gamecock pitching staff has shined in the tournaments. In the games during that span, Carolina pitching staffs have allowed three or more runs 12 times. On the flip side, nine games have ended as shutouts.
- Including the Carolina Classic and Black & Garnet Challenge, the Gamecocks are 59-6 in their past 65 home tournament games.
For the latest on South Carolina Softball, visit GamecocksOnline.com or follow the team’s social media accounts on Twitter @GamecockSoftbll, Facebook /GamecockSoftball, and Instagram @GamecockSoftball.