Softball Heads Back to Georgia For Mercer Bear Invitational
MACON, Ga. – Senior Karsen Ochs is heading home this weekend, as the South Carolina softball team travels to Mercer for its invitational February 24-26. The Macon native will have an opportunity to play in her hometown for the first time in her career, as the Gamecocks play five games in the Mercer Bear Invitational.
South Carolina Gamecocks 9-1, 0-0 SEC
Coach: Beverly Smith | 13th Season
AVG Leader: .370 | Marissa Gonzalez
RBI Leader: 12 | Marissa Gonzalez
Home Run Leader: 2 | Riley Blampied
ERA Leader: 1.54 | Donnie Gobourne
Strikeout Leader: 25 | Donnie Gobourne
Wins Leader: 3 | Bailey Betenbaugh and Karsen Ochs
Jacksonville Dolphins 5-5, 0-0 ASUN
When: February 24 | 4 p.m.
Series History: South Carolina leads 2-1
Last Meeting: South Carolina 10, Jacksonville 0 | Feb 20, 2021| Jacksonville
Coach: Erica Ayers | 6th Season
Mercer Bears 4-6, 0-0 SOCON
When: February 24 | 6:30 p.m.
Series History: South Carolina leads 3-0
Last Meeting: South Carolina 7, Mercer 2 | Feb 18, 2018 | Columbia
Coach: Lindsay Fico | 2nd Season
Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles 1-6, 0-0 Ohio Valley
When: February 25 | 6:30 p.m.; February 26 | 12:30 p.m.
Series History: South Carolina leads 3-1
Last Meeting: South Carolina 4, TTU 1 | February 16, 2002 | Columbia
Coach: Danielle Penner | 1st Season
Belmont Bruins 7-1, 0-0 Missouri Valley
When: February 26 | 10 a.m.
Series History: First Meeting
Coach: Laura Matthews | 3rd Season
- The 2023 season will be the 50th season of Carolina Softball.
- The Gamecocks are riding a nine-game winning streak coming into the weekend. It’s the first time the have won nine in-a-row since winning 15 straight from Feb. 15 – Mar. 6, 2019.
- Jen Cummings entered the week leading the nation in hit by pitches per game (0.89).
- She also ranks second in the nation in on-base percentage (.724).
- Marissa Gonzalez ranks second in the nation in total doubles (6).
- She ranks ninth in the nation in doubles per game (0.67).
- Gonzalez hit her first career home run, a grand slam, against Western Kentucky on Sunday.
- Donnie Gobourne’s two saves rank seventh in the nation.
- She also ranks 13th in the nation in strikeouts per 7 innings (11.8).
- As a team, Carolina ranks 9th in the nation in stolen bases per game (3.0) and 19th in total doubles (17).
- Haley Simpson hit a home run against WKU, her first home run in nearly three years (1,086 days) after missing the last two seasons due to injury.
- South Carolina are coming off playing on five consecutive days last week.
- It was 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.
- 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.
NON-CONFERENCE SUCCESS IS NOTHING NEW FOR SC
- South Carolina is 229-60 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.
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.