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No. 23 Gamecocks Kick off Season Hosting Carolina Classic
Softball  . 

No. 23 Gamecocks Kick off Season Hosting Carolina Classic

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The 2024 South Carolina softball season kicks off Friday afternoon (Feb. 9) when the 23rd ranked Gamecocks host Jacksonville State for their first game of the Carolina Classic. The tournament continues all weekend with Carolina taking on Virginia, UNCG and Jacksonville State. The schedule has been changed from what was originally announced, due to weather in the forecast for Sunday.

SPECTATOR PARKING (Parking subject to change due to weather)


Parking is available for fans on game day in the grass lot located behind the Parking Garage (1300 Heyward Street). Parking in grass lot is free of charge and is a short walk through the Athletics Village to Carolina Softball Stadium. Fans will also have the option to park at any of the City of Columbia metered spots located around Heyward Street, subject to fees required through the ParkMobile app.


Fans may park in the Athletics Village Parking Garage (1300 Heyward Street) for a $10 fee, or they can utilize the grass lot behind the parking garage free of charge. Fans will also have the option to park at any of the City of Columbia metered spots located around Stone Stadium, subject to fees required through the ParkMobile app.

Tournament Schedule (home team listed first)

10am – Virginia vs UNCG
12:30pm – Virginia vs Jacksonville State
3pm – South Carolina vs UNCG
5:30pm – South Carolina vs Jacksonville State

10am – Virginia vs UNCG
12:30pm – Jacksonville State vs UNCG
3pm – South Carolina vs Virginia
5:30pm – South Carolina vs Jacksonville State


10am – UNCG vs Jacksonville State
12:30pm – South Carolina vs Virginia

#23 South Carolina Gamecocks 0-0, 0-0 SEC
: Beverly Smith | 14th Season
Returning AVG Leader
: .300 | Brooke Blankenship
Returning RBI Leader
: 42 | Riley Blampied and Jen Cummings
Returning Home Run Leader
: 7 | Riley Blampied
Returning ERA Leader
: 2.41 | Bailey Betenbaugh
Returning Strikeout Leader
: 49 | Jori Heard
Returning Wins Leader
: 9 | Bailey Betenbaugh

Jacksonville State Gamecocks 0-0, 0-0 C-USA
Series History
: Tied 1-1
Last Meeting
: South Carolina 1, Jacksonville State 0 | Feb. 24, 2007
: Jana McGinnis | 31st Season

Virginia Cavaliers 0-0, 0-0 ACC
Series History
: South Carolina leads 30-5
Last Meeting
: South Carolina 3, Virginia 2 | Feb. 11, 2022
: Joanna Hardin | 8th Season

UNCG Spartans 0-0, 0-0 SoCon
Series History
: South Carolina leads 12-2
last meeting
: South Carolina 2, UNCG 2 | Feb. 9, 2020
: Janelle Breneman | 12th Season


  • The 2024 season will be the 51st season for the Carolina Softball team.
  • Carolina received votes in every preseason poll. They are ranked No. 17 by Softball America, No. 22 by ESPN/USA Softball and D1softball, and No. 23 by NFCA/USA Today.
  • Carolina made its 23rd NCAA Tournament appearance last season, advancing to the Tallahassee Regional Finals.
  • South Carolina made history during the SEC Tournament, becoming the lowest seed to ever reach the finals and becoming the first double-digit seed to play in the championship game.
  • Head coach Bev Smith earned her 400th career win last year against UNC.
    • She became the 29th active head coach in Division I to amass 400 career victories while only coaching at one school.
  • The roster features 23 total players, with of 10 different states represented and Canada.
  • South Carolina has opened the season at home in 8 of 14 seasons under Smith.


  • Carolina comes into the 2024 season looking to fight back after advancing to the Tallahassee Regional Final, before falling to eventual national runner-up Florida State in a winner-take-all game.
  • Carolina advanced to both the SEC Tournament and NCAA Regional Finals.
  • The 2024 squad will look to build on that momentum, as they’ll just nine underclassmen (four sophomores and six freshmen).
  • The Gamecocks welcome five new freshmen to the program (Reganne Bennett, Sophia Grillo, Sage Mardjetko, Karley Shelton).
  • Carolina will have seven left-handed batters available in the lineup. It also had seven in 2023 and 2022, nine in 2021, five in 2020, seven in 2019, eight in 2017 and six in 2016. Of the seven left-handed batters, only two (Carlie Henderson and Kyye Ricks) are listed as slap hitters.
  • Seven Georgia natives help make up the Gamecock roster. It’s the most from any single state.


  • South Carolina will have at least one student-athlete from the state of California for the 28th-consecutive year dating back to 1994. The Gamecocks signed incoming freshmen and California natives Shae Anderson and Mya Flindt in November, ensuring the tradition continues on into its 30th year.
  • 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).
  • Denver Bryant is a late-bloomer when it comes to playing softball. She made the switch to softball after playing baseball for the majority of her prep career. She was one of the youngest members on the United States Women’s National Baseball Team, joining the development program in the summer of 2017.
  • Karley Shelton is the fifth member of her immediate family to play softball or baseball in college. She joins her father and mother who both played at Charlotte, her older brother Colby is currently at Florida, and older sister Kiley is playing at Colgate.
  • Brooke Blankenship, Giulia Desiderio, and Karley Shelton have actually played for assistant coach Kevin Maguire before. Their travel ball team was coached by Maguire and was based out of Tampa, Fla.


  • Jen Cummings begins the season 7th in DI with 35 career high by pitches.
  • She also ranks 9th among all divisions.


  • The Gamecocks hit the transfer portal in the offseason, bringing in five players that played the 2023 season at the Division I level.
  • Denver Bryant (Sr./Auburn), joins Carolina for her final season after being named to the All-SEC Second Team in 2023. She led Auburn with a .322 batting average against SEC opponents. Appeared in 56 games, starting a career-high 42 games all at third base. Hit a career-high .319 batting average with four doubles, and five home runs.
  • Kiki Estrada (So./Arkansas) played her first collegiate season at Arkansas, appearing in six games. Was ranked 13th in Extra Inning Softball’s 2022 Extra Elite 100 after garnering second team High School All-American honors. She is a member of the Mexican National team, most recently finishing fourth at the 2023 Pan American Games.
  • Kianna Jones (Gr./North Carolina) played two seasons and UNC and two seasons prior to that with Minnesota. Last year with the Tar Heels she played in 45 games and made 23 starts and three home runs. She is a member of the Canadian National Team, most recently winning a bronze medal at the 2023 Pan American Games.
  • Alana Vawter (Gr./Stanford), is pursuing her master’s after four star-studded seasons with the Cardinal. Her long list of accomplishments was capped off by being named an NFCA All-America second team selection in 2023. She was a USA Softball Collegiate Player of the Year Top-25 finalist, leading the Cardinal to the Women’s College World Series. She was a three-time All-Pac-12 First Team selection and a three-time NFCA All-West Region pick.
  • Bre Warren (R-Jr./Texas A&M) played three seasons for the Aggies, missing the 2022 season due to injury. As a freshman she was named to the All-SEC First Team and SEC All-Freshman Team. Last season she played in 42 games, getting 66 at-bats and collecting six doubles.


  • For the fourth straight season, South Carolina is set for over 30 home games. Carolina will host 33 home contests, including the Gamecock Invitational, Garnet & Black Invitational, and Carolina Classic. They will play just two true non-conference road games and seven neutral site games. The schedule also includes 12 road SEC games.


  • South Carolina is 243-117 (.675) 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 10 of Beverly Smith’s 13 years.
  • Prior to 2021, South Carolina had not lost double digit games at home in seven years and has won 20 or more seven of the past eight seasons (2020 included).


  • South Carolina is 244-65 (.790) over the past nine 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 39-5 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 68-6 in their past 74 home tournament games.


  • South Carolina has played 2,576 games in its softball history, going 1,657-912-7 (.645) in its 50 years of history.
  • The Gamecocks have posted 30 or more wins in eight of the past 10 full seasons under the direction of head coach Beverly Smith.
  • Carolina has protected home well, also, with 17 or more victories coming in friendly confines each of the past eight full years.

For the latest on South Carolina Softball, visit or follow the team’s social media accounts on Twitter @GamecockSoftbll, Facebook /GamecockSoftball, and Instagram @GamecockSoftball.