First pitch for Sunday's championship game against No. 2 national seed Arizona is at 7 p.m. EDT
South Carolina wins the series against LSU for the first time since 2005
Seniors play big role in opening game of senior weekend
Seniors Blue and Elliott combined for the two-hit shutout
South Carolina gets its first win over a top-ranked foe in 15 years
Shots provided by Juan Blas of South Carolina's regular-season finale against No. 18/19 LSU
Pictures from Travis Bell from South Carolina's 5-4 win over No. 18/19 LSU on May 5, 2017
Photos, from Juan Blas, from South Carolina's 3-0 win over No. 7/7 Auburn on Sunday, April 23.
Photos, provided by Sideline Carolina, from the second game of the three-game set against No. 7/7 Auburn.
South Carolina Gamecocks vs. Mercer | 4/13/17 | Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field
CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: Finished her career as a four-time Southeastern Conference Academic Honor Roll member and a three-time National Fastpitch Coaches Association Scholar-Athlete ... Holds 13 top-15 marks on South Carolina's career pitching records, including owning the saves (22) and relief appearances (77) top marks as well as second in overall appearances (176) ... Also stands second in SEC history in saves ... Ranks fourth in Gamecock history in innings pitched (742.0) and strikeouts (514) at her graduation ... Goes down with the most career assists for a pitcher (213) and with the second-best fielding percentage (.976).
2017 (SENIOR): Made 39 appearances and started 24 games ... Led the Gamecocks with a 2.59 ERA, 154 innings and five saves ... Tossed seven complete games and four shutouts ... Only hit three batters and tossed five wild pitches on the year, both career bests ... Won her first four appearances of the year ... Started the season with a nine-inning shutout of Longwood (2/11), using only 94 pitches in the victory ... Gained victories in relief against Charlotte (2/12), the 200th win for head coach Beverly Smith, and at Texas (2/18), not allowing a run in 6.1 combined innings ... Picked up a complete-game win over Louisiana Tech (2/18), tossing a season-high 114 pitches to help her tally eight strikeouts, also a season best ... Picked up a save with two perfect innings against North Dakota State (2/24) ... Posted a three-hit shutout against the NDSU Bison (2/25), striking out seven ... Picked up her second save, which broke SC's school record, with two shutout frames against Long Beach State (3/5) ... Her 20th career save came in the USC Upstate win (3/15), as she fanned six in 2.1 innings ... Tallied a two-hit shutout at No. 9/9 Alabama (3/26), fanning four in the victory ... Garnered SEC Pitcher of the Week honors after that win ... Tallied a five-hit shutout in the opener at Mississippi State (4/7) ... Garnered her fourth save with an inning against No. 18/19 LSU (5/5) ... Followed that with a complete-game win against the Tigers (5/6) ... Took her final save of the year with 1.1 innings of shutout ball in the elimination-game win over St. Francis (5/20) in the NCAA Tucson Regional ... Made the SEC Spring Academic Honor Roll.
2016 (JUNIOR): Drew 25 starts in the circle and made 51 appearances, which ties for second in Gamecock single-season history ... Her 211 innings stood third in the Southeastern Conference for the year and 14th on SC's season charts, while her 26 relief appearances also ranks second ... Went 19-13 with six saves, the latter tied for third in SC history ... Led the Gamecocks in strikeouts (129), strikeout-to-walk ratio (1.57) and walks and hits per innings pitched (WHIP) (1.23) ... Her 2.45 ERA led the team for the second-straight year ... Struck out seven in five scoreless innings in the win over Illinois State (2/14) ... Tallied her first shutout a week later, fanning six in seven innings against Longwood (2/21) ... Tossed the first five innings of the combined no-hitter against Western Carolina (3/1), striking out six ... Posted four innings of hitless relief in the SIUE win (3/8) ... Picked up both wins against No. 12/12 Georgia in relief (3/20-21) ... Sunday's appearance against the Bulldogs saw her give up one hit, while on Monday night's SEC Network showcase game, she tossed five hitless innings, giving up one walk while striking out one ... Held Troy to one hit in a six-inning shutout (4/2) ... Shut out Arkansas, scattering three hits and two walks in the five-inning blanking (4/8) ... Compiled three-consecutive complete games, including in the win over Furman (4/23-26) ... Got the save in the win over No 4/4 Alabama with three innings of relief, giving up one earned run on two hits (4/30) ... Tossed a complete game in victory at No. 16/14 Missouri (5/7), giving up a run on two hits while striking out four ... Held the Tigers' top-three hitters to an 0-for-9 line in the win ... Hurled the complete game in the SEC Tournament win over the No. 17/15 Tigers (5/11) ... Shut out No. 24/24 USF in the first game of the NCAA Tallahassee Regional (5/20), scattering eight hits ... Held No. 7/7 Florida State to one hit and two walks in four innings during Sunday's championship game (5/22) ... Garnered recognition on the SEC Spring Academic Honor Roll and as a National Fastpitch Coaches Association Scholar-Athlete.
2015 (SOPHOMORE): Made 26 starts in the circle and 39 appearances overall ... She led South Carolina in innings (203.2), wins (20), earned-run average (1.86), saves (4), shutouts (5) and strikeouts (165) ... Her 165 K's rank 14th in a single season, while her four saves stand tied for fifth ... The ground-ball pitcher also stands fifth on the pitchers' assists-per-game charts during the Southeastern Conference era (since 1997) ... In the Pirate Classic, she tossed a two-hitter against Longwood (2/8) for her first shutout of the year ... Picked up three wins in the Gamecock Invitational, giving up only one earned run in 17 innings ... Tossed the first six innings of the one-hit win versus Appalachian State (2/13), striking out five ... Tallied a career-high 9.1 innings against No. 9/8 Florida State (2/19), with three of the Seminoles' four runs counting as unearned in the loss ... Came back the next day with a complete-game win over Stanford (2/20), giving up only three hits ... Posted a two-hit shutout of Marshall (2/28), not walking a batter while striking out a career-best 12 ... With a win over Western Kentucky (3/11) and two vs. No. 9/15 Tennessee, she earned SEC Pitcher of the Week accolades on March 16 ... The Friday win vs. the Lady Vols was a four-hit shutout, which broke SC's 28-game losing streak in the series ... In 14.1 innings against Tennessee, she struck out 14 and allowed only one earned run ... Missed two weeks of action to rest her arm ... In her fourth appearance after the rest, she threw a one-hitter vs. USC Upstate (4/7), walking one in the shutout victory ... Followed that with a two-hit win over Arkansas (4/10-11) in a suspended game, fanning five ... Picked up both wins at No. 14/16 Kentucky to start the Gamecocks' run of four-consecutive SEC series wins ... Picked up two complete-game wins vs. Mississippi State (5/1-3) to concluded the regular season ... Also had a complete-game victory vs. No. 22/25 Texas A&M (5/6) in the SEC Tournament first round ... Named to the SEC Spring Academic Honor Roll ... Also earned NFCA Scholar-Athlete accolades.
2014 (FRESHMAN): Appeared in 47 games and tossed a staff-high 173.1 innings of work ... Posted numerous top-five marks in South Carolina history in a single season, second in saves (7), third in appearances, and tied for third in relief appearances (23) among them ... Tied for the NCAA Division I lead in saves with seven ... Led the SEC in saves and stood second in appearances ... Went 18-10 in the circle, tying for ninth in the SEC in wins ... A member of the SEC All-Freshman Team and was one of 25 chosen to the initial NFCA National Freshman of the Year watch list ... Appeared in 21 of South Carolina's 24 SEC games ... Posted her first career shutout in the win over Michigan State (2/22), giving up four hits and two walks in the five-inning blanking ... With two wins and two saves to go with the shutout of the Spartans, she garnered SEC Freshman of the Week honors (2/24) ... Tossed seven innings for the first time in her career in a victory at No. 3/3 Arizona State (2/27), scattering six hits and a walk, allowing only two earned runs while striking out five ... Her first SEC win came over No. 13/15 Texas A&M (3/15), posting 5.2 innings of three-hit ball, allowing one unearned run ... Shut out No. 15/17 Georgia (4/5) in game one of a doubleheader, striking out a then-career best seven while giving up only three hits and two walks ... Her only hit of the year drove in a run in the second game against the Bulldogs ... Also blanked No. --/24 LSU (4/20) in the series finale in five innings of work ... Went the distance in the extra-inning loss to Longwood, fanning a career-best nine while giving up the lone run on a wild pitch ... Garnered the win over Fordham in the NCAA Tournament elimination game (5/17) ... Named to the SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll and earned NFCA Scholar-Athlete honors.
HIGH SCHOOL: Lettered four years in softball at Niwot High School ... 2013 Gatorade Player of the Year in softball for the state of Colorado ... Two-time first-team Denver Post All-Colorado honoree ... Three-time All-Northern Conference first-team member ... In the circle the last three years, she went 41-18, twice posting over 200 strikeouts ... As a senior, she tallied a 0.47 ERA in 149 innings of work, striking out 287 and walking only 12, tossing 12 shutouts en route to a 21-2 record ... Helped the squad to a second-place showing in the 4A division of Colorado High School Activities Association ... Earned NFCA/MaxPreps National Player of the Week honors on Sept. 10 and Denver Post Athlete of the Week accolades on Oct. 8 ... Named 2012 Northern Conference Player of the Year as a senior ... Hit .500 or better in her final three seasons with a combined 11 homers in 207 at-bats ... Also earned a letter in track & field, finishing eight in the discus at the state championships ... Her track team won the 2013 state title ... Played travel ball with the Triple Crown Stars.
PERSONAL: Born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Nicole Celeste Blue is the daughter of James and Mary Blue ... Has one brother, James E. ... Considered signing with Ohio State, Minnesota and Colorado State before committing to South Carolina ... Says her favorite athletes are Bernie Williams and Curtis Granderson ... Credits travel ball coach Stephanie Klaviter as the biggest influence on her softball career, instilling confidence in her ... Majoring in sport and entertainment management.
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