The Gamecocks are looking for their 1,300 win in program history as they start their 41st season of intercollegiate action.
The first game in Boca Raton, Fla., against LIU Brooklyn will mark the 2,000th game in South Carolina Softball history, barring any rainouts before that contest.
Gamecock head coach Beverly Smith needs three wins to move into third for a coach in program history.
She needs 17 triumphs to crack the century mark, and her 18th victory this year would put her in second in program history past Lou Piel.
Smith is the third Gamecock head coach to coach a fourth season at South Carolina, joining Piel and NFCA Hall-of-Fame coach Joyce Compton.
South Carolina returns six position starters from last year's team, including starters at second base (Dana Hathorn), in left (Alaynie Page) and in right field (Chelsea Hawkins). All 59 starts in center field and at designated player return as well as the majority of starts at first and third bases.
In the loss of Samie Garcia, the Gamecocks lose their leader in batting average, runs, hits, doubles, triples, total bases, slugging percentage, sacrifice hits and stolen bases. She also was the only Gamecock with a start at shortstop on the roster.
The greatest statistical losses come in triples (7 of 10) and sacrifice hits (9 of 19).
In the rest of the offensive categories, the Gamecocks bring back from 70.7 percent (doubles) to 80 percent (home runs) of their production from 2013, a season where the Gamecocks set six team offensive records.
Blue is the first Gamecock to be listed over 6-0 since Melanie Henkes (6-3) in 2006.
The lone transfer this year, Sarah Mooney, earned 2013 Colonial Athletic Association Player of the Year accolades.
Leading the Dukes in eight offensive categories, Mooney won the CAA triple crown and set new program records with 17 homers and 67 RBI in 59 games.
Mooney moves closer to home in two aspects, hailing from the greater Charlotte area but also likely to serve as the Gamecocks' starting catcher.
The Masters sisters Ashlyn and Lauren are the first siblings to play on the same Gamecock team and the second set ever in the program's recorded history, after the Troesh sisters, Leanna (1997-99) and Debralee (2000-03).
While both Williams, freshmen Taylor and Victoria are not sisters.
Gamecocks Added to Their Rich History in NCAA Tournament
South Carolina made its 16th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and the first since 2007.
The Gamecocks are 31-29 in those trips, making three Women's College World Series in their history (1983, 1989 and 1997).
Four times, South Carolina has won a regional.
The Gamecocks made their seventh regional final (in multi-team regionals) in 14 appearances. The regionals in 1982-83 were best-of-three series against one opponent.
2013 Stands Alone in Offensive Records
South Carolina set six cumulative team offensive records in 2013 and five in the per-game categories.
Overall, the 338 runs, 45 homers, 295 RBI, 60 hit by pitches, .384 on-base percentage and .450 slugging percentage all topped previous marks.
In per-game comparisons, the 5.73 runs, 5.00 RBI, 12.17 total bases, 2.78 walks and 1.02 hit by pitches broke records.
Dana Hathorn got hit 25 times, more than tripling the previous season record.
The Joys of Playing at Home and Other Schedule Notes
After playing only 17 games at its home facility last season, tying the second-lowest mark in the SEC era (since 1997), South Carolina has scheduled 34 games for Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field before hosting the 2014 SEC Softball Tournament.
It would take no rainouts and two postseason games at home to tie the 2002 team's record with 36 home games in a year.
The Gamecocks have scheduled 24 of their 55 regular-season games against teams who made the 2013 NCAA Tournament.
After facing nothing but NCAA Tournament participants in conference play last year, South Carolina has two conference weekends against non-tourney teams this year (home vs. Mississippi & Auburn).
Two of the Gamecocks' SEC contests will be on television, including the opening game to ESPN's national coverage (March 22 at Tennessee on ESPNU).
The Gamecocks' April 19 game against LSU will also be on ESPNU, while all nine games of the SEC Softball Tournament will be on the ESPN family of networks.
How the Gamecocks Made the 2013 SEC Tournament and About the Win
The Gamecocks won their first SEC Tournament game since 2003 with a 6-3 win over seventh-seeded and host Kentucky in the first round.
It was South Carolina's first SEC Tourney win since May 9, 2003 over Mississippi State.
It took a win over No. 2/3 Florida, the first win over the Gators since 2003, ending a 28-game losing streak, to secure the berth, the first in Beverly Smith's head coaching career.
South Carolina swept its first SEC series of the year at Mississippi State, marking the first road three-game SEC sweep for the Gamecocks since doing it at Kentucky over March 29-30, 2008.
It's the first three-game sweep in Starkville in history for South Carolina.
The Gamecocks won their first SEC series of 2013 at Auburn, the first winning weekend in any SEC road series since the 2011 Arkansas win (4/16-17).
Returning Gamecock Hitters in SC's Top-15 Career Charts
Dana Hathorn would have broken the career hit-by-pitch record with just this season's 25. She's now at 34.
Hathorn is eighth in on-base percentage (.383) and 14th in batting average (.307). In per-game stats, she's 10th in RBI (0.49), 12th in runs (0.51), 13th in hits (0.99) and 14th in stolen bases (0.13).
Chelsea Hawkins is eighth in career slugging percentage (.481) and homers (16). In per-game stats, Hawkins is second in homers (0.12), 11th in RBI (0.48) and 13th in doubles (0.16).
The Single-Season Charts Saw Many Changes
Dana Hathorn more than tripled the single-season hit-by-pitch mark, getting plunked 25 times in 59 games. She also posted the fifth-best on-base percentage in a year (.463).
Chelsea Hawkins made it a five-way tie for sixth place with eight homers and tied Danielle Quinones for sixth in homers per game (0.14). She also tied for 13th with three sacrifice flies.
Kristen Struett tied for fifth with 43 RBI in a season and stood fifth with 0.78 RBI per game.
Alaynie Page finished 10th in runs per game (0.78), 11th in homers (7), 13th in walks (26) and walks per game (0.44) and tied for third in hit by pitches (7).
Ashlyn Masters has four sacrifice flies, tying for seventh with six others.
Pitcher Julie Sarratt made the single-season relief appearances chart (13, T-13th), and tied for seventh with 12 hit batters.
The Hawkeyes went 30-24 in 2013, but just 8-15 in the Big Ten to finish tied for ninth overall.
Iowa finished 39th in the final NCAA RPI report of 2013, two spots behind the Gamecocks.
Six position starters and the team's pitching ace returns for head coach Marla Looper's group.
The top returning hitter, junior infielder Megan Blank, earned first-team All-Big Ten honors last year, leading the Hawkeyes in nine offensive categories.
Lost was second-team honoree Johnnie Dowling, who was the top speed threat wtih 20 stolen bases in 21 tries who also scored a team-best 46 runs.
Kayla Massey returns as a dual threat, posting the second-most homers, RBI and slugging on the team last year.
She also tossed nearly 200 of the team's 356.1 innings, boasting a 3.09 ERA with 106 strikeouts against 96 walks.
Massey also gained the Big Ten All-Defensive Team spot for a pitcher.
Ties between South Carolina and Iowa
Iowa assistant coach Adrianna Baggetta played and coached at South Carolina from 1998-2010 before taking on her current role for the Hawkeyes.
The same SoCal Athletics travel-ball group produced Iowa senior Kayla Massey and South Carolina freshman Kaylea Snaer.
Series History vs. the Hawkeyes
South Carolina owns a 3-2 advantage in the series against the Hawkeyes, with all five games previously coming on neutral ground.
The Last Time - Iowa vs. South Carolina - March 6, 1999
The last meeting came at the 1999 USF/Speedline Tournament in Tampa, Fla., where the Gamecocks won a 3-2 contest. Adrianna Baggetta was a freshman for that South Carolina team.
The Bobcats went 28-29 last year for coach Jodi Hermanek, finishing tied for sixth overall in the Mid-American Conference.
Ohio lost its top hitter, first-team All-MAC selection Lauren Gellerman, but returns seven other position starters plus all but 1.1 innings of work in the circle.
Redshirt senior Chelsea Hortman, a second-team All-MAC pick, only played in 42 games but ranks as the top returner at the plate.
Senior Raven King also comes back after finishing second on the team with a .425 on-base percentage.
Two (sophomore Amanda Dalton and senior Alyssa Wolfe) of the top three base stealers return.
A powerful lineup a year ago, 48 of the 80 homers hit last year departed the team, including the top-two threats, Gellerman and Caitlin Colvin.
Pitcher Savannah Jo Dorsey, a MAC All-Freshman Team selection in 2013, returns as the ace, fanning 184 batters (against 93 walks) in 177.1 innings of work.
Dorsey went 14-9 on the year with a 3.39 ERA.
Also back is the second pitcher, junior Lauren McClary, who posted a 4.20 ERA in 151.2 innings of work.
Foes hit .261 off of McClary and hit 22 homers, while opponents hit .238 against Dorsey with 12 blasts.
Ties between South Carolina and Ohio
Former Georgia Bulldog teammates Laura Trout (SC's volunteer assistant) and Taylor Schlopy (Ohio assistant coach) will be in the same park again.
Series History vs. the Bobcats
The Gamecocks hold a 6-0 record all-time against Ohio, including a 4-0 mark at home, the last game here though coming in 1990.
The Last Time - Ohio vs. South Carolina - March 1, 2002
In the Plant City Tournament in 2002, the Gamecocks downed Ohio 9-1 in five innings.
Amber Curtis hit a three-run homer in the third to help South Carolina to the shortened victory.
The Blue Hose, under head coach Kama Tucker, went 22-31 last year, including a 7-16 Big South record.
Presbyterian returns one All-Freshman Team member (Erin Ruff) while losing its second-team All-Big South selection Cat Tarvin.
Ruff led the team with a .415 on-base percentage, while Shelby Petik, a junior this season, topped the team in homers, RBI and slugging percentage.
Junior Jill McLean also returns after leading the team in batting average and stolen bases.
Two other offensive starters along with Tarvin left in Tera Powell and Morgan Durham.
Junior Kensley Loudermelk returns as the ace in the circle, tossing 152.2 innings last season.
She fanned 99 and walked 73 en route to a 12-15 mark with a 4.68 ERA.
Also back are sophomore Sydney Seigler (4.67 ERA, 60 IP) and sophomore Kelsey Barnette (5.48 ERA, 52.1 IP).
Ties between South Carolina and Presbyterian
Both teams sport eight South Carolina natives, including Spartanburg Methodist grads Brooke Barnhill (Gamecocks) and Alexa Ritchie (Presbyterian).
Blue Hose junior Erin Taylor served as a manager in the fall of her freshman year before transferring to Clinton to play at Presbyterian.
Series History vs. the Blue Hose
The Gamecocks have taken the previous two meetings against the Blue Hose, with last year's 10-5 win coming at the Pine Grove Complex in West Columbia.
The Last Time - Presbyterian vs. South Carolina - April 16, 2013