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Softball Set To Open Season
Feb. 8, 2018

South Carolina Travels To FIU

COLUMBIA, S.C. -- South Carolina softball is set to start the 2018 season this weekend with a trip to the Felsberg Invitational at Florida International in Miami, Fla. The Gamecocks open the season Feb. 9 against East Carolina at 11:15 AM, and finish the day against Hofstra at 3:45 PM.


> Carolina comes into the 2018 season looking to build upon a 34-25 season in which the Gamecocks reached the regional final for the third time under the direction of head coach Beverly Smith.
> The Gamecocks welcome seven freshmen and transfer Dixie Raley to the program this season to bring the Gamecocks to 20 active members.
> Head coach Beverly Smith has been California Dreaming with her roster, as South Carolina has six Californians on the team, more than any other state combined. The next closest is a tie with three between Georgia and South Carolina.
> Carolina won't be lacking arms this season with five available coming into the new season, leaving 15 fielders.




The Gamecocks open the season in the Felsberg Invitational at FIU in Miami, Fla. Carolina will be joined by FIU, St. Johns and Hofstra. The Gamecocks have never played farther south in the United States than they will in this tournament. No other home softball stadium in the U.S. is farther south than FIU's. Host FIU is coming off a 46-15 season, and return with three different hitters who led their team in batting average last season (App. State, Coastal Carolina and FIU). ECU comes in coming off a 26-30 record, while Hofstra returns all but one starter from 2017. St. John's is coming off its fourth-straight BIG EAST title game with a 32-16 season.


> The 2017 season ended with a 34-25 record, including eight wins over ranked> > The Gamecocks notably knocked off No. 1 Florida State in a 7-2 victory, which marked the program's first win over a top-ranked opponent since 2002.
> Carolina finished the year ranked in a postseason poll for the first time since 2007.
> South Carolina reached a regional final for the third time under Beverly Smith, as 2017 was the second-straight year Carolina had done so.


> While the circle will be filled with plenty of new faces, the plate will feature four of Carolina's top five batting averages from last season (Mackenzie Boesel, .341; Tiara Duffy, .319; Krystan White, .291 and Alyssa VanDerveer, .286).
> Out of those five, the Gamecocks bring back a combined 186 hits (44% of overall), 24 home runs (31%), 123 RBIs (52%) and 101 runs (38%).
> Boesel led the way at the plate for the Gamecocks in 2017, as the sophomore finished with team bests in nine different offense categories.
> On the season, Carolina outscored opponents 264-209. With plenty of key returners in 2018, expect similar numbers from the Gamecocks at the plate.


> South Carolina couldn't have asked for a much better start last season in its opening tournament (Carolina Classic) as the team posted a perfect 5-0 record over Ohio, Presbyterian, Longwood and Charlotte.
> This is nothing new for the Gamecocks, as the team has posted a 19-1 record over the past five years in opening tournaments to start the season.
> This will be Carolina's first road tournament to start the year since 2016, when it opened in the USF Wilson DeMarini Tournament. The Gamecocks went 3-1 in Tampa with wins over USF, Virginia Tech and Illinois State.
> In its five wins in the Carolina Classic to open the 2017 season, the Gamecocks allowed just one run, as they defeated Charlotte 2-1 in the final game of the tournament. Two games ended in five innings due to run-rule. .


> South Carolina's six game road trip continues next Wednesday when the Gamecocks travel to Charlotte on Feb. 14 for a quick one-game trip. First pitch is set for 5:00 PM.


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