March 1, 2011
Complete Notes Package in PDF Format
COLUMBIA, S.C. -
South Carolina takes to the road for the start of seven straight games away from historic Beckham Field, as the Gamecocks play at in-state rival Winthrop on Wednesday afternoon at 5 p.m.
South Carolina vs. the Big South Conference
The Gamecocks enter Wednesday's contest with a 101-16-1 record against Big South schools, including a 40-8-1 mark against Winthrop.
Gamecocks All-Time vs. Winthrop
Wednesday's game marks the 50th recorded meeting between South Carolina and Winthrop on the softball diamond, with the Gamecocks holding a commanding 40-8-1 record in the series. In Rock Hill, the Gamecocks are 6-3-1, winning the most recent game there in 2008.
The Eagles enter the game with a 3-7 record and after taking a 10-day break since their last game. Winthrop went 0-5 in a tournament at Georgia since beating the Gamecocks on Feb. 16, losing to Marshall, Buffalo, NC State, North Dakota State and the host Bulldogs. Pitching has been the major issue for the Eagles, as the three-person staff holds a 4.34 ERA on the season. A total of 17 unearned runs have also crossed the plate on top of the 37 earned in 59.2 innings of work. Winthrop's pitchers have a 1.4 K/BB ratio.
Teja Durante leads the lineup at the top of the order, hitting .429 with two doubles and two triples. Chelsea Schoenfeldt (.348) and Brittany Stoudemire (.333, leads team with 6 RBI) have done well. Veronica Berrie made the Palmetto State Showdown all-tourney team but has fallen off to a .276 batting average.
Last Time vs. Winthrop - Feb. 16, 2011
Five errors cost South Carolina, as Winthrop posted three runs in the sixth to take a 5-2 victory over the Gamecocks at Beckham Field. Winthrop's Chelsey Schoenfeldt, Veronica Berrie and Teja Durante all posted two hits, while Durante drove in two runs. Junior third baseman Kelley Dillon had two hits for the Gamecocks, while four other Gamecocks tallied single hits.
Becker (2-0) kept the Gamecocks off balance in the complete-game victory. She gave up two earned runs on six hits and three walks while striking out five. South Carolina senior reliever April Borchardt (1-1) took the loss, allowing three runs, one earned, on four hits and a walk in 3.1 innings of action. Freshman Julie Sarratt got the start and extended her hitless streak thru the top of the fourth before Schoenfeldt doubled with one down. Sarratt ended up allowing three hits, two runs, one earned, and a walk while striking out six in 3.2 innings.
Great Start to the Season
The Gamecocks started things off a little better than they ended things on the field last year. With nine wins thru 13 games, South Carolina could surpass its win total from last year before starting Southeastern Conference play on March 9.
Showing Off the Wheels
South Carolina has recorded 21 stolen bases in the early going of 2011. That total is more than what the team recorded in six of the previous nine years. While a hard pace to maintain, it's worth noting that the Gamecocks have stolen more bases than games played in just three seasons (1992, 94-95).
And it's not one person doing the work on the bases. Five different Gamecocks have tallied three or more stolen bases, while two others have two.
Gamecocks Gain Confidence from Come-From-Behind Win
The South Carolina team did something that only two current members of the team can remember: post a seventh-inning comeback to win a game. The Feb. 19 meeting against Villanova saw the Gamecocks post four runs in the seventh to take the win. The last time the Gamecocks won a game trailing after six innings was on April 9, 2008, when Laura Mendes tied the game with an RBI single and Jill Semento cemented the comeback with a grand slam at Coastal Carolina.
Unlucky So Far
South Carolina has won nine games already, but some of their specialty stats seem to point towards much better things to come. With runners in scoring position, the Gamecocks have hit an SEC-worst .219. That includes a 0-for-7 mark with the bases loaded. In all situations, South Carolina holds a .294 batting average. If those numbers with runners in scoring position improve, it will be a big help to the Gamecocks going forward. Two of the highest games for a team with runners left on base in the league have been in two of the Gamecocks' losses (11 against USC Upstate and Winthrop).
Gamecock Defense Carrying the Load
South Carolina's defense has done most of the work this season in recording outs. In the 11-member SEC, the Gamecocks' 5.63 strikeouts per seven innings is 10th. And when the defense is good, so are the Gamecocks. When making one or no errors, South Carolina is 8-1. If two or more errors are committed by the Garnet and Black, they are just 1-3.
One feature that stands out for the defense is the lack of infield hits. Through 13 games, the Gamecocks have not allowed an infield single. Either the ball has gotten through, the out was recorded or a fielder's choice or error was charged. The team is fourth in the SEC in assists despite playing two and three less games than the trio ahead of them.
Does the Pitching Staff Have a Case of the Glavines?
Former Atlanta Brave starter Tom Glavine was notorious for having issues in the first inning before settling down and handling the opposition the rest of the game. The Gamecock pitchers seem to be the same way. The staff ERA in the first inning is 4.31, while during the rest of games it is just 1.32.
South Carolina is not prominently displayed in the SEC's individual stat rankings, but it would be bad for one to think that the team has not progressed at the plate. Less than 20 percent into the season, the Gamecocks have already surpassed their 2010 total in stolen bases and sacrifice flies and is one home run from matching last season's total. The Garnet and Black have a batting average that is 78 points better than last year (.294-.216), an on-base percentage 76 points improved (.363-.287) and a slugging percentage 141 points better (.429-288).
Broyles Hoping to Recapture Magic
The start of last season was nothing short of amazing for now redshirt sophomore Audrey Broyles. Among the SEC leaders in strikeouts and ERA during the first month of 2010, a shoulder injury shut her down right as SEC play kicked off. Even after two ineffective starts to end the year, Broyles still managed to hold foes to a .161 batting average in 42.1 innings of work. Now back healthy, Broyles looks to recapture her role as the ace of the staff. As a freshman, Broyles won 10 games and saved three more.
She made a step in that direction in the first game against Elon. She allowed just two hits in the shutout win, striking out six without a walk on the day.
Sarratt A Stunner in First Two Weeks
Freshman Julie Sarratt has been a revelation during her first two weeks in the Garnet and Black. She tossed a no-hitter in her debut against Coastal Carolina on Feb. 12, the 44th in documented history. She also tossed a shutout in her third start, shutting down Florida Gulf Coast. After her first loss against Elon, the rookie is 4-1 with a 1.30 ERA, which stands eighth in the SEC. She's struck out 28 batters in 27 innings of work and limited foes to a .128 batting average.
Sarratt and Broyles Shut Down Foes with Two Strikes
South Carolina's two top starting pitchers, redshirt sophomore Audrey Broyles and freshman Julie Sarratt, become deadly to hitters when they get two strikes. Broyles holds foes to a 3-for-40 (.075) mark when any at bat ends with two strikes (0-2, 1-2, etc.). Sarratt is almost as strong, as opponents are 5-for-48 (.104) in those situations. Overall, the pitching staff has held opponents to a .137 batting average in the two-strike circumstance.
Sarratt Toughest with Two Outs and Runners On
When on the brink of escaping an inning without damage, freshman Julie Sarratt becomes an even tougher pitcher than normal. With runners on and two outs, foes have gone 0-for-18 against Sarratt, drawing two walks. That includes an 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position and two outs. The staff as a whole holds opponents in that situation to a .176 batting average.
Borchardt Back for Another Go in the Circle
In her first year at South Carolina, April Borchardt became a savior on the pitching staff. Primarily an outfielder during her freshman season at Northwest Florida State College, Borchardt went 14-4 for the Raiders as a sophomore before coming to Columbia. Last season, Borchardt led the Gamecocks in wins and ERA while tossing 75 innings. She may be used either as a speedy outfielder or as the relief ace again this season.
In the early going, she's excelled in the relief ace role. She's gone 1-1 with one save in her eight relief appearances, the most in the SEC. She's compiled a 1.53 ERA, fanning 15 in 18.1 innings of work.
A First for Gamecock Pitchers
For the first time in recorded South Carolina softball history (since 1983), five different pitchers have recorded wins for the squad. Five times previously four pitchers had gotten a "W" in one season: 1995, 1999, 2005, 2006 and 2009. Of course, this is just the fourth season that five players have pitched in a game. The other years were 2005, 2009 and 2010.
The Long Ball Effective for Gamecocks
South Carolina has already hit eight home runs on the season, just one shy of last season's final tally. It has been a big help to the squad this season, as the Gamecocks are 7-0 in games where they have hit a homer. South Carolina has won just one game in which the Gamecocks did not record at least one triple or one home run.
The Fifth Inning Is Magic for Carolina
For whatever reason, the Gamecock bats come to life in the fifth inning more than any other. 18 runs have come in the fifth frame, double the next highest inning totals (second and sixth). Four of the eight homers and 14 RBI have also come in the fifth.
Offensive Onslaughts More Prevalent than Last Three Seasons
On three occasions, South Carolina has tallied 10 or more runs in a game this season. That matches the total of 10-or-more run games in the 2008-10 seasons combined, a total of 143 games.
Samie's the Sparkplug up Top
Sophomore shortstop Samie Garcia, in one weekend, proved why she was a key component brought to Columbia by head coach Beverly Smith for her first season. Garcia leads the team with a .400 batting average, a .460 on-base percentage and two home runs. She's in the top 15 in the SEC stat rankings in batting average and hits (18), while she's posted three stolen bases as well. She also ranks as one of two Gamecocks to have a double, triple and home run this season, along with junior leftfielder Kaitlin Westfall. Last season, Garcia won Co-Cal JC Player of the Year accolades at Cerritos College.
Fulmer's Ironwoman Streak Behind Dish Ends
Senior catcher P.J. Fulmer ranks as one of the toughest Gamecocks in history. Since earning the starting job during her freshman season, she's only missed a handful of games. She even took a ball to the face during the fall, knocking out four teeth, and missed minimal time. But after making a spectacular catch in the final game of the Palmetto State Showdown against USC Upstate, the senior experienced some tightness in her back and neck. She missed the Winthrop contest on Feb. 16, breaking a streak of 89 straight starts. She has come back to start the last eight games.
Let Not Westfall's Great Opening Weekend Go by the Wayside
Junior leftfielder Kaitlin Westfall came on strong toward the end of 2010, ending the year as the Gamecocks' second-best hitter in SEC play. She's built on that, currently ranking second among regulars in batting average and slugging percentage.
She had a stellar opening weekend in the 2011 Palmetto State Showdown. In the SEC's first stat rankings, she stood in the top 15 in the league in three categories, including tied for seventh with her 1.000 slugging percentage and 11th with 13 total bases. The Macon, Ga., native had a double, a triple and a home run during the first three games of the year.
Back to Bash Again
Laura Mendes has already made her way onto a handful of the Gamecocks all-time top-10 lists after three seasons in Columbia. Holding spots in hits per game, doubles per game and slugging percentage, the Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., native ranks as the top returning Gamecock hitter. Her powerful left-handed bat should once again anchor the lineup. She's led South Carolina in hits, doubles and triples in each of the last two seasons, while she also led the Gamecocks in numerous other categories as a junior.
Pitches for Mendes to hit have been hard to come by. She is tied for eighth in the SEC with nine walks. That is two more walks than Mendes compiled in the 2010 season.
Lackey Legs Out Some (Recent) History
South Carolina junior Lauren Lackey has made an impact for the Gamecocks with her strong defensive play during her first two seasons as a Gamecocks. But this season, she put those legs to work at the plate. Her first career home run against Georgetown came the hard way as an inside-the-park job. It is at least the first inside-the-park home run since 2001, as none could be found in the archives from 2002-10.
Freshman Making the Most of Opportunity
Freshman Dana Hathorn has fought her way into the starting lineup and has been solid during her time since gaining the job. She drew her first start against Georgetown, and the Gamecocks have won six of seven since that contest. She has done her part, hitting .304 with six runs scored and five RBI in that frame. But she's also been a standout in the field, handling 36 chances with just one error at second base.
Milks Making Waves Recently
Sophomore right fielder Hannah Milks has been a valuable member of the starting lineup this season, and lately she's made more of an impact with her bat. She has played outstanding defense in right field, including the no-hitter-saving catch that ended the game against Coastal Carolina during the opening weekend. But against Michigan State and Charlotte, she posted consecutive 3-for-4 outings to shoot back to second on the team in hitting. She's back to third in batting average at .310).
Carolina in the Month of March
Since 1984, the Gamecocks are 407-199-3 (.672) in the third month of the year.