Gamecocks and Chanticleers square off at 6 p.m. in Conway
March 23, 2010
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COLUMBIA, S.C. -
After a rough first 10 games in Southeastern Conference play, the Gamecocks step out to play in-state rival Coastal Carolina on Wednesday evening at Coastal Carolina Softball Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m., and you can follow along with play-by-play announcer Wes Todd on Gamecocks All-Access or via Gametracker at GamecocksOnline.com
The Gamecocks will continue on this season without its top starter, as sophomore Audrey Broyles has been shut down due to injury. The Pembroke Pines, Fla., native was on pace for an amazing season after tossing two consecutive one-hitters in the Florida Atlantic Strike Out Cancer Tournament. Through 32.1 innings of work, Broyles allowed just two earned runs while posting a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 13:1. But her control vanished in her next two starts, going five innings in each while walking six and fanning six. The ace role now falls to sophomore Kelsey Goodwin, who has been effective but has yet to collect a win on the season.
Carolina in the Month of March
Since 1984, the Gamecocks are 406-194-3 (.676) in the third month of the year and 364-170 (.682) in the Joyce Compton era. This year, the Gamecocks are at 1-10 in March. In SEC play, the Gamecocks are 72-74 (.493) in this month.
Scouting the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
Coastal enters the week at 13-13 overall, winning five straight as the Chanticleers prepare for Big South action next week. They face Elon on Tuesday before hosting the Gamecocks on Wednesday. While the team's batting average is .252, they do reach base at a better clip than their foes (.344-.328), while the slugging percentages are nearly identical (.391-.392). Defensively, Coastal has stuggled, making 42 errors on the season. The pitching staff holds a 3.50 ERA, striking out 109 hitters against 51 walks in 162.0 innings of work.
Jazmin Daigle leads the Chanticleers with a .370 batting average, .452 on-base percentage and .548 slugging percentage. Michelle Evans is second in batting average and slugging percentage, while she leads the squad with four home runs. Stacy Snellings is second on the squad with a .425 on-base percentage. Ashley Frederick is the top pitcher on the squad, going 8-7 with a 1.98 ERA. In 88.1 innings of work, Frederick has struck out 52 batters while walking 17.
Gamecocks All-Time vs. Coastal Carolina
In 50 previous meetings against Coastal Carolina, the Gamecocks are 45-5, including an 11-3 win in five innings earlier this season at Beckham Field. In Conway, South Carolina owns a 17-3 record over the Chanticleers.
The Last Time - South Carolina vs. Coastal Carolina - Feb. 14, 2010
The 2010 South Carolina softball team made a statement in its debut, breaking out offensively with 17 hits in an 11-3 win over Coastal Carolina at Beckham Field on Sunday during the abbreviated Palmetto State Showdown. Junior Laura Mendes and senior Lindsay Walker both had two doubles, accounting for half of the Gamecocks' total of eight in the game. Mendes, junior P.J. Fulmer and sophomore Evan Childs all had three hits, while that trio as well as Walker all drove in two runs. Senior Adele Voigt, Mendes and Fulmer all scored a pair of runs. Eight of the nine Gamecock hitters got hits, while another eight scored a run. Michelle Evans paced the Chanticleers (2-1) with two doubles.
Last Season at Coastal Carolina - April 22, 2009
Jill Semento struck again with her game-winning two-RBI single in the ninth to help propel South Carolina past Coastal Carolina, 6-2, at the CCU Softball Field. After no one scored in the eighth with the international tiebreaker rule in effect, the Gamecocks broke through in the ninth. Adele Voigt, the lead runner, moved to third on Lindsay Walker's sacrifice bunt, and Kristen Stubblefield got hit by a pitch to put runners at first and third ahead of Semento. Semento, who was 6-for-6 with nine RBI in her career coming into the night against the Chanticleers, made the home team pay for facing her after walking her three times earlier, taking one back through the middle to plate both Voigt and Stubblefield, who stole her way into scoring position. Evan Childs, playing in her hometown, added a pair of insurance runs as she drilled the 2-2 offering over the fence in left center, handing South Carolina the 6-2 advantage.
Not a Good Stretch
South Carolina is on the longest losing streak in program history, falling in 11 straight games. The squad is one away from matching the longest winless streak, which came in 2005. In that stretch, 10 losses came in SEC play, while the Gamecocks also lost at Winthrop before tying in the final game of the doubleheader in Rock Hill.
Schedule Ranks Among the Toughest
Head coach Joyce Compton always assembles a tough schedule for her squads, but the rise of the SEC has helped make that schedule automatically among the toughest in the nation the past few seasons. This year is no exception, as the Gamecocks are slated to face three of the top five and eight of the top 25 teams in the preseason polls this season. Of those 20 games against the preseason top 25, 14 of those games will come away from Beckham Field. In fact, all 11 games against the preseason top 10 will happen in Tuscaloosa, Ala., Gainesville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.
While facing three of the top five is rough, the Gamecocks have had tougher slates before in regular-season play. Twice South Carolina has faced four of the top five teams in the preseason NFCA coaches poll in 2001 and 2003 and three on two more occasions in 1997 and 1999. There will be no sympathy from another SEC member, however, as Auburn is slated to face all five top-five teams this year.
There Have Been Better Days
The Gamecocks lost 21-1 (5) to No. 8/5 Alabama in the final game of the series in Tuscaloosa, Ala. The contest saw the most runs allowed, the most lopsided loss and the most home runs allowed in a single game in program history.
Bats Showed Early Life
While snow kept South Carolina from starting its season as planned, the Gamecocks began the season hot at the plate. The team has won two mercy rule-shortened games (Coastal Carolina and North Florida), while another went seven but was a 15-1 Gamecock win. The squad owns two season bests in the SEC this year, including eight doubles in the Coastal Carolina victory.
Childs Ties Another Single-Game Record in Romp of Longwood
Sophomore Evan Childs is becoming known for big bursts of offense early in the year. In her second career game, she tied the program single-game record with two homers against the College of Charleston. This season, she waited until game four to put up a historic mark. The Conway, S.C., native hit three doubles in the second game against Longwood, tying Ashley Smith's six-year-old record.
Mendes, Walker Lead Gamecocks to Season-Opening Win
Behind two doubles by both senior Lindsay Walker and junior Laura Mendes, the Gamecocks won their first game of the 2010 season over Coastal Carolina. Those four doubles accounted for half of the Gamecocks' total of eight, the most since a six-double outbreak against Mercer on March 5, 2005. The 17 hits were the most since South Carolina recorded 20 in a 15-2 (5 inn.) win over South Dakota State earlier on that same day in `05.
Back to Bash
Junior Laura Mendes ranks as the top Gamecock hitter returning from last year's squad. Her powerful left-handed bat should once again anchor the lineup, where she hopes to best her eight doubles and two triples from a year ago, both of which led the squad.
So far, Mendes leads the team in six offensive categories: batting average (.375), hits (33), triples (1), RBI (19), on-base percentage (.396) and slugging percentage (.511). Mendes also tops the team and is tied for the SEC lead with 10 doubles.
The Glove Where Triples Goes to Die Came from This State, Too
South Carolina native Joe Jackson had a glove that was described as the place where triples go to die. This year's Gamecock outfield could follow in the legacy of the great Jackson. Both senior Adele Voigt and sophomore Lauren Lackey have above-average speed that could help keep balls out of the gaps. And newcomer April Borchardt picked up three steals during the fall while covering a lot of ground when in the outfield. That trio was the opening-day starters, with Voigt shifting to center after claiming SEC All-Defensive honors in left in 2009, with Borchardt flanking her in left and Lackey in right.
The pitchers have allowed 34 doubles, but only five triples have been given up by the Gamecocks in 2010. The outfield also has 11 assists, with the three listed above all making at least one. Lackey has made six, including five from right field.
Steady Influence Behind the Plate
Junior catcher P.J. Fulmer has been a solid contributor for two years. She started 43 of the team's 45 games last season behind the plate, lending leadership to a staff that had four members in their first year in the SEC. She'll be relied upon once again to guide a young staff, as there will be two juniors and three sophomores throwing for the Gamecocks.
Fulmer has started every game at catcher again this season, and she ranks third on the squad with 12 runs batted in on the year.
Need Some Help in the Pinch
The shorter bench for the Gamecocks this season has shown up mostly in pinch-hitting situations. In 12 plate appearances, South Carolina pinch hitters are 1-for-11 with two RBI. Kandyce Redondo broke the ice in the first Arkansas game with an infield single. Earlier in the year, Audrey Broyles brought home a run with a bases-loaded walk, while Kaitlin Westfall also has a run batted in off the bench. Last season, Gamecock pinch hitters hit .179 with eight RBI.
Last Remaining Vestiges
The year 2007 was a magical one for South Carolina softball. The squad won 38 games and advanced into the program's first NCAA Super Regional. From that squad, only two players remain, and both played a significant role on that team. Adele Voigt and Lindsay Walker both played in every game that season, with Walker not missing a start at shortstop and Voigt starting all but one game in the outfield.
Nice Double, Can You Do It Again?
Evan Childs did something last season that has only happened three other times in Gamecock history (since 1982). The Conway, S.C., native led South Carolina in both home runs and stolen bases, putting her name among legends like Dana Fulmer, Christie Dammer and Lindi James. She was also the first Gamecock to accomplish the feat during the Southeastern Conference era. What will she do for an encore? That is something everyone is waiting to see.
Childs stands second on the team in slugging percentage (.354), while her one stolen base is tied for second on the squad. Her eight doubles are second on the team and seventh in the SEC while her 13 RBI stand second on the squad.
Bringing in the Palmetto State's Best
The Gamecocks have been very active recruiting the best from their own state. The 2009 freshman class included Evan Childs and Kierstyn White, while the 2010 rookies include Briana Hamilton and Hannah Milks. The latter duo will get their chances around the infield, with Hamilton possibly getting time at all four positions and Milks concentrating on the left side.
Strength Always in the Circle
The Gamecock teams that have gone the farthest have always had strong pitching. While there's only one addition to the pitching staff this year in April Borchardt, who is primarily an outfielder, there are reasons for hope. Returning sophomores Audrey Broyles and Kierstyn White both learned many lessons during their freshman season as they combined to throw 230 of the squad's 312 innings. Rick Pauly has also joined the staff after a successful stint as head coach at Spartanburg Methodist College. A longtime pitching instructor at the high school level, Pauly hopes his methods translate to the top level of collegiate softball.
The Fall's Shining Star Struggling in Spring
Junior Ashley Chastain came in without a lot of fanfare last year, but she finished the spring with a bang. The winner in the season-ending contest against Kentucky, Chastain continued that momentum into the fall. She won all four games in which she pitched while tossing one complete game. She did not allow an earned run in 22 innings while tying for the team lead in strikeouts.
The spring has not been great so far for Chastain. While she leads with four wins and tops the squad with two saves, she ranks third in ERA at 4.20 and has 19 strikeouts against 22 walks in 45.0 innings. She has also hit seven batters and tossed five illegal pitches with runners on base.