Gamecocks Host No. 16/19 Tennessee for Strike Out Cancer Effort
Friday's single game starts at 5 p.m.; Saturday's DH set for 1 p.m.
April 1, 2010
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|Carolina Spotlight: Strike Out Cancer
COLUMBIA, S.C. -
While trying to raise money for cancer research, the South Carolina softball team will take on No. 16/19 Tennessee in a three-game set at Beckham Field this weekend. Friday's single game is set for a 5 p.m. start, while Saturday's doubleheader, the official Strike Out Cancer day, has a 1 p.m. first pitch scheduled. Gametracker live stats will be provided as well as an audio broadcast with Brad Muller on Gamecocks All-Access, the broadband channel of GamecocksOnline.com
Compton Hits Another Milestone
With last Wednesday's win at Coastal Carolina, Gamecock head coach Joyce Compton hit another milestone in her career in Columbia, S.C. The victory stands as her 950th in her career in the Garnet and Black. She is the ninth coach in NCAA Division I history to win at least 950 games at one school, cementing her names alongside fellow legends like Arizona's Mike Candrea and Michigan's Carol Hutchins.
South Carolina vs. Ranked Opponents
In history against foes ranked in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) poll, South Carolina has an 86-153-1 (.360) mark. In 2010, the Gamecocks are 0-9 against ranked opponents, 0-5 against top-10 squads. Last season, the Gamecocks went 2-12 versus top-25 teams, with the two wins coming over a fourth-ranked Alabama squad on Easter/Strike Out Cancer weekend at Beckham Field.
Carolina in the Month of April
Since 1984, the Gamecocks are 346-182-1 (.655) in the fourth month of the year and 319-159-1 (.667) in the Joyce Compton era. In April SEC games, South Carolina is 97-95 (.505).
Scouting the Tennessee Lady Vols
Tennessee comes into the weekend with a 26-7 record overall and a No. 16 ranking in the latest National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA)/USA Today poll. In a virtual tie for first in the SEC East, the Lady Vols have a dominating offense. The league leaders in batting average and runs scored, three Lady Vols have on-base percentages north of .500, with three more carrying OBPs of better than .400. Raven Chavanne is second in the SEC in batting average (.517) and seventh in OBP (.544), while she leads UT in runs scored with 40. Kat Dotson is the Big Orange's OBP leader at .563, while Tiffany Huff is third at .521. Jessica Spigner provides the power, clocking seven home runs to push her slugging percentage to .702. Chavanne and Dotson also hurt teams with their speed, stealing 19 and 17 bases, respectively. Kelly Grieve also is adept on the basepaths with 13 stolen bases on the season, while she's tied with Spigtner with seven doubles.
Pitching is a little down at Tennessee, but Ivy Renfroe and Cat Hosfield still do enough to get the job done. Renfroe leads the team with a 2.43 ERA and a 15-2 record, striking out 104 batters in 106.2 innings. She's walked 41 batters while hitting another 13 this season. Hosfield holds a 10-4 mark with a 3.55 ERA, tossing the only two shutouts for the Lady Vols. She's fanned 81 hitters and walked 34 in 100.2 innings. The long ball has been an issue, however, as the duo has given up 25 this season.
Gamecocks All-Time vs. Tennessee
The Lady Vols and the Gamecocks have met 37 times prior to this weekend, with Tennessee holding a 22-15 advantage in the series. South Carolina, however, has not defeated UT since 2003, a span covering 15 games. In each of the last two seasons, one game has been rained out. In Columbia, South Carolina is 8-9 against Tennessee.
The Last Series - South Carolina vs. Tennessee - March 15, 2009
Tennessee swept the rain-shortened series last year, winning both ends of the Sunday doubleheader in Knoxville.
Two three-run home runs led No. 7/6 Tennessee to an 8-1 win over South Carolina in the first game at Shari Parker Lee Softball Stadium. The Gamecocks left 11 on base, compared to six by the Lady Vols. Three Gamecocks had two hits each, as Laura Mendes P.J. Fulmer and LindsayWalker all had a pair of hits. Kierstyn White got the loss, walking one batter in the start. Ashley Chastain made her first appearance in the Garnet and Black, going four innings while allowing one earned run on five hits and two walks. She struck out four. Cat Hosfield got the win, allowing six hits and three runs in six innings of work, fanning seven in the process.
Despite Laura Mendes's first home run of 2009 and two RBI, the Gamecocks still fell to No. 7/6 Tennessee, 9-2, in the second game of the doubleheader.
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.
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 seven offensive categories: batting average (.362), hits (38), triples (2), home runs (2), RBI (27), on-base percentage (.376) and slugging percentage (.562). Mendes also tops the team and is tied for the SEC lead with 11 doubles. She's tied for 19th at South Carolina with 25 in her career. After the home run at Coastal, she's 10th on the career slugging percentage charts at .447.
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-12 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.
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 40 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's second on the squad with 14 runs batted in.
The Gamecocks will continue on this season without its top starter, as sophomore Audrey Broyles has undergone surgery on her right shoulder. 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. Her surgery, performed by Dr. James Andrews, should have Broyles back in the circle in time for the 2011 season for the Gamecocks.
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.
Still Looking for That Right Mix
Even with just 13 position players on the roster, South Carolina has still done quite the mixing and matching, trying to find the right player at the right position. Junior P.J. Fulmer has started every game at catcher, but no other position has had the same starter in every contest. The closest spot is in center, as senior Adele Voigt has started all but the two games she missed with a leg injury. In 33 games, the Gamecocks have used 19 different defensive alignments behind their pitchers. In the same thought, the lineup has been shuffled many times too, with 29 different batting orders attempting to generate the offense.
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.
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 (.318), while her one stolen base is tied for second on the squad. Her eight doubles are second on the team and tied for 10th in the SEC while her 13 RBI stand third on the squad.