Watch Sunday's broadcast on ESPNU starting at 2 p.m. EDT
April 9, 2010
Complete Release in PDF Format
COLUMBIA, S.C. -
The Gamecocks of South Carolina (10-27, 0-16 SEC) continue Southeastern Conference play this weekend when they take on Kentucky (22-16, 7-9 SEC) in a three-game set at the UK Softball Complex. Saturday's doubleheader is scheduled for a 1 p.m. EDT first pitch, while Sunday's contest has been pushed back to 2 p.m. to accommodate a national broadcast on ESPNU. Sunday's telecast will have Beth Mowins on the play-by-play and Michele Smith doing color. You can follow all three games this weekend via the audio feed on Gamecocks All-Access or the stats on Gametracker at 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. Other Division I coaches to win 950 games at one school include JoAnne Graf (FSU), Elaine Sortino (UMass), Eugene Lenti (DePaul), Margo Jonker (Central Michigan) and Diana Ninemire (California).
Carolina in the Month of April
Since 1984, the Gamecocks are 346-186-1 (.650) in the fourth month of the year and 319-163-1 (.661) in the Joyce Compton era. In April SEC games, South Carolina is 97-98 (.497).
Scouting the Kentucky Wildcats
The Wildcats stand at 22-16 on the season and 7-9 in the SEC with a balanced squad. Molly Johnson leads the squad in nine offensive categories, including the slash stats (.374/.463/.757) and all three extra-base hit categories (eight doubles, three triples, 10 home runs). Two other Wildcat hitters have on-base percentages north of .375 (Megan Yocke and Natalie Smith). Brittany Cervantes has done damage when at the plate, driving in 27 runs while tallying three doubles and eight homers among her 20 hits. While not a high total with 48 steals as a team, 11 different Wildcats have at least stolen one base. Johnson tops the squad with 14 stolen bases in 17 attempts.
In the circle, Chanda Bell serves as the ace, going 12-8 with a 2.26 ERA. She's fanned 209 hitters in 145.1 innings, walking just 50 batters. Her problem has been the long ball, as she's given up 23 gopher balls. She's also plunked 14 hitters this season. Rachel Riley is the second starter, going 8-6 with a 2.35 ERA in 80.1 innings. She's tossed five shutouts on the year to lead the staff.
Gamecocks All-Time vs. Kentucky
Historically, South Carolina has done the best against Kentucky, taking 33 of the 44 meetings coming into the weekend. The Wildcats have never swept the Gamecocks and have won just three series, but one of those came last season at Beckham Field. In Lexington, the Gamecocks are 14-5, taking eight straight dating back to 2003.
The Last Series - South Carolina vs. Kentucky - May 2-3, 2009
Kentucky captured the first two games of the series in 2009 from South Carolina, but the Wildcats could not spoil Senior Day, as the Gamecocks took the final game, 7-2.
A wild finish in both halves of the 10th saw Kentucky take a 4-3 victory over South Carolina in the first game of the Saturday doubleheader at Beckham Field. Kentucky broke through with two runs on a crazy play. Molly Johnson got a one-out double, but stayed there on a line out to center. With two down, Megan Yocke singled back through the middle. The throw home was wild, allowing Johnson to score and Yocke to get to third. While trying to get Yocke at third, the throw got away again, giving Yocke the opening to score. South Carolina did not go down quietly in its final at bat. Jill Semento started the inning with a single and moved to third on two groundouts. Lindsay Walker drew a free pass to make it first and third with two outs. Kaitlin Westfall hit a grounder to short, but the throw was wild trying to get the force at second, allowing Semento to score. With the tying run at second, Kentucky starter Rachel Riley got one more groundout to end the game.
South Carolina lost the second game of the doubleheader, 5-1. Kentucky's Chanda Bell went the distance, giving up just three hits and one earned run while striking out four. Kierstyn White got tagged with the loss, giving up the earned run in the first on two hits.
Jill Semento led the Gamecocks to a 9-2 win in the final game of the year, going 3-for-4 with two RBI. Evan Childs also had two RBI, while Adele Voigt and Laura Mendes both scored two runs. The Garnet and Black jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the first, partially thanks to a pair of errors by the Wildcats. Mendes and Voigt reached base and moved up on freshman Kristen Stubblefield's attempted sacrifice bunt. Stubblefield reached first on the play after an error by the Kentucky third baseman. Semento followed with an RBI single that glanced off the glove of the leftfielder as she tried to chase the ball down in the corner at the wall. Childs followed with her two-RBI single. With one down, Semento came home on a passed ball, and Childs followed when Lindsay Walker got on via an error by the first baseman. With two down, Jacqueline Wetherbee drilled the first pitch she saw to the gap in left center, plating Cagney Davis. Ashley Chastain got her first win of the year, going five innings, allowing just one earned run on four hits and a walk. Amber Matousek picked up the loss, giving up six runs, two earned, on four hits and a walk.
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 once again anchors the lineup, where she has at least matched her totals in every extra-base-hit category from a year ago.
So far, Mendes leads the team in seven offensive categories: batting average (.372), hits (42), triples (2), home runs (2), RBI (28), on-base percentage (.385) and slugging percentage (.566). Mendes also tops the team and is tied for the SEC lead with 12 doubles. She's tied for 17th at South Carolina with 26 in her career. After the home run at Coastal, she's 10th on the career slugging percentage charts at .451.
Need Some Help in the Pinch
The shorter bench for the Gamecocks this season has shown up mostly in pinch-hitting situations. In 13 plate appearances, South Carolina pinch hitters are 2-for-15 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 45 doubles, but only five triples have been given up by the Gamecocks in 2010. The outfield also has 12 assists, with the three listed above all making at least one. Lackey has made six, including five from right field, while Voigt has five from center.
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.
Fulmer has started every game at catcher again this season, and she's second on the squad with 14 runs batted in.
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.
The Gamecocks will continue on this season without their 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.
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 each 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 37 games, the Gamecocks have used 21 different defensive alignments behind their pitchers. In the same thought, the lineup has been shuffled many times too, with 33 different batting orders attempting to stimulate the offense.
Childs Ties Another Single-Game Record in Romp of Longwood
Sophomore Evan Childs has become known for big bursts of offense, especially 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 (.313), while her one stolen base is tied for third on the squad. Her nine doubles are second on the team and tied for 10th in the SEC while her 13 RBI stand third on the squad.
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.
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 the team with four wins and is tied for tops on the squad with two saves, she ranks second in ERA at 4.56 and has 30 strikeouts against 33 walks in 63.0 innings. She has also hit 10 batters and tossed five illegal pitches with runners on base.
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.
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.
Runs Coming in Bunches
This season, South Carolina has scored nine or more runs in four separate games. The last season that happened was in 2005, when the squad posted 15, 13, 12, 10 and nine runs in games during the year.
Not a Good Stretch
South Carolina suffered through its longest losing streak in program history, falling in 11 straight games. It did, however, avoid the program's longest winless streak, which came in 2005. The win at Coastal Carolina ended the stretch, which also marked Joyce Compton's 950th win at South Carolina.
The club enters the weekend on a 16-game SEC losing streak, which is the fourth-longest string in league history. Kentucky holds the record with 23, coming in 2003.
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 largest deficit and the most home runs allowed in a single game in program history. No. 22 North Carolina tied that home run mark against the Gamecocks on March 30.
Lone Star Connection
The Gamecocks brought in three pitchers in the 2009 signing class, but little did they know the connection the trio had. Despite hailing from Florida, South Carolina and Texas, Audrey Broyles, Kelsey Goodwin and Kierstyn White were all born in the Lone Star State. The Florida native Broyles and Goodwin both came into the world in Houston, which is still listed as Goodwin's hometown, while White was born and grew up for a time in San Antonio.