Saturday's doubleheader on Alumni Day set for 1 p.m.; Sunday's game on SportSouth starts at 2 p.m.
April 16, 2010
Complete Release in PDF Format
COLUMBIA, S.C. -
The South Carolina Gamecocks return home to Beckham Field to start a four-game homestand this weekend. Mississippi State brings the opposition for the three-game Southeastern Conference set, with first pitch for Saturday's doubledheader set for 1 p.m. EDT. That will be Alumni Day at Beckham Field, as all former players in attendance will be recognized in between games. All fans for Saturday's game get in for just $1 as well. Sunday's contest is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start, with SportSouth televising the contest. Dave Neal and Cheri Kempf will be on the call, while you can always follow Gametracker or the audio feed at GamecocksOnline.com
Compton Hits Another Milestone
With the win at Coastal Carolina on March 24, 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 346-190-1 (.645) in the fourth month of the year and 319-167-1 (.656) in the Joyce Compton era. In April SEC games, South Carolina is 97-101 (.490).
Scouting the Mississippi State Bulldogs
The Bulldogs come to town looking to get back on the right side of .500 and keep postseason hopes alive as they enter the weekend at 22-23. Chelsea Bramlett leads the Bulldogs offensively, leading the team in batting average (.513), on-base percentage (.547) and stolen bases (51). She has yet to be caught stealing a base, while she's scored 51 runs. Ka'ili Smith provides the punch, posting a .642 slugging percentage thanks to seven doubles, three triples and nine homers. Jessie Bailey and Brittany Bell also have batting averages above .300, while Bell is 13-for-15 in stolen base attempts.
The pitching circle is where Mississippi State has struggled, as the team has a 4.40 ERA overall. Misty Flesher has tossed 100.2 innings, going 9-8 with a 4.17 ERA. She's struck out 57 hitters while walking 49. Lindsey Dunlap has been the most effective in SEC play, posting a staff-best 5.29 ERA in 39.2 innings of work, compared to Flesher's 5.56 in 34 innings. Stephanie Becker and Kylie Vry may also pitch some this weekend. In league play, none of the Bulldog hurlers have more strikeouts than walks.
Gamecocks All-Time vs. Mississippi State
Mississippi State and South Carolina have met 42 times in history, and neither team has an advantage. Both the Bulldogs and Gamecocks have won 21 games. In Columbia, South Carolina is 7-8 against State, with the Bulldogs taking the last four meetings at Beckham Field. The Bulldogs have won 12 of the last 14 meetings dating back to 2005.
The Last Meeting - South Carolina vs. Mississippi State - April 18-19, 2009
The Gamecocks got a shutout in game two of the series in Starkville, but the Bulldogs took the first and third games to claim the series win for the fourth-straight season.
Ka'ili Smith hit a three-run homer to lead Mississippi State to a 4-2 win over South Carolina in the first game of Saturday's doubleheader at MSU Softball Field. Mississippi State got on the board in the fifth with four runs. Jessie Spain led off the inning with a single and scored when the Gamecocks dropped the throw on the attempted force play at second. With two runners on, Smith drove the first pitch of the at bat over the wall in right to put the Bulldogs up, 4-0. South Carolina took back one run on Lindsay Walker's fielder's choice in the top of the sixth. With one out, the Garnet and Black connected for consecutive singles by Kristen Stubblefield, Jill Semento and Evan Childs. Walker followed with a grounder to short and beat out the relay from second, allowing Stubblefield to score. Laura Mendes tried to spark a two-out rally in the seventh with a blast that snuck over the wall near the right-field fair pole.
Three Gamecock pitchers combined with some great defense to get a 2-0 shutout victory over Mississippi State in game two. Kierstyn White picked up the win, spreading six hits over 4.1 innings, fanning four while not allowing a walk. Audrey Broyles earned her third save, giving up just one hit in two innings. Mississippi State's Lindsey Dunlap got the loss, allowing both earned runs on five hits in seven innings of work. South Carolina posted the first run of the game in the fourth when Semento singled home Adele Voigt, who reached on a one-out walk and stole her way into scoring position. South Carolna's defense, especially from third baseman Walker, helped them escape a jam in the fifth. With one down, South Carolina brought in Kelsey Goodwin, who got Bulldog cleanup hitter Sammie Jo Bailey to line the ball toward third. Walker snagged the ball and tagged out Brittany Bell trying to dive back into third to keep the Bulldogs scoreless. An inning later, Voigt made a diving catch on a ball near the line to take away a double from Ali Bainbridge. South Carolina added an insurance run in the sixth when, with runners at first and third with one down, Stubblefield singled home Mendes. Mendes got a one-out double and moved to third on Voigt's single.
The South Carolina Gamecocks lost the final game of the three-game series at Mississippi State, 10-2, in six innings. The Bulldogs tallied a run in the first when Chelsea Bramlett scored from third on Bailey's single to right. They made it 2-0 in the third on Brittany Bell's fielder's choice, allowing Brittany Gates to cross the plate. South Carolina got a run back in the fourth on Semento's RBI double. But Mississippi State responded with three in the fourth. Spain drove in two with a one-out single to center. She came around to score on pinch-hitter Laurie Siebert's single to center, making it 5-1 for the Maroon and White. The Gamecocks tried to fight back in the fifth, as Mendes singled home P.J. Fulmer after her one-out double. State would wrap things up in the sixth with five runs. Spain scored on Gates' RBI single, and Bramlett drove in two with her poke through the left side. Bailey brought home Bramlett with her hit, while Bainbridge ended the game with a single that scored Bell.
Welcoming Back a Gamecock Legend
Coming back to Columbia this weekend with Mississippi State is former Gamecock All-American Karen Johns. The former Miss Sanchelli serves as an assistant coach for Jay Miller. This won't be her first trip back to town since her time as a player and assistant coach here, as she was an assistant at Alabama and the head coach at Florida among her stops prior to Starkville.
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 (.382), hits (47), triples (2), home runs (2), RBI (28), on-base percentage (.398) and slugging percentage (.569). Mendes also tops the team and is second in the SEC with 13 doubles. In the PDF version of the notes linked above is the full listing of her current standing on the career and single-season charts.
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 54 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.
Need Some Help in the Pinch
The shorter bench for the Gamecocks this season has shown up mostly in pinch-hitting situations. In 17 plate appearances, South Carolina pinch hitters are 3-for-16 with two RBI. Kandyce Redondo broke the ice in the first Arkansas game on March 17 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.
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 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., with the final two destinations marking South Carolina's last six games of the year.
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. No sympathy came from Auburn, however, as the Tigers were slated to face all five top-five teams this year.
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 41 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 37 different batting orders attempting to stimulate the offense.
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.
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 has gotten their chances, with Hamilton seeing time at all four infield positions and Milks concentrating on third base.
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.
Childs stands third on the team in slugging percentage (.286), while her one stolen base is tied for third on the squad. Her nine doubles are second on the team and tied for 11th in the SEC while her 14 RBI tie for second on the squad.
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.