COLUMBIA, S.C. -
South Carolina wraps up its 2010 home schedule on Wednesday with a 6 p.m. contest against Coastal Carolina. The game, the final home game in Joyce Compton's career at South Carolina, comes against her third most common opponent in history. Brad Muller brings the play-by-play to the Gamecock All-Access audio channel, while Gametracker live stats are also provided at GamecocksOnline.com.
Compton Calling It a Career at Season's End Joyce Compton, the winningest coach in South Carolina history in any sport, has announced she will retire at the end of the 2010 season, her 24th at the helm of the program.
Earlier this season, Compton won 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 347-192-1 (.644) in the fourth month of the year and 320-169-1 (.654) in the Joyce Compton era. In April SEC games, South Carolina is 98-103 (.488).
Scouting the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers
Coastal Carolina enters Wednesday's game at 20-24 on the season but falling in six of their last seven outings, including a weekend sweep at the hands of Radford. Jazmin Daigle leads the Chanticleers in nearly every offensive category, which includes her .403 batting average, .480 on-base percentage and .605 slugging percentage. Cacia Pierre is second in the "slash" stats listed above (.340/.430/.485) and RBI as well with 24. Mecaela Ballard provides speed with Ashley Pisone, but both have had issues reaching first, especially Ballard with a .258 on-base percentage.
Ashley Frederick leads the Chants in the circle, throwing over half of the squad's innings. She has a 10-14 record in 24 starts, tossing 151 innings, striking out 105 batters against 30 walks. Katelin Edwards is next in line with a 3.63 ERA and 10-8 record in 108 innings.
Gamecocks All-Time vs. Coastal Carolina
In 51 previous meetings against Coastal Carolina, the Gamecocks are 46-5, which includes two wins earlier this season. The most recent win came in Conway, as Joyce Compton won her 950th game at South Carolina in a 3-1, 10-inning win. In Columbia, the Gamecocks are 26-2 against the Chanticleers.
The Last Meeting - South Carolina vs. Coastal Carolina - March 24, 2010
A leadoff, two-run home run in the 10th from junior first baseman Laura Mendes powered the Gamecocks to a 3-1 victory at Coastal Carolina on Wednesday evening. Mendes went 2-for-5 with the two RBI, while junior catcher P.J. Fulmer was 3-for-5 with a double and an RBI. Stacy Snellings had three hits for the Chanticleers, with Jazmin Daigle and Cacia Pierre adding two each. Fulmer gave the Gamecocks a 1-0 lead with her RBI single in the fourth. That scored sophomore Lauren Lackey, who reached on a leadoff error. But Coastal tied it in the bottom of the inning when Ashley Pisone led off the frame with a homer to center. Neither team could score again through seven, sending the game to extra innings for the second-straight season at the Coastal Carolina Softball Field. The teams would keep it at 1-1 through nine. With the international tiebreak rule kicking in for the 10th, the Gamecocks went away from typical strategy to great effect. With senior Adele Voigt placed on second to start the inning, Mendes turned on the 1-0 pitch from Chanticleer starter Ashley Frederick and deposited it over the right-field wall for the homer, putting South Carolina on top, 3-1. Junior April Borchardt got the win in relief, tossing five scoreless innings, fanning two while allowing four hits and one walk. Sophomore Kelsey Goodwin earned her second career save, striking out one while giving up one hit in the 10th. Frederick went the distance for Coastal, giving up three runs, one earned, on eight hits and two walks. She struck out six while throwing 155 pitches in the game.
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.
Mendes leads the team in eight offensive categories, including these seven: batting average (.379), hits (50), triples (2), home runs (2), RBI (28), on-base percentage (.407) and slugging percentage (.561). Mendes also tops the team and is second in the SEC with 14 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 54 doubles, but only six 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-18 (.167) 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 44 games, the Gamecocks have used 22 different defensive alignments behind their pitchers. In the same thought, the lineup has been shuffled many times too, with 40 different batting orders attempting to stimulate the offense.
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.
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 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 second on the team in slugging percentage (.310), 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 16 RBI rank third 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.
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 17 runs batted in.