South Carolina Hosts Alumni Weekend, No. 7/7 Auburn|
April 20, 2017
Feature StoriesGamecock Softball: A Day in the Life
Superwomen to Be Honored by Gamecock Softball
Taylor Williams Driven by Family's Sacrifices to Succeed
Victoria Williams Finds Her True Colors
SEC Corporate Career Tour Offers Unique Opportunity for Student-Athletes
Strength of SEC Softball is a Point of Pride for Gamecocks
Law School the Next Step in Webb's Dedication to Help Others
Softball Alumni and Military Veterans Raise Awareness for Wounded Heroes
Gamecock Alums Rally Around Teammate After Louisiana Floods
Study Abroad Provides Unique Opportunities for Gamecock Softball Duo
Kaylea Snaer - 2016 NCAA Division I Doubles Leader
Gamecock Freshmen Build Connection before Columbia
Unique Recruiting Trip Impacts Future Gamecocks
Accountability Program for Gamecock Softball
Augustus Honing Leadership Skills
20-Year Anniversary of the First SEC ChampsOverview
Trinity Johnson Feature Kendra McCutcheon Feature
Kim Pietro Feature
South Carolina Hosts Alumni Weekend, No. 7/7 Auburn
South Carolina (25-18. 3-11 SEC) begins its final stretch of regular season play with a three-game series against No. 7/7 Auburn (37-7, 10-5 SEC) this weekend at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field.
Gamecocks Post Victory vs. No. 1/2 Florida State
The biggest SC Softball victory in 15 years occured on Fri., April 14, when the Gamecocks downed No. 1/2 Florida State 7-2.
Offense Facing Off Against Some of the Best Pitching in the Country
South Carolina’s offense has squared off against the top 100 teams in ERA according to the NCAA Division I stat rankings on 28 occasions already (as of April 19).
Blue Starting to Climb Gamecock Pitching Charts
Senior Nickie Blue claimed South Carolina’s saves record, her 19th, with a two-inning shutout showing on Fri., Feb. 24 against North Dakota State.
Two Freshmen Making Impact Early in 2017
Freshmen Mackenzie Boesel has produced with a team-best .348 batting average, .448 on-base percentage and seven home runs to go with 28 RBI, which ranks second.
Snaer Back to Threaten More Records
Senior first baseman Kaylea Snaer entered her senior year ranking first in SC history in doubles per game and walks per game and second in RBI per game.
Blue, Snaer Among NCAA Division I Active Leaders
Gamecock seniors Nickie Blue and Kaylea Snaer both rank among NCAA Division I’s active leaders in some statistical categories.
Gamecock Pitching Posting Solid Results
In February, South Carolina’s pitching tallied eight shutouts, tying 2014 for the most in the 2000s during the first month of the season.
Comebacks Becoming Regular Occurrence for Gamecocks
South Carolina has come from behind to capture a win seven times already this season.
The Schedule Has Never Been Tougher
The 2017 schedule is the toughest compiled to date by head coach Beverly Smith.
White Leading the Offense in Early Part of 2017
Krystan White leads the Gamecocks’ offense in RBI (34) and ranks third in batting average (.317).
Gamecocks Find Some Success in the Challenge in SEC Road Play
South Carolina has won a road game in its first three SEC trips this season.
Some Win-Loss Breakdowns
In wins, South Carolina has 123 free base runners via walks (95) and HBPs (28) against 49 in losses.
South Carolina Softball Historical Record
South Carolina has played 2,230 games in its softball history, going 1443-780-7 (.649) in its 41st season of sponsorship.
The Tigers stand seventh in the country in both major polls and come in at 37-7, 10-5 in SEC play.
Common Foes of the Gamecocks and Tigers
There are three common foes for South Carolina and Auburn, with similar results against each.
Ties Between South Carolina and Auburn
Tiger junior Carlee Wallace and sophomore Makayla Martin hail from the same SoCal A’s group that produced four Gamecocks: Kaylea Snaer, Hayley Copeland, Kennedy Clark and Mackenzie Boesel.
SC Series History vs. the Tigers
Auburn holds a 32-25 advantage in the series, though South Carolina has a 13-12 lead in games in Columbia.
The Last Series - South Carolina at Auburn - March 25-26, 2016
The Tigers swept the three-game set over Easter weekend on the Plains, though the Gamecocks got closer in each outing.
Auburn claimed a 10-0 (5) win in game one, with Kaylee Carlson getting the shutout win.
In Saturday’s first game, Auburn came back to take a 5-2 win, with a Gamecock error proving to be the turning point.
The series finale saw Auburn take a 4-3 win, fending off the Gamecocks’ comeback.
Auburn took a 3-0 lead, but home runs by Kenzi Maguire (in the fourth) and Kaylea Snaer (in the fifth) tied things. The Tigers loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth and got the go-ahead run on a groundout.
Gamecocks Love Home Cooking at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field
South Carolina holds a 19-6 home record, and the team’s numbers reflect the better play at home.
The team has a .975 fielding percentage on the finely-maintained surface of Beckham Field (thanks to Marcus Thurber and crew), compared to .953 mark in the 20 games away from home.
The pitcher’s strikeout-to-walk ratio is markedly better (136:91 at home, 72:70 away/neutral) as well as the opponent batting average (.208 to .274).
Senior Jessica Elliott (2.00 ERA at home, 4.45 ERA away) has been better at Carolina Softball Stadium and has shown better control (64:32 K:BB ratio at home, 30:44 away).
Ten of the 13 shutouts have come at home.
SC natives Krystan White (.349/.427/.556 at home, .286/.366/.333 away) and Victoria Williams (.355/.425/.581 at home, .233/.281/.333 away) enjoy the home feel the most.
Gamecocks Have a Rich NCAA Tournament History
South Carolina earned its 19th bid in the NCAA Tournament in 2016, the fourth straight under head coach Beverly Smith.
The Gamecocks are 37-41 in those trips, making three NCAA Women’s College World Series in their history (1983, 1989 and 1997).
The program has five AIAW World Series trips in its history as well prior to 1982.
Last season’s regional was SC’s fourth trip to a regional in Tallahassee and the third-straight year the Gamecocks drove to Florida’s capital city.
Gamecocks Off the Diamond
The Gamecocks post their third-highest team GPA in the past 10 years last spring (3.456).
Fourteen Gamecocks garnered NFCA Scholar-Athlete honors in 2015-16, the most under Beverly Smith.
Kaylea Snaer became the 17th Gamecock selected to CoSIDA’s Academic All-District team in 2016, a year after Victoria Williams made the squad.
Off the 2016 roster of 20 students, 17 Gamecocks earned SEC Academic Honor Roll nods.
The softball team has won the department’s Community Outreach Team of the Year twice under Bev Smith in 2011 and 2013.
Former Gamecocks have played a big part in helping out the Louisville Slugger Warriors team made up of former military veterans.
South Carolina Staff Has Top Credentials
Gamecock head coach Beverly Smith has been a part of 12 NCAA Tournament teams as a coach (eight at UNC, four at South Carolina).
Associate head coach Lisa Navas has been to six NCAA Tournaments as an assistant coach (four at SC, one each at UNC and Missouri) and eight as a head coach (six Division II at Barry, two at NC State). Her 1998 Barry squad played in the national championship game.
Navas has been selected to be a part of the 2017-19 USA Softball Women’s National Team coaching pool alongside 21 other coaches.
Assistant coach Calvin Beamon has three titles to his credit as a player, the biggest a College World Series title at Texas during 2005.
He also won the NJCAA Division I title in 2003 at the College of Southern Nevada and a high school state championship at Smoky Hill High School in Cherry Creek, Colo.
Volunteer assistant Matt Stewart worked the past three years at Florida, serving as a manager for both of the Gators’ national title wins.
Gamecock Newcomers, Signees Have Loads of Accolades, Accomplishments
Many Gamecocks have won awards at South Carolina, but the high school accolades continue to raise the specter of Bev Smith’s recruiting classes.
This year’s freshman class has two high school All-Americans on it: Mackenzie Boesel and Cayla Drotar.
The team also added its third NJCAA All-American under Bev Smith, signing Shannon Plese out of Chattanooga State.
Plese follows in the footsteps of former Tigers Melissa Hendon and Kaela Jackson (herself a former NJCAA All-American) and joins 2015 NJCAA Pitcher of the Year Jessica Elliott on the roster.
Drotar also claimed the South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year award the past three seasons, and next year, two-time New Jersey Gatorade Player of the Year Kelsey Oh will join her.
Meanwhile, Gamecock signee Alex Fulmer has racked up notoriety on the baseball diamond, playing for the last two years with the USA Baseball Women’s National Team.
She played on teams that won the 2015 Pan American Games gold medal as well as the consolation bracket of the 2016 World Baseball Softball Confederation World Cup.
Fulmer and Oh were joined by Jana Johns, Victoria Galvan and Alyssa Kumiyama in the 2018 signing class. Morgan Davis and Anna Vest also joins that group in the fall.
Leading the Gamecocks’ 14 returners is the senior pitching duo Nickie Blue and Jessica Elliott.
The duo combined for all 61 starts, 390.1 innings, 246 strikeouts, 37 wins and all eight saves.
Six position player starters return for the Gamecocks from last year’s squad.
South Carolina lost five students who combined to start 215 games, including a majority of starts at catcher, second base, left and center field.
The highest percentage lost in any offensive category is stolen bases at 75 percent, followed by triples at 66.7 and sacrifice hits at 50.
The Gamecocks return around 60 percent of its offense in most other categories, including 74.4 percent of their doubles to 71.7 percent of their home runs.
The top hitter from last year is back, senior Kaylea Snaer, as she led NCAA Division I in doubles and SC in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, hits, RBI and sacrifice flies.
Six newcomers could play in 2017, three signees and three transfers.
Leading the transfers is former first-team All-Big Ten catcher Alyssa VanDerveer (Penn State).
Also transferring in are a pair of award-winning outfielders: two-time 2016 Big Ten Freshman of the Week Lauren Stewart (Purdue) and two-time NJCAA All-American Shannon Plese (Chattanooga State).
The Gamecocks hail from 12 states this year, with the newcomers coming from California, Georgia, New Jersey, South Carolina and Tennessee.
Nickie Blue and Hayley Copeland are the first Gamecock duo who are both over six-feet tall.
While both are Williams’ and seniors by class, Taylor and Victoria are not sisters.
Cali Connection Shows Out in Homestead
Six of South Carolina’s players hail from California, including four everyday starters, and that quartet put on a show playing in front of family and friends in the Judi Garman Classic.
Freshman Mackenzie Boesel earned SEC Freshman of the Week honors after ranking fifth in the tourney in batting average (.571), posting eight hits, six RBI and four walks.
Senior Kaylea Snaer doubled twice and hit .400 on the trip, moving within a two-bagger of advancing on both the Gamecocks’ career doubles and total-base charts.
Sophomore Kennedy Clark doubled twice in the Indiana win and hit .375 on the weekend.
Junior Kamryn Watts stole a pair of bases while batting .316 in the five games.
Boesel, Snaer and Watts all reached base in all five outings, while Clark did so in the first three.
It was the Gamecocks’ third straight season to play in the Golden State (2015 Mary Nutter Classic, 2016 UCSB Gaucho Classic).
Augustus Plays Big Role in SC Sweeping Through Gamecock Invitational
Junior Jordyn Augustus did a little of everything in her four starts during the Gamecock Invitational, helping South Carolina win all four of its games in the event.
With an illness sidelining everyday starter Kamryn Watts on Friday and Saturday, Augustus put on an infielder’s glove and started three games at third base, making two errors in 12 chances.
To close out the weekend-opening win, she fielded three straight balls flawlessly in the seventh.
She brought in the game-winning run in the first outing against North Dakota State with a sacrifice fly before scoring the game-winner in the second outing against the Bison.
In that second game, she put down a bunt single, stole second and scored on Kennedy Clark’s RBI single.
She capped the weekend with a 2-for-2 day, stealing two bases, scoring twice, driving in two runs while reaching base in all four plate appearances, also reaching via walk and hit-by-pitch.
Overall, she batted .429 with a .500 on-base percentage and four stolen bases in the tournament.
Gamecocks Post Stellar Opening Weekend in Carolina Classic
South Carolina showed excellence in every aspect of the 2017 Carolina Classic, going 5-0 in the event.
The five wins pushed head coach Beverly Smith to 200 career victories, a new milestone for the seventh-year boss of the Gamecocks.
The Gamecocks won three of the five games in shortened contests, the most ever in an opening week of competition. and matching last year’s Carolina Classic output.
The defense looked outstanding, with several stellar plays coming from the infield, that sports former shortstops in three spots (Maguire, Watts and White as freshman at SC, Boesel in high school).
The team did not commit an error on the weekend, a five-game stretch. Only Toledo was able to match that in NCAA Division I through an opening five-game weekend this season.
Last season, the Gamecocks had one six-game stretch without an error (Feb. 20-26).
That helped the pitchers post a 0.23 ERA, which ranks sixth in NCAA Division I.
The group posted two one-hitters and a shutout streak of 27.2 innings, the longest since a 29-inning stretch in 2014 (Feb. 16-23).
Four straight shutouts began the year, the first time that has been accomplished by a Gamecock team. The 1983, 1984 and 1986 teams all tallied three.
Offensive Records Falling Regularly for Gamecocks under Smith
In head coach Beverly Smith’s first six years, the Gamecocks broke team offensive records 25 times (tracked on page 14 in these notes).
The 2016 team broke the HBP (85) mark and finished second in on-base percentage (.387), tied for second in doubles (82), third in walks per game (2.80), third in sacrifice flies (20) and fourth in walks (171).
Smith’s teams set the home run and slugging percentage records in four-straight seasons (2012-15) and the on-base percentage mark in three straight (2013-15).
While not a record, the Gamecocks have hit .291 over the past six seasons, 75 points higher than the year before Smith came to Columbia.