Softball opens season with four-game set

Gamecocks go 3-1 over opening weekend

The South Carolina softball team posted a 3-1 record in the Carolina Classic to kick off the 2014 season at Beckham Field.

The Gamecocks opened the 2014 campaign with a 1-0 victory over Iowa on Friday to start the season. On Saturday South Carolina split its two games, first falling to Ohio, 5-2, but notching a 9-0 victory over Presbyterian in five innings to earn the split.

“I think just having the games, getting the experience and really just having the girls, the at-bats against different pitching helped,” coach Beverly Smith said. “The really good thing about the weekend is that we really did see some different pitchers so we’ll be able to make some adjustments quicker now as we get in the flow.”

South Carolina continued its hot hitting with a 13-0 win over UNC Greensboro in five innings on Sunday to close out the weekend on a high note.

After the first full weekend of competition, Smith was very pleased with the team’s offensive production and thinks that it can carry them throughout the season.

“I think we have a potent offense and that’s going to be our strength,” Smith said. “I thought our pitching showed well this weekend, throwing a few shutouts which is going to give us a lot of confidence in our pitching staff for sure.”

The Gamecocks got big contributions from many of their newcomers, particularly freshmen Nickie Blue and Kaylea Snaer. Blue went 3-0 from inside the circle in the opening tournament by throwing for almost 15 innings without giving up an earned run. Snaer drilled two home runs over the weekend and now leads the team in almost every statistical category offensively.

After watching her freshmen get their first taste of the college game, Smith was more than pleased with their efforts.

“They certainly had a great weekend and I expect that from them,” Smith said. “They are talented softball players and they’re going to do big things for us. For both of them to come in and have the composure they did over the weekend, I was proud of them.”

Smith added that she was pleased with the contributions throughout the lineup over the weekend which gives the coaching staff confidence going forward.

Junior Sarah Mooney had a home run and four RBIs while batting .400 in the first weekend and freshman Taylor Williams hit a monster three-run home run during Sunday’s route of UNC Greensboro as well.

After opening up their season at home, the Gamecocks will travel to Charlotte for a tune-up contest before heading to Boca Raton, Fla. for the Florida Atlantic Strike Out Cancer Tournament.

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