COLUMBIA, S.C. – Possibly the toughest test to this point on the 2023 campaign awaits the Presbyterian College softball team on Wednesday evening, riding a three-game winning streak into a date with the South Carolina Gamecocks, a squad that holds a win percentage of nearly 85% after one month. The fourth all-time meeting between the two schools and first since 2017, Beckham Field’s opening pitch is slated for 6:00 p.m., televised on SEC Network +.
Last seen picking up a weekend sweep over Queens by respective tallies of 3-0 and 5-3, the Blue Hose boosted their home record to 14-3 on the year and 17-5 overall. As impressive as head coach David Williams’ lineup has been – especially when on the defensive end – the team’s background away from Clinton is substantially low, with tomorrow’s in-state affair representing just the third true road meeting of the semester.
Wednesday will mark a rarity for Williams’ tenure guiding PC, accounting for the second matchup against a Southeastern Conference opponent and first such instance since 2019 – his inaugural season in Clinton – in a visiting capacity vs. Georgia. Presbyterian was scheduled to face the Gamecocks in 2020, however the game was eventually canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
WHO: Presbyterian (17-5) at South Carolina (22-4, 1-2 SEC)
WHEN: Wednesday, March 14 (6:00 p.m.)
WHERE: Columbia, S.C.
WATCH: SEC Network +
LIVE STATS: Stat Broadcast
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT
- One of the most daunting resumes of any school to not be recognized by any of the three major NCAA Division I softball polls, South Carolina brings a fantastic start to the year with them to tomorrow’s proceedings, even with a series defeat at the hands of #14 LSU that wrapped up on Monday night. Head coach Beverly Smith’s club rides in at 22-4, ranking ninth in the nation in runs per game (7.33), on-base percentage (.436), and total doubles (42).
- On pace to drastically exceed expectations from a preseason pick of 13th in a league that boasts nine top 25 programs as of Tuesday afternoon, USC’s 21-2 start (prior to losing two of three to the Tigers) registered as the school’s best opening to a single year since 2018, reaching separate winning streaks of 14 and 7 already.
- Smith passed the 400-win plateau in a 9-1 triumph over North Carolina back on the 1st of the month, becoming the 29th active head coach at the Division I level to reach that number while only directing one school. The program’s leader since 2010, Smith has given the Gamecocks seven NCAA Tournament appearances and is the second-winningest coach in the 50-year history of the team.
- While USC has mostly been tremendous through the nonconference phase of 2023 – victorious by an average margin of six runs – their SEC opener against LSU wasn’t to their liking, able to grab a 4-2 W in the second try but sandwiched in between two losses by a combined clip of 14-2. Despite the series setback, the Gamecocks still possess a record of 13-3 when competing alongside home field advantage.
LAST TIME OUT
- Pitching excellence again was the key to another profound performance at the newly-renovated PC Softball Complex last weekend, riding sophomore Morgan Hess and freshman Peyton Duncan’s complete games to earn consecutive W’s over Queens. Far and away the team’s most conspicuous strength, the Blue Hose’s collective ERA sits at a robust 1.40, the 11th-lowest number in the country.
- A member of an exclusive club of just 25 schools to have gathered at least seven shutouts thus far, Presbyterian’s three-headed pitching monster (which also includes senior Jenna Greene) is making its way to permanent residence near the top of the school record books, on track to set a new program-best earned-run average for a single season which was established in 2011 (1.90).
- Exploding out of the gates for the team’s second-longest winning streak ever (12) and most proficient opening to a campaign since turning D-I 15 years back, PC’s electric first month has positioned Williams just five wins away from hitting 100 as the Blue Hose chief, outscoring the other side 80-51 overall while surrendering just two homers in 22 encounters.
- One year removed from the school’s highest-ever win total (36), the ’23 edition of PC softball is littered with individuals either approaching or already at the top of numerous statistical categories, most noteworthy of all is Greene. A six-time Big South Pitcher of the Week, the four-year sensation is the all-time PC strikeout queen with 536 K’s, a number that is currently 121 more than the second-place rep. Additionally, Greene has stockpiled more shutouts than any other Blue Hose pitcher (20), only three W’s away from matching the program-high of 48 achieved by Leslie Hensley (2009-12).
- The #1 and #2 lowest ERA’s in Presbyterian history belong to Greene and Hess, both below two (the latter with the all-time lowest mark of 1.85 in 35 appearances). Hess has proven to be just as dangerous of an offensive threat while still an underclassman, already with seven home runs this semester which rests five behind Hope Rogers’ career record of 28 (2014-17).
- Junior second baseman Kaitlyn Tucker, a player who has never not started in all 102 games to feature her, remains comfortably ahead in 1st-place for the school’s highest cumulative on-base percentage (.444), also ranking third in batting average (.325).
- Shortstop Layna Johnson, first baseman Jillian Hewes, and catcher Lath Freeman are all members of Presbyterian’s top 10 in terms of career slugging percentage (encompassing all players with at least 200 at-bats), helping PC cover 39 extra-base swings and 15 longballs since February.
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Presbyterian College baseball team began its second straight five-game week on Tuesday suffering a 5-0 defeat at the hands of #16 South Carolina at Founders Park in Columbia, S.C…
FINAL SCORE: #16 South Carolina 5, Presbyterian 0
LOCATION: Founders Park (Columbia, S.C.)
RECORDS: Presbyterian (7-10) | #16 South Carolina (17-1)
W: Eli Jones (4-0) | L: Kyle Mueller (1-1)
HOW IT HAPPENED
- South Carolina got on the board with three runs in the second to get the 3-0 lead over the Blue Hose.
- The Gamecocks connected on back-to-back homers in the third to push the lead to 5-0. Neither team got on the scoreboard over the six innings as the hosts earned a 5-0 victory on Tuesday afternoon.
- Jack Gorman increased his reached base streak to 17 in the opening inning on Tuesday as Gorman drew his team-high sixth hit-by-pitch.
- With his second inning single, Brody Fahr has now reached base safely in 14 straight contests. Fahr's second inning single marked his team-high 20th base hit of the season.
- In his first college start, Kyle Mueller tallied a career-high with five strikeouts in his two innings of work.
- Senior William Farrar tallied a career-high on Tuesday with 3.0 shutout innings in relief.
- Freshman Trey Fenderson increased his reached base streak to nine consecutive games with a walk in Tuesday's defeat.
GREENVILLE, S.C. – The Presbyterian College baseball team could not overcome a fast start from Duke on Wednesday night as the Blue Devils recorded a 15-2 victory at Fluor Field in Greenville, S.C…
FINAL SCORE: Duke 15, Presbyterian 2
LOCATION: Fluor Field (Greenville, S.C.)
RECORDS: Presbyterian (7-11) | Duke (11-6)
W: Jason White (2-0) | L: Luke Gibson (0-1)
HOW IT HAPPENED
- Duke got on the board first with a pair of runs in the opening frame to get the early advantage on Wednesday night.
- The Blue Devils continued to put the pressure on PC in the second with three homers and seven runs in the inning to push it to a 9-0 game.
- Ryan Ouzts opened the second with a solo shot to left to make it a 9-1 score for Duke.
- The Blue Devils pushed across a pair of runs in the third and the fifth to make it 13-1 after 4.5.
- Duke pushed across two in the seventh inning to make it 15-1.
- Jay Allred tallied an RBI groundout in the ninth before the Blue Devils earned the midweek victory in Greenville.
- With his three hits on Wednesday, Jack Gorman has now reached base safely in all 18 games to begin the season.
- Gorman also added his team-high seventh double in the opening inning against the Blue Devils.
- Ouzts connected on his second homer of the season in the second inning.
- Brody Fahr was able to extend his reached base streak to 15 in a row on Wednesday night. Fahr drew a walk in the ninth inning.
- Freshman Trey Fenderson reached base twice on Wednesday via the hit-by-pitch to increase his reached base streak to 10 straight games.
- Freshman William Nobles made his collegiate debut in the ninth inning pitching a scoreless inning with his first college strikeout.
- PC begins league play on Friday with a 6 p.m. first pitch on the road against High Point on ESPN+.