The South Carolina Gamecocks have qualified for the NCAA softball regionals for the fourth straight year. And for the fourth straight year, they are in by virtue of an at-large bid despite a conference mark of 7-17 in the stacked SEC. Their destination is familiar: Tallahassee, their assignment for the third year in a row.
South Carolina will get a chance at a little revenge today in the opening game of their regional: their opponent, USF, was responsible for knocking them out of the tournament two years ago. The Gamecocks fell to the Bulls in the first game, 6-0, before bouncing back with a win over Fordham the next day. However, the Bulls would score a pair in the seventh inning to come away with a 3-2 win later that afternoon to eliminate the Gamecocks. It was basically the same story last year: after the Gamecocks lost to UCF on day one, they kept their season alive the next day with a win over Dartmouth before losing to the Knights once more. Carolina has enjoyed contributions this year from junior Kaylea Snaer (.373, 40 RBI, 24 doubles) and senior Alaynie Page (team-high nine HR and 41 RBI), and they'll need more of that this weekend if they're to advance to Super Regionals next week.
The other two teams in the bracket are regional host Florida State and Florida A&M. The Seminoles (48-8, 21-2 ACC), who nailed down hosting privileges with their third straight ACC Tournament championship, enter the weekend ranked in the top ten in both national polls. The Rattlers (22-24, 10-2 MEAC) enter as a heavy underdog to advance - let alone beat the Noles - and are in their third consecutive regional as the MEAC's tournament champion.
Day 1 Schedule/TV and Live Stream Info
South Carolina vs. USF, noon ET (SEC Network, WatchESPN.com)
Florida State vs. Florida A&M, 2:30 pm ET (ESPN3.com)