We’ve been keeping tabs on South Carolina softball in recent editions of the Feed Pail, so if you’ve been following along, this message may not surprise you. But it’s officially time to put it out there, loud and clear: These Gamecocks are cool, good, and well worth your attention.
Here’s the story so far: South Carolina, ranked 16th nationally, has compiled a 27-4 (4-1 SEC) record, is undefeated at home, and currently sits 14th in the NCAA’s RPI. Coming off an NCAA Tournament appearance that saw them reach a regional final, the Gamecocks got off to a hot start in their out-of-conference schedule. South Carolina took just three losses in that span: one to Florida International in the FIU Invitational, and two to national power and third-ranked Oklahoma in the Oklahoma Tournament. South Carolina then opened SEC play with a nice series win against then-No. 23 Ole Miss on the road, and posted a midweek win against Duke upon returning home.
That brings us to this weekend. The Gamecocks are hosting the No. 2 Tennessee Volunteers, a team they’ve historically struggled against to the tune of a 22-game losing streak. Given the Vols’ lofty ranking, this was bound to be a stiff test regardless of USC’s momentum and the series being in Columbia. But with Sunday’s game yet to come, the Gamecocks have already taken the series, doing so with two dramatic rallies in the bottom of the seventh inning.
In Friday’s opener, Kenzi Maguire scampered home after a wild pitch on a failed intentional walk (yes, you read that correctly) to lift the Gamecocks to an 8-7 victory after they had trailed 7-3 for much of the game. On Saturday, South Carolina entered the seventh down 4-2, but added three runs off Cayla Drotar’s sacrifice fly and Kennedy Clark’s RBI double. If you’re in need of adding some excitement or drama to your life, this team is happy to provide.
South Carolina now enters today’s game against the Vols (1 p.m., on ESPN and streaming!) in the enviable position of going for the sweep. The SEC is an incredibly deep and rugged softball league, much like it is with baseball, and so the Gamecocks will need to continue proving themselves against some of the best squads in the sport. (Also like baseball, there are multiple collegiate softball polls that vary slightly, but there are no fewer than nine SEC teams in each.) But it’s not too early to say this has been a special season already, so do yourself a favor and tune in.