#21 South Carolina Softball 2021 Preview

South Carolina Gamecocks
Overall Rank: #21
Conference Rank: #7 SEC
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South Carolina has reached seven straight NCAA Tournaments. There is little doubt that 2021 will make eight. In 2019 the Gamecocks lost their opener in the tournament to South Florida and did well to rebound from there, but ended up falling to Florida State in the Regional Finals. Coach Beverly Smith returns plenty of talent and, if this group can find an ace, could make a much deeper tournament run.
2019: 28-19, 9-14
2019 Postseason: NCAA
Coach: Beverly Smith
Key Departed Players:
Kennedy Clark, OF, .383 BA, 8 HR, 33 RBI
Dixie Raley, P, 3.63 ERA, 11-5 W/L, 124.0 IP, 101 SO
Jana Johns, IF, .348 BA, 15 HR, 44 RBI
Karly Heath, P, 3.19 ERA, 8-0 W/L, 48.0 IP, 42 SO
Key Returning Players:
Mackenzie Boesel, IF, .356 BA, 8 HR, 37 RBI
Kenzi Maguire, IF, .321 BA, 5 HR, 27 RBI
Lauren Stewart, OF, .293 BA, 7 HR, 29 RBI
Cayla Drotar, P/DP, .288 BA, 10 HR, 49 RBI, 3.52 ERA, 12-9 W/L, 130.1 IP, 73 SO, 6 SV
Kelsey Oh, P, 4.79 ERA, 5-5 W/L, 62.0 IP, 63 SO
The Gamecocks are now down to two of their key pitchers from 2019. In that season Cayla Drotar led the way with 130.1 innings pitched, posting a 3.52 ERA and a 12-9 record. Kelsey Oh hurled 62.0 innings and started 13 contests. Along with sophomore Karsen Ochs, the Gamecocks have a trio of proven options. Having options in the circle is nice, but South Carolina will need to be more consistent. The hitting can make up for any lapses on the mound. In 2019 the team led the SEC in batting average, doubles, home runs and on-base percentage. Mackenzie Boesel was the most dynamic hitter on the team, hitting .356 with eight homeruns and 37 RBIs. With Lauren Stewart, Kenzi Maguire and Drotar also back, this lineup has proven hitters top to bottom. Kassidy Krupit, a transfer from Baylor, will add yet another quality bat to the roster after belting ten homeruns with the Lady Bears in 2019 and knocking four out of the park with South Carolina in 2020.
Projected Postseason: NCAA Softball Tournament