COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina softball team and head coach Beverly Smith announced the team’s 2024 non-conference schedule today (Dec. 7). Carolina’s schedule will feature 31 non-conference games, 22 of which will be played at the Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field. The schedule is highlighted by a trio of home tournaments, along with a home-and-home matchup with Clemson for the annual South Carolina Education Lottery Palmetto Series.
The season begins at home with the Gamecocks hosting Jacksonville State, UNCG, and Virginia for the Carolina Classic Feb. 9-11. It will be the first time since 2007 that the two Gamecocks will face off against each other. Coach Smith will see a pair of familiar faces in the UNCG dugout in former assistant coaches Matt Stewart and Janelle Breneman, the latter has been the head coach of the Spartans for 12 years and led them to an NCAA Tournament bid a season ago.
South Carolina then heads to Mexico Feb. 15-17 for the previously announced Puerto Vallarta College Challenge. Carolina will face Wichita State, Utah, UC Davis, and UC San Diego. Both Utah and Wichita State made the NCAA Tournament last season. It will be the first meeting between the Gamecocks and UC San Diego.
Back home, South Carolina hosts its first mid-week game against in-state foe Furman Feb. 21. Two days later Carolina hosts its second tournament of the season, the Gamecock Invitational. The tournament includes Charlotte, James Madison, South Alabama, and UMass. The 49ers made the NCAA Tournament last season and are led by former Gamecock standout Ashley Chastain.
The Gamecocks host the College of Charleston Feb. 28 before hitting the road for the Knights Classic hosted by UCF. While in Orlando, Carolina will have an NCAA Regional rematch with the Knights, while also taking on Bethune-Cookman, Kennesaw State, and Princeton.
Carolina hosts USC Upstate March 6 before kicking off SEC play at Texas A&M March 8-10. The Gamecocks return home to host their final in-season tournament, the Garnet & Black Invitational March 14-17. The tournament will feature five visiting teams, three of which made the NCAA Tournament last season in Northwestern, which advanced to Super Regionals, along with Boston U, and Minnesota. They’ll be joined by Michigan State and NC State.
The first game of the South Carolina Education Lottery Palmetto Series will be in Clemson on March 20. The Tennessee series (March 23-25) is followed by a home doubleheader…