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May 5, 2013

Gamecocks make first SEC softball tournament under Beverly Smith

With the win over Florida in the final game of the regular season, South Carolina claimed a spot in the 2013 Southeastern Conference Tournament.

With the win over Florida in the final game of the regular season, South Carolina claimed a spot in the 2013 Southeastern Conference Tournament.

The Gamecocks will take on host and seventh-seeded Kentucky in the first round at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

USC earned its first postseason berth since 2007, going 8-16 in SEC play and winning the tiebreaker over Mississippi State by virtue of the series sweep in Starkville a weekend ago. At 31-22, South Carolina has clinched its first winning season since 2007.

Both are the first for the Gamecocks under Beverly Smith, who is in her third year as head coach.

Kentucky enters the tournament coming off a road series win at Alabama, pushing their record to 38-17, 13-11 in SEC play. The Wildcats came to Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field earlier this year, taking all three games in Columbia.

In SEC Tournament play, the Gamecocks are 15-15 all-time, winning the 1997 and 2000 events.

The winner of the South Carolina-Kentucky matchup faces second-seeded Tennessee on Thursday.

All nine games of the single-elimination tournament will be televised nationally, with the Gamecocks’ contest on Wednesday set for ESPNU.

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