Kennedy Clark Senior Day photo

Beverly Smith and Kennedy Clark

In her four seasons at South Carolina, Kennedy Clark was on the Gamecock roster for 243 games. Of those, she played in 238 (98 percent) and started 225 (93 percent).

She batted .310 and knocked in 36 runs as a freshman and hit .383 with 31 RBI as a senior. She committed just two errors in left field during her entire career and had perfect fielding percentages as a freshman and junior.

That was Kennedy Clark.

Not only consistent, but consistently productive. Reliable. A leader. Someone who believed.

"I consider her kind of our glue. Our 'Glue Gal' is what I've called her," South Carolina head coach Beverly Smith said in May. "She's got relationships with all the players. She has led by example and has literally been in the lineup every single day since she started here.

"I'm so happy for her, that's she’s leaving on top, having had a tremendous career. I think she’s left her fingerprints all over the culture of the locker room and the players that are there."

Clark capped her career with most heroic moment: In a win-or-go-home game in the NCAA Tournament regional round, with South Carolina and South Florida tied in the 10th inning, the lefty crushed a solo home run to give the Gamecocks a decisive lead in the eventual 2-1 victory.

"Make it a good at-bat, just stay within yourself and not try to make [the moment] too big," Clark told herself before stepping to the plate.

It was Alyssa Kumiyama’s favorite memory of her teammate’s career. “That was one moment when she was at her happiest,” the Gamecock first baseman said.

A day later, after South Carolina’s season-ending loss to Florida State, Clark, a southern California native, reflected on her career and her decision to head east.

"I don't regret my decision one bit. I'm happy I came here," she said. "My goal was to make an impact on the softball program, and I feel like I've left my impact on this team. … I'm just glad I made this decision. I made friends and teammates that are life-long. I'm really happy about my four years here."

Clark's consistency as a senior led her to the top of the team leaderboard in batting average, which was 16 points higher than any of her teammates. She finished second on the team in doubles (17), third in slugging (.643), fourth in RBI (31) and tied for fifth in home runs (seven).

Clark was also hit by nine pitches, a category she finished her career in the top three in program history.

In the outfield, Clark was exceptional. She had just one error, 87 putouts and four assists. She was a magnet in the season’s final two games, grabbing five putouts in each.

It was a career full of achievements.

Clark set the record for highest on-base percentage (.430) for a freshman. She drew 26 walks, good enough for second on the team that season, and was hit by a pitch 12 times.

Her first career home run came in a 6-0 victory over Virginia Tech. Later that month she doubled and homered in a 6-1 win at UC Santa Barbra. A couple of weeks later, Clark earned SEC Co-Freshman of the Week after consecutive three-hit, three-RBI games.

In one of those games, against Connecticut, Clark started a 9-3-2 double play to keep the game tied in the top of the 10th inning. The Gamecocks won on walk-off in the bottom of the frame.

Early in her sophomore season, Clark broke up a no-hit bid in the bottom of the seventh before scoring the winning run in a 2-1 over Charlotte, the 200th victory of Smith’s coaching career.

As a junior, Clark scored a career-best 36 runs while hitting .279 with a .448 slugging percentage. She brought in 27 runs, hit 12 doubles, two triples and five home runs. She had 14 multi-hit games and a 10-game hitting streak during the season.

Clark told reporters before the Gamecocks left for the Tallahassee that she wanted to leave an impact on the program. "That was my whole goal coming into South Carolina. To leave an impact and to better the program," she said. "Every year we have gotten better."

She also spoke about her inevitable final at-bat, which, after the heroics against South Florida, came in the sixth inning of the team’s season-ending loss to Florida State.

"Kennedy was more than just a teammate," Kumiyama said. "She was someone who would pick you up when the game got rough."

-- Josh Hyber contributed to this story.