The South Carolina softball team entered Tuesday’s game hoping to build upon a 7-5 victory over Mississippi on Sunday, but lost to the Georgia Southern Eagles 6-4.
Georgia Southern started freshman pitcher Dixie Raley who owned an 18-9 record and 3.37 ERA prior to Tuesday’s contest. As a Sun Belt Conference team, Georgia Southern wasn’t expected to compete closely with South Carolina.
Gamecock pitcher Jessica Elliott took the mound with a 2.46 ERA and team-best 16-3 record, in a day dedicated to her. The junior retired the side quickly with a 1-2-3 first inning, with run support to follow.
Raley had no control of her pitches early on, hitting Alaynie Page, Kaylea Snaer and Victoria Williams in consecutive bats, walking in South Carolina’s first run of the game. Head coach Annie Smith opted to leave in the pitcher, with much success. Raley settled down, regained control of her pitches and began hitting the strike zone. A fly out to left field and a lineout to first base got Raley out of the jam facing just a 1-0 deficit.
Georgia Southern scored its first runs of the game in the second inning, on a two-run homerun by Hannah Farrell. South Carolina answered right back, with Kamryn Watts drawing a lead off walk and reaching home after a throwing error by Georgia Southern’s centerfielder. A sacrifice fly by Kennedy Clark advanced Ansley Ard into scoring position and an RBI double by Page gave the Gamecocks the 3-2 lead.
Page’s double moved her to 13th on the Gamecocks’ all-time list.
Both teams remained scoreless through the fifth inning, but head coach Beverly Smith pulled Elliott before the fourth inning, replacing her with Nickie Blue. Blue’s 2.37 ERA seemed to be enough to secure the victory, but Georgia Southern had other plans.
Alesha Mann blasted a three-run home run, which was subsequently followed by an inside-the-park homerun when South Carolina’s centerfielder missed the fly ball on a dive. The Gamecocks had no answer in the bottom of the sixth inning, which ultimately sunk them.
The Gamecocks managed just one run in the seventh inning, with Raley earning the complete game win and snapping Georgia Southern’s 41-game losing streak against South Carolina.