The Daily Gamecock

Softball drops home games against Bulldogs

	<p><span class="caps">USC</span> pitcher Julie Sarratt allowed just five hits and two runs in the Gamecocks&#8217; loss to Georgia on Sunday.</p>
USC pitcher Julie Sarratt allowed just five hits and two runs in the Gamecocks’ loss to Georgia on Sunday.

USC looking for 1st SEC series win; Julie Sarratt’s pitching strong in loss

Softball coach Beverly Smith passed along simple advice to pitcher Julie Sarratt. The result was one of Sarratt’s best outings of the season against Georgia.

But it wasn’t enough for South Carolina, as the Gamecocks lost their last two games of the series. Heading into Sunday’s finale, the series was tied at 1-1. South Carolina won the opener 6-2 but dropped Saturday’s contest 7-6. USC has lost all five of its SEC series this season.

Smith encouraged Sarratt to focus on her off-speed and changeup pitches against Georgia’s offense. Sarratt said her goal was to keep the Bulldog hitters guessing.

Sarratt helped the Gamecocks keep all three games close, as the redshirt sophomore pitcher held one of the SEC’s top offenses in check.

“Her performances on the mound were fantastic,” Smith said.

Sarratt pitched the entirety of the Friday and Sunday contests. She allowed 10 hits and two runs Friday, but just five hits and two runs Sunday.

Sarratt’s play in the series brought her season ERA to 2.85, the team’s lowest. She has a 5-5 pitching record on the season.

Despite the loss, Sarratt was proud of how her teammates stepped up against the competition.

“They were behind me the whole time,” she said. “We were right there with them, fighting the whole time.”

Said Smith: “This was an exciting series for sure. I was pleased that we put ourselves in a position to win all three games.”

The team will look to accentuate the positives of this weekend’s performance heading into the remainder of the SEC schedule.

“Well the SEC is a buzz saw,” Smith said. “We have certainly faced some of the toughest teams in the conference.”

The Gamecocks have three more conference series this season. South Carolina will travel to Auburn and Mississippi State and host the third-ranked Gators to conclude the regular season.

“I think the remainder of the schedule sets up well for us,” Smith said. “We’re right there. It’s not always about which team has the most talent, it’s about who plays the best on gameday.”
Smith said she has been getting the team to focus on details at the plate and on the mound.

“We are just giving up too many [runs],” Smith said. “We’ve got to figure out a way to hold our opponents down better.”

Sarratt felt the team also needed to improve offensively by attacking the ball. The Gamecocks haven’t scored more than six runs against SEC competition this season.

“We just really need fight right now,” Sarratt said. “I think we have it.”

The Gamecocks will face off against Presbyterian tonight at the Pine Grove Complex in West Columbia.