Freshman Victoria Williams ties career high with 4 RBIs
The Gamecocks’ softball team pushed its winning streak to seven games with two dominating wins over in-state competition Tuesday.
The Gamecocks (24-12, 5-7 SEC) beat Charleston Southern 9-1 and Presbyterian 8-0. Both games ended early due to the mercy rule.
After falling behind 1-0 early in the first game to Charleston Southern, the Gamecocks scored nine straight runs, six of which came in the second and fourth innings.
Freshman pitcher Nickie Blue pitched 5.2 innings against Charleston Southern and racked up four strikeouts while only allowing two hits.
That same success carried over to the second game of the doubleheader against Presbyterian.
After back-to-back singles, freshman designated player Victoria Williams got the scoring started early with a three-run home run in the first inning.
“We had a conversation before we went up to bat that we were going to get three hits in a row,” Williams said. “It was great to have them on and to get those runs in and start us off with three runs.”
Williams said that the shot to left field gave the Gamecocks the “oomph” they were looking for. They followed up their explosive first inning with a four-run second inning, giving them a commanding 7-0 lead, with Williams finishing the contest 1-for-2 with four RBIs and a home run.
“I was trying to keep it simple and be handsy,” Williams said. “I wanted to hit the ball hard, put it in play and good things will happen, and it did.”
Defensively, the Gamecocks held Presbyterian scoreless behind a complete game, two-hitter from junior pitcher Julie Sarratt, who struck out six and allowed only one walk in five scoreless innings.
“Our mentality today was to go out and attack, and I think we did that against both teams today. Getting those three runs in the first inning against PC was great,” Sarratt said.
After the three-run shot in the first inning, Sarratt pitched in the lead for four innings, which loosened her up and allowed her to “attack the batters and the strike zone.”
“When you have seven runs on your side, you just throw the ball,” Sarratt said. “I knew they had my back with whatever I threw, and the offense came in and scored more runs.”
After Tuesday’s victories, the Gamecocks are owners of a seven-game winning streak, outscoring their opponents 65 to 18.
“We feel unstoppable right now. We are so confident in ourselves, and we feel that together, we can do anything,” Williams said. “If we keep hitting the ball hard and putting into play, good things will keep happening for us.”
Over the course of the streak, the Gamecocks have produced runs at a premium, and five of the seven games have ended early due to the mercy rule.
To coach Beverly Smith, the quality at-bats her team is taking is key to its success.
“We’re trying to focus on the little things, and we’ve done a nice job of getting people on [base]. We had 10 walks in the first game,” Smith said. “We’ve done a nice job of getting people on and getting the timely hit to create some offense.”
The Gamecocks outscored their opponents Tuesday 17-1 and only allowed four hits total. Smith says seeing improvement in her team is what has impressed her most about the winning streak.
“We played great softball on all facets. Defense was great, pitching did their job, and we scored enough runs to win,” Smith said. “What I’m pleased about is that we are continuing to get better and better, and we are seeing this team play with a lot of confidence.”