Sara Yang/The Daily Gamecock

Gamecocks lose the battle, but win the war in Oxford

The South Carolina softball team took on the Ole Miss Rebels this weekend in Mississippi, taking the three-game series with two wins. 

The Gameococks earned a strong win in the first game to get the series off to a start. The Gamecocks secured a successful 7-3 win over Ole Miss, having three hitters with two runs batted in. Alyssa VanDerveer shined with a perfect 4-4 day at the plate, which included a double alone with 2 RBIs. Another star in Friday's game was Cayla Drotar, who controlled the game from the mound by pitching all seven innings and allowing only one earned run.

Saturday's game was equally dominant for the Gamecocks, with South Carolina coming out on top 5-2. Dixie Raley pitched a complete game, limiting the Rebels offense to three hits and two runs (only one earned). Kenzi Maguire and Kamryn Watts also had strong performances. They provided almost all of the offense for the Gamecocks, collectively contributing four of the five runs scored in Saturday's game.

After Ole Miss scored two runs in the fourth inning, the Gamecocks found themselves down for the first time in the game. Without even blinking, South Carolina turned around and scored three runs in the top of the fifth and then two more in the seventh. 

"My favorite thing about this team is our fight," head coach Beverly Smith said following Saturday's comeback. "Ole Miss went up on us and we answered right back. Our ability to answer back today was great." 

After scoring a combined 12 runs against the Rebels in the first two games, the Gamecocks bats went stone cold Sunday afternoon.

Ole Miss pitcher Ava Tillmann pitched a complete game, only giving up three hits along the way. Only two Gamecocks were able to reach against Tillmann, Jana Johns was 2-2 on the day and Alyssa VanDerveer finished the day 1-3. 

Gamecocks pitchers Cayla Drotar and Kelsey Oh were equally dominate only allowing six hits and no runs. The lone run of the game came on a double steal in the second inning. However, neither team could seem to find a rhythm offensively.

As a unit, Gamecocks pitchers Drotar, Oh, and Raley allowed as many hits as they did strikeouts (14). Moving forward, the Gamecocks should be able to lean on them if the offense continues to be up and down.

The Gamecocks won the overall series on Saturday, which was also their second win over a ranked opponent this season. South Carolina is now 24-4 overall and 2-1 in SEC play. 

Not only did the team earn a series win, but Smith is the second-winningest coach in South Carolina history after moving up to 251-182 this weekend.

South Carolina will face Duke in a midweek matchup on Tuesday in Columbia in hopes of continuing its winning record. 

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