South Carolina scored four runs in the bottom of the sixth to beat Mississippi State 5-2 in the series opener and come back for the 11th time this season.
With the win, the Gamecocks improve to 39-11 (12-7 SEC) on the season. Thirty-nine wins is a new single-season record under head coach Beverly Smith and is also a season-high for Smith anywhere.
Pitcher Cayla Drotar, who got the win to improve to 18-4, credits the team chemistry for the win total.
“The fight for each other, and the want for each other is absolutely amazing and incredible,” Drotar said. “We’re here for each other and, honestly, it’s like a sisterhood.”
Smith credits her team’s ability each game to find a new way to win. Fresh off of SEC Freshman of the Week honors, Jana Johns hit a deep home run to left field, her sixth of the season, in the fifth to give the Gamecocks a 1-0 lead. However, the Bulldogs would not go quietly, as they quickly fought back to take a 2-1 lead in the next half inning. But as they have done all year long, South Carolina came back and found a way to win.
“I think that was the key today was the answer back, I thought that was huge,” Smith said. “This team has done this all season, we have been finding ways to win, and I think that’s what's making this a special season.”
After giving up two runs in the sixth, Smith kept Drotar in the game trusting her to fight her way through to the end. Smith knew that Drotar's abilities and the way her team plays defense would get the job done and that she wouldn't have to make a pitching change.
The Gamecocks look to continue their historic season in game two against the Bulldogs on Saturday at 12 p.m. The Gamecocks are looking to take their fourth SEC series at home, and fifth overall.