South Carolina’s offense was in full swing to start its home finale over Charleston Southern on Wednesday night. The Gamecocks scored three runs, two coming off a Mackenzie Boesel home run, en route to a 14-0 win.
With the win, the Gamecocks finish the year 25-2 at home in the regular season and are likely to host a NCAA regional this postseason. Defending the home field was something the Gamecocks wanted to do all season long.
“It’s big for this program,” Alyssa VanDerveer said. “We play really well at home ... I love the atmosphere.”
The Gamecocks scored a total of 154 runs at home coming into Wednesday night. The offense piled it on Wednesday, scoring 10 or more runs for the seventh time this year and the fourth time at home.
“We call it ‘pass the bat',” head coach Beverly Smith said. “I think our lineup did that today.”
However, the offense wasn’t the only thing working Wednesday night. Dixie Raley made her first start since April 21 and she dominated the Buccaneer bats. She finished the night with 10 strikeouts — tying her season high — and allowed just one hit. Raley said that despite going over a week since her last start, she didn't feel rusty going back out on the field.
“I just felt good,” Raley said. “I felt loose, and I was in the zone.”
Head coach Beverly Smith agreed it was a strong performance from Raley, something the team will need as the SEC and NCAA tournaments are right around the corner.
“I’ve got three excellent pitchers,” Smith said. “I was really impressed with Dixie’s outing today. She didn’t throw last weekend against Mississippi State, and came out today and looked great.”
The No. 12 Gamecocks (40-11, 14-7 SEC) conclude the regular season this weekend when they visit Lexington to take on No. 20 Kentucky (29-17, 6-14 SEC) starting Friday night at 7 p.m. South Carolina currently sits third in the conference standings with the SEC tournament set to begin May 9 in Columbia, Missouri.