The Gamecocks found themselves in a familiar situation on Saturday as they needed to win two straight games to continue their season. Last weekend South Carolina won three in a row, including two against Liberty to advance to the Super Regionals. However, success Saturday was not enough to earn the team a winning spot against Arizona State.
Despite the 5-2 loss against Arizona State, South Carolina had a very historic season that has now come to a close.
The Sun Devils were 40-1 when scoring first, and they improved to 41-1 after they drew first blood on a Skylar McCarty RBI single that scored Jade Gortarez in the second.
Prior to the bottom of the fourth inning, head coach Beverly Smith said she wanted her to team to string some hits together.
“I think we’re getting some good hits," Smith said. "We just gotta string them together and try to get some runs on the board.”
That half inning, her team did just that. Freshman Jana Johns got a one-out infield single, and then went to third on an errant throw that went all the way to the right field corner. Fellow freshman Alyssa Kumiyama then scored Johns on an infield hit of her own.
Krystan White would make it three hits in a row, but the Gamecocks could not get anything else going as Tiara Duffy lined out followed up by a groundout from Kenzi Maguire.
It appeared the Gamecocks had momentum on their side, but the Sun Devils responded with four runs off of ace Cayla Drotar. With the bases loaded, Morgan Howe scored McCarty to give the Sun Devils a 2-1 lead.
The real damage, however, was done by the next Sun Devil batter in DeNae Chatman hit a bases clearing double. All of a sudden, the pendulum of momentum was swung back in favor of Arizona State and it did not leave.
After the Gamecocks lost their momentum, their historic season came to a close. Even though South Carolina faced a difficult loss, they advanced to the Super Regionals for the second time in program history and had a record total of wins under Smith's leadership. In addition, the Gamecocks finished the season with a 49-17 record which is their best season since 1999.