The South Carolina softball team won both games in its Saturday doubleheader against the UNCG Spartans by scores of 6-3 and 9-4 at Beckham Field.
No. 15 South Carolina started the day against University of North Carolina Greensboro adding to the win column after a 6-3 victory.
Starting pitcher Dixie Raley started slow, allowing two earned runs and a few wild pitches in the first inning. She quickly settled down and allowed zero earned runs, finishing with a complete game. Raley ended the game with eight strikeouts and allowed two hits, bringing her record to 11-3 with a 2.53 earned run average.
The Gamecocks trailed early, but soon found their stride. South Carolina took the lead after home runs from Karly Heath, Jana Johns and Cayla Drotar in the fourth inning.
“Definitely when one person's hitting and one person hits a home run your adrenaline just comes up," Heath said. "You’re just like, 'This pumps me up, I’m going to get a hit now' and then the next person, 'I’m going to get a hit now.'"
With a 5-3 lead, the Gamecocks scored again in the fifth inning from the bat of sophomore infielder Alyssa Kumiyama, making their last five runs all from home runs. The Gamecocks took a 6-3 lead and did not allow any more runs through two innings.
With four home runs and six runs in the first game, head coach Beverly Smith was proud of her team's performance.
"They swung the bat really well. I thought we hit a lot of balls on the nose," Smith said.
Heath went 3-3 in the first game, playing as a center fielder for the first time in her softball career.
“Karly’s been at three different positions, and that offensive production is what we expect from her," Smith said.
The Spartans made a pitching change in the sixth inning, bringing in Hannah Kincer after Stephanie Bryden allowed six earned runs. Kincer pitched for one inning ending the game with a Gamecock win over the Spartans 6-3.
In the second game of the doubleheader, the Gamecocks posted ten hits on their way to the 9-4 victory over the Spartans.
There were two hits for both teams combined in the first two innings. Johns drove in the first two runs of the game in the third inning with a two-RBI double. Kumiyama drove in two more runs with a two-RBI single.
Later in the inning, sophomore outfielder Katie Prebble sent a two-run homer to left-center field to extend the South Carolina lead to 6-0.
“I think they did a nice job passing the bat and stringing things together,” Smith said. “So we’d get a leadoff on and make things happen, whether it would be hit by pitch, a good single up the middle, but I think they did a nice job having each other’s back in the lineup.”
The Spartans responded in the top of the fourth with four runs on two hits, after a fielding error by the Gamecocks led to two Spartans scoring and a two-RBI double by UNCG freshman outfielder Kamryn Graves.
However, the Spartans were unable to score for the rest of the ballgame, as Kelsey Oh pitched the fifth inning and shut down the UNCG offense.
“She was getting a lot of swing and misses today," Smith said. "I thought she came in and closed really well.”
Oh finished her day with six strikeouts with no runs or hits allowed through three innings. This allowed South Carolina to extend its lead with two runs in the fifth and one run in the sixth on its way to a 9-4 victory.
These two wins bring the Gamecocks' home record to 20-5 and the Spartans' away record to 9-5 on the season. The Gamecocks will now head back into SEC play as they take on Georgia in a three-game series starting on Friday night at Beckham Field. First pitch is set for 6 p.m. and can be seen live on the SEC Network.