The South Carolina softball team fell to No. 4 Alabama (38-2, 8-2 SEC) on Friday night at Beckham Field, 9-1, missing scoring opportunities.
The Gamecocks (26-11, 3-9 SEC) left a total of seven runners stranded throughout the game and had three errors defensively.
After the Crimson Tide notched its first two runs in the first inning, one of the first missed opportunities for South Carolina came in the third inning, when the Gamecocks had runners on first and second with one out. Sophomore infielder Jana Johns flew out to left field and freshman infielder Madison Owens was tagged out at second to get Alabama out of the jam.
“We had opportunities, we were missing that clutch hit,” head coach Beverly Smith said. “We also hurt ourselves. We had an inning where we got picked off at second with runners in scoring position, so we were probably our own worst enemy tonight.”
Another missed opportunity came in the next inning as the Gamecocks found themselves in the same situation before redshirt sophomore outfielder Alexis Lindsey flew out to center field and freshman Jordan Fabian struck out swinging to end the inning.
South Carolina held Alabama's lead to 2-0 until the sixth inning, when Crimson Tide junior infielder Claire Jenkins hit a solo shot to left field and junior infielder Taylor Clark scored on a throwing error.
The Crimson Tide bats did not cool down in the seventh as Alabama scored another five runs in the inning including on a throwing error by the Gamecocks, allowing a runner to score and a two-run homer from Jenkins.
“Defense is something we take a lot of pride in, and it certainly was not a strong game for us tonight defensively," Smith said.
Despite South Carolina’s offensive struggles, Lindsey hit her first homer of the year to right field to finally put the Gamecocks on the board.
“I think that was a highlight for me,” Smith said. “It was Lindsey’s first home run of the year, and I think it just showed her determination that she went in and was just aggressive on a good pitch and good things happen so I hope we can take from her aggressiveness”
South Carolina will look to come back on Saturday at Beckham Field for game two against the Crimson Tide. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the game can be viewed on ESPN.
“I think we’ve prepared,” Smith said. “I think the kids have just got to go out and compete every at-bat, every pitch, every out, and I would just like to see them be more intent.”