The South Carolina softball team opened its 2021 season at the University of North Florida complex in Jacksonville this weekend with games against Jacksonville University and Auburn University. The Gamecocks opened with a loss before winning their final two games.
Saturday, Game 1
South Carolina started off its weekend with a 5-4 loss to Auburn. Senior Kelsey Oh pitched the entire game for the Gamecocks. She gave up nine hits and two earned runs in her seven innings pitched. The Gamecocks were able to jump out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning after Auburn freshman pitcher Maddie Penta gave up two walks and junior infielder Kassidy Krupit doubled, driving in both runners.
The second and third innings went the opposite way, with Auburn totaling four runs on four hits and capitalizing on two errors by South Carolina players. This gave the Tigers a 4-2 lead heading into the fourth.
The Gamecocks were able to score one in the bottom of the fourth thanks to a single from freshman outfielder Aaliyah White that brought home freshman infielder Kylee Gleason, bringing the score to 4-3.
In the top of the sixth, Auburn was able to add an insurance run by taking advantage of another error by South Carolina. Freshman outfielder Kelsey Schmidt scored on a single from freshman infielder Denver Bryant, extending their lead to 5-3. Bryant was able to advance to third via the error.
The Gamecocks were able to score one run in an attempt to put together a seventh-inning comeback. A single to left field by Krupit that brought home White cut Auburn's lead to one, but that was all the damage the team could do, resulting in a 5-4 loss. Krupit, White and Gleason all had two-hit games, accounting for all of the team's six total hits.
Saturday, Game 2
South Carolina faced off against Jacksonville University later that afternoon, beating the Dolphins in a 10-0 offensive explosion. Sophomore Bailey Betenbaugh led the the Gamecocks on the mound, throwing a complete-game shutout and giving up six hits while throwing seven strikeouts.
South Carolina ended the game with 12 hits, double the amount they had against Auburn. Six of their runs came in the second inning thanks to singles from freshman Riley Blampied, freshman Carlie Henderson and White and a plethora of walks that resulted in three more runs for the Gamecocks.
After taking an early 6-0 lead, the Gamecocks were quiet for an inning until Krupit homered to left field in the fourth. The home run was her first of the year and the team's first of the year.
Betenbaugh continued her lights-out pitching in the fifth and sixth innings, sitting down four Dolphins on strikeouts.
The Gamecocks were able to tack on three more runs in the top of the sixth by way of three hits and a Jacksonville error, helping round out the 10-0 victory.
Sunday, Game 1
After losing to Auburn on Saturday, the Gamecocks were able to win the rubber match 6-5 Sunday morning. Sophomore Karsen Ochs pitched a complete game for South Carolina, giving up six hits and two earned runs while throwing two strikeouts.
The Gamecocks were able to jump out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first thanks to a two-run homer from graduate student Mackenzie Boesel. Auburn responded in the bottom of the frame with a run of their own thanks to a RBI single from senior Makenna Dowell.
The Tigers wouldn't score any runs in the third or fourth innings but South Carolina would score two runs in each frame, giving them a 6-1 lead thanks to doubles from Krupit and graduate student Kenzi Maguire in the third and fourth that each brought in two runs.
In the fifth, Auburn sophomore Lindsey Garcia and senior Tyler King scored after graduate student Alyssa Rivera reached on a South Carolina error. Junior Aspyn Godwin closed the gap to 6-4 for the Tigers after she homered in the bottom of the sixth inning, but Auburn's comeback bid fell short after scoring one more in the seventh to lose 6-5.
South Carolina will host a doubleheader against Coastal Carolina on Wednesday at Carolina Softball Stadium. First pitches are scheduled for 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.