South Carolina softball opened its 2021 home campaign with a weekday doubleheader against in-state rival Coastal Carolina. South Carolina won both games, 8-0 and 10-0, without giving up a single run and stretching its win streak to four.
“Our team has been looking forward to this, and just to see the intro video on our new scoreboard, and back in front of our loyal fans. It’s just always nice to be at home,” Head Coach Beverly Smith said.
Freshman pitcher Leah Powell began her Gamecock career with a dominant game, giving up only 1 hit in six innings, as South Carolina beat Coastal Carolina with the first of two shut out victories.
The game started with a subjective double off of freshman center fielder Aaliyah White’s glove, as Coastal stayed quiet in the box the remainder of the game.
Powell finished the game striking out two and retiring eight of the 19 batters she faced via flyout.
“I thought her composure was great. I set it up to where she would talk to Kelsey Oh after every inning in the dugout,” Coach Smith said postgame.
Much of the offensive production came from the one-hole and nine-hole hitters, White and freshman outfielder Carlie Henderson.
Henderson started the run barrage out with a triple in the third inning, coming home on a double steal.
In the fifth inning, White began with a triple to left-center, one of three for the Gamecocks in game one. She soon came in for the third run of the afternoon.
During the next inning, White and Henderson hit back-to-back doubles, giving South Carolina a 6-0 lead.
White later scored the seventh run of the afternoon, executing the second double steal of the game in the bottom of the sixth inning.
“The extra speed on the bases is going to give us a different look this season, for sure,” said Coach Smith.
The Gamecocks won on a Kenzi Maguire walk-off single in the bottom of the sixth, giving them the mercy-rule win, 8-0.
The Gamecocks dominated the Chanticleers during the second shut out of the day.
Coastal Carolina played senior infielder Makiya Thomas on the mound, who was coming off a performance in right field in the earlier game. She played one inning, giving up 4 earned runs and walking four Gamecocks.
South Carolina attacked her and senior pitcher Kaitlin Beasley-Polko early, working the counts, while getting 6 hits and 5 walks on the game.
The second inning was the big difference in this game, as the Gamecocks exploded for 6 runs. That was all capped by a three-run homer from junior catcher Jordan Fabian to left-center.
Junior Rachel Vaughan pitched a complete game, giving up only 3 hits.
The Gamecocks will be back at Beckham Field for the Gamecock Invitational this weekend against Seton Hall, Longwood and No.16 Duke. The first pitch on Friday is at 3:30 p.m. against Seton Hall and it will be broadcast on SEC Network Plus.