The No. 24 South Carolina softball team won two of three games against No. 20 Central Florida in a top-25 matchup. With the series win, the team moves to 17-7 as a full SEC slate begins next weekend.
The Gamecocks opened up the first game of the series with a 9-1 walk-off win over No. 20 Central Florida.
Freshman catcher Chooch Carroll ignited the Gamecocks' offense with a single to center field that allowed freshman pitcher Skylar Trahan to get on the board. From there, the team went on to score 7 runs and put the game away early.
Junior catcher Jordan Fabian was another big contributor in game one, with two hits, one assist and one put out. Her single at the bottom of the fifth was the determining hit that allowed fellow teammates Kenzi Maguire and Alyssa Kumiyama to score to make the game 9-1.
Fabian said how she was "super proud of both sides of the ball" and the "offense really came to life" at the bottom of the fourth and fifth.
Alongside a strong offense, senior pitcher Kelsey Oh took care of business at the circle today for the Gamecocks. She started and pitched all five innings, limiting the Knights to only one run and four hits.
Fabian said Oh pitched well today.
"Her presence on the mound was great," Fabian said.
The biggest takeaway from the first game was the relentless mentality of the Gamecocks. The team put together a nearly spotless performance.
In game two of Saturday's doubleheader, South Carolina came away with a 4-2 victory, ensuring a series win over the Knights.
Coming off Oh's sensational performance, freshman pitcher Leah Powell followed suit, as she threw her first career complete game as a Gamecock, allowing two runs (one earned) on seven hits, while striking out one.
"I love catching Leah; she's fun to catch," Fabian said postgame. "Got good movement on the ball, and she makes it fun out there. She's making jokes in the circle, so it's a good time when she throws."
Graduate designated player Cayla Drotar opened up the scoring in the bottom of the second inning, hitting a two-run home run, which was her first of the season. On the day, she went 2-for-3 with two RBIs.
Following a UCF home run, the Gamecocks already led by a run. The turning point in the game came in the third inning, when the Gamecocks secured two insurance run to remain in control for good.
Despite finishing 0-for-2 in game two, Fabian continued to find ways to make an impact, as she reached base on an error, allowing graduate shortstop Kenzi Maguire to score.
Junior first baseman Kassidy Krupit added another run to the score when she hit an RBI single to the opposite field.
Powell surrendered an unearned run in the fifth, which was as close as the Knights would come to winning: Powell cruised the rest of the way, giving the Gamecocks the doubleheader sweep.
The Gamecocks closed out the series with a 10-4 loss to UCF.
Drotar is now 1-1 on the season after giving up 3 runs in 2 1/3 innings. However, the other pitchers in for the Gamecocks allowed a combined 7 runs.
Central Florida started the game fast, being up 3-0 in the top of the third. In the bottom of the third the Gamecocks scored 2 runs off a bunt from junior catcher Jordan Fabian who was 1-3 on the afternoon.
In the fourth inning the score remained 3-2, and sophomore pitcher Bailey Betenbaugh gave up a single to start the inning, but quickly closed it with three straight outs.
The Gamecocks struggled on offense and did not score another run until the sixth inning. Meanwhile, UCF had a breakout fifth inning, scoring 6 runs off 10 at bats.
South Carolina changed pitchers twice in the fifth inning, as it tried to slow down the UCF offense. Powell closed out the inning for the Gamecocks.
The Gamecocks played good defense in the other six innings, but they did not have enough offense to overcome UCF's fifth inning.
With the score being 10-3, the Gamecocks had one last chance to comeback. Senior outfielder Katie Prebble, who was 1-4 on the day, got her first hit with a homerun in the bottom of the seventh. The Gamecocks had four hits in the final inning but fell short, with the final score being 10-4.
The Gamecocks will hit the road to face Texas A&M March 26 to 28 in a three-game weekend series. The first game is at 7:30 p.m.