The South Carolina Gamecocks softball team played host for the Gamecock Invitational this weekend, competing against Seton Hall University, Longwood University and Duke University.
The Gamecocks came out hot offensively against Seton Hall on Friday afternoon, going up 7-0 after the second inning thanks to a trio of two-run home runs. The third of these homers came courtesy of junior first baseman Kassidy Krupit, who said the whole team secured an early lead because it was “seeing the ball really well."
This lead was enough for South Carolina to earn its first win of the weekend, as sophomore pitcher Bailey Betenbaugh and freshman pitcher Leah Powell allowed a total of three runs in five innings of work, prompting the umpiring crew to call a mercy rule after the conclusion of the fifth inning.
The Gamecocks finished the game 11-3 in dominant fashion due to their early offensive explosion. Junior catcher Jordan Fabian and senior left fielder Kate Prebble both went deep in the first inning and the team used that momentum to finish off Seton Hall in only five frames.
The Gamecocks played Longwood later Friday afternoon but were unable to muster the same quick start. Senior pitcher Kelsey Oh surrendered three runs in the first inning, two of which were earned, putting the Gamecocks in an early hole.
The offense picked up after, posting three runs in the bottom half to even the score heading into the second. South Carolina head coach Beverly Smith said the team “got punched in the mouth,” but she “loved how our team answered back.”
Oh was instrumental in getting the defense back together to get out of the inning, yelling out to her catcher or fielders after virtually every pitch. Smith praised Oh's “mound presence and leadership” as ways she impacts the game other than simply throwing home.
South Carolina's offensive remained on fire throughout this game, plating 14 during the game, powered by Krupit’s six RBI’s. The offensive onslaught was too much for Longwood to match, as the game ended with a 14-6 victory for the Gamecocks in the sixth inning.
South Carolina was significantly quieter on Saturday afternoon, beating Seton Hall 3-1. Four Gamecocks totaled seven hits, and senior outfielder Katie Prebble led the way going 3-for-3 with three singles.
South Carolina was on the board first in the second inning thanks to a double from Jordan Fabian and two-run homers by Krupit.
Rachel Vaughn pitched a great game that helped keep the Seton Hall offense at bay. The Pirates were only able to tally five hits and one run during the six innings that she pitched. In those six innings, Vaughn had two strikeouts and no earned runs.
Oh got her first save of the year during the seventh inning, shutting down any last ditch attempt by Seton Hall at a comeback.
South Carolina's bats came back to life in yet another display of offensive firepower on Saturday night. The Gamecocks beat Longwood 12-2.
South Carolina got an early 5-0 lead by scoring three runs off of a fielding error by Longwood second baseman Destiny Martinez, followed by a RBI triple from Fabian.
The Gamecocks scored seven more runs in the fourth thanks to six hits from five different players.
Longwood was able to eventually score two runs, capitalizing off of a South Carolina fielding error, but it wasn't enough for a legitimate comeback, ending the game in the fifth due to the eight-run rule.
The Gamecocks lost to No. 16 Duke 5-1 in its only game on Sunday.
The Blue Devils jumped out to an early lead with senior first baseman Rachel Crabtree's RBI single in the top of the first. Duke expanded its lead in the top of the second when junior infielder Deja Davis crushed the ball to over the right field wall for a two-run homer.
Neither team scored again until the top of the sixth inning when Davis doubled to left field, allowing two Blue Devils to score.
The Gamecocks avoided the shutout in the bottom of the seventh inning thanks to a solo home run from senior designated player Alyssa Kumiyama.
“Kumi’s a hitter. I was happy to see her come back and get that home run for us today and break up the shutout,” Smith said.
South Carolina will host Winthrop at Carolina Softball Stadium on Wednesday at 6 p.m. Live-stream coverage will be available on SEC Network+.