The Daily Gamecock

Analysis: Gamecocks softball drops series against Tennessee

<p>&nbsp;Graduate student infielder Mackenzie Boesel swings at a ball pitched by the opposing&nbsp;</p>
 Graduate student infielder Mackenzie Boesel swings at a ball pitched by the opposing 

South Carolina softball took a series loss against Tennessee, dropping the last two games after earning a walk-off victory in the first. The Gamecocks hold a 2-13 record in SEC play, though are 23-17 overall.

Game One

The Gamecocks played well on all fronts on Saturday night as freshman infielder Maddie Gallagher scored the game-winning run in extras to pull off the series-opening upset 3-2 over Tennessee.

Gallager scored the run in an obscure way, reaching home off a sac fly in foul territory to catch the Lady Volunteers off guard. 

Before extras, the Gamecocks were cruising through the first six innings as the team got on top early with runs in the second and third innings. 

In the second, South Carolina claimed an early lead on a passed ball by Tennessee and in the third, grad infielder Mackenzie Boesel came up with an RBI double to score grad infielder Kenzi Maguire.

Sophomore pitcher Karsen Ochs also paved the way for this early control as she pitched a no-hitter through her first 5.1 innings of work.

However, down to its last three outs, Tennessee hit back-to-back home runs to knot the game up in the seventh inning.

For the South Carolina offense, Saturday’s performance was especially impressive as it went up against one of the country’s best pitchers: Ashley Rogers. The Gamecocks were able to garner seven hits against the junior righty, including three extra-base hits.

Game Two

On Sunday evening, the Gamecocks lost 11-0 to Tennessee in six innings, resulting in a mercy rule. 

Problems started to arise for South Carolina at the top of the second inning. Tennessee cracked the scoresheet first with a double down the left-field line. However, it didn’t stop there. The Vols went on to score three more runs, leaving the inning with a comfortable 4-0 lead. 

Things remained fairly mild for the next couple innings until the top of the sixth. Tennessee’s offense came to life as it scored five runs to call the game at the end of the sixth. 

Four pitchers were rotated in for South Carolina throughout the game, including graduate pitcher Cayla Drotar, sophomore pitcher Bailey Betenbaugh, junior pitcher Rachel Vaughan and sophomore pitcher Karsen Ochs. 

None of the pitchers seemed to get a good handle on the game. Drotar picked up the 3-5 loss, pitching 1.1 and allowing 4 hits and 4 runs. 

As well as struggling defensively, the Gamecocks struggled to get anything going offensively. There were zero runs and only one hit coming from junior catcher Jordan Fabian. 

Game Three

South Carolina dropped the final game of the series 4-2 on Monday night after a seventh-inning rally attempt was cut short.

A passed ball allowed the Volunteers put a run on the board in the first inning, followed by a single to score one in the third and a two-run homer in the fourth.

Senior pitcher Kelsey Oh started in the circle but was pulled after the home run increased Tennessee's lead. Freshman Lauren Powell then stepped in to pitch and was able to hold the Vols scoreless for the rest of the game.

Despite putting up six hits compared to Tennesee's four, South Carolina struggled to bring in runs against Ashley Rogers, scoring two but stranding a total of nine runners on base.

South Carolina earned its first run in the fourth when an error allowed freshman infielder Kylee Gleason to score. 

South Carolina's bats were quiet again until the seventh, when graduate infielder Mackenzie Boesel's hard-hit single up the left-field line was bobbled by Tennessee's left fielder, Cailin Hammon, bringing in graduate infielder Kenzi Maguire for the second and final run.

Despite their success in game one, offensive production seemed to be a key area of struggle for the Gamecocks in games two and three.

What's Next?

The Gamecocks return to Beckham Field on Wednesday to take on in-state rival Clemson. The game will start at 7 p.m. and air on SEC Network.