Six innings was enough for South Carolina to defeat College of Charleston 8-0 in its home opener Wednesday night ahead of this weekend's Carolina Classic.
The Cougars were held to only three hits in the game, all singles.
Junior center fielder Aaliyah White and junior left fielder Riley Blampied each had two hits for the Gamecocks. White also scored two runs, while Blampied and sophomore shortstop Brooke Blankenship each had 2 RBIs. Blampied also hit the only home run of the game in the fourth inning.
On the mound, senior pitcher Bailey Betenbaugh pitched for four innings in relief. She exhibited tremendous control in the circle and ended the day with eight strikeouts and one walk.
The first major scoring run for the Gamecocks came in the second inning when the team hit three RBI doubles in the span of four hitters. The first one, hit by Blankenship, fell into right-center field and resulted in two runners scoring. The second one, from White down the left field line, scored one more run. Finally, Blampied returned the ball to right-center field, bringing White home to score. The Gamecocks finished the second inning up 4-0.
The Gamecocks continued to gradually run up the score, scoring one run each in the fourth and fifth innings.
In the sixth inning, junior designated player Zoe Laneaux hit a single with the bases loaded to put South Carolina up 7-0. During the next at-bat, junior right fielder Carlie Henderson slid home on a fielder’s choice to the shortstop, allowing the Gamecocks to win by run rule.
A major contributor to South Carolina’s offensive play was its aggressive base running. The Gamecocks had two stolen bases on the day, with one player caught stealing. Assistant coach Josh Bloomer, filling in for head coach Beverly Smith due to illness, said aggression is an idea that the Gamecocks look to expand upon as the season progresses.
“We wanna be aggressive, we just want it to be the mindset of how we play the game,” Bloomer said. “We had told them before the game, ‘We’re gonna run, and if they throw us out, we’re gonna keep running.’”
The Gamecocks now look towards the four-day Carolina Classic, played at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field. The home tournament will feature matchups against East Tennessee State University (ETSU), Delaware, Campbell, George Washington and Western Kentucky.
“It’s better than practicing,” Bloomer said. “For us, everyone counts the same. We wanna make sure we respect every single opponent when we come out here, give them all our attention.”
The Gamecocks will begin tournament play against ETSU on Thursday night. First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.