The South Carolina softball team went 1-1 during its two-game midweek homestand, giving head coach Beverly Smith her 400th career win with the program.
The Gamecocks began its pair of midweek games with a 4-3 loss to Stetson, which ended its 14-game winning streak.
Fifth-year pitcher Rachel Vaughan got the start in the circle for the Gamecocks, pitching two scoreless innings with zero hits and a hit batter.
“What Rachel has done a great job of is opening the game for us,” Smith said. “She’s done great against left-handed hitters. She gets us off to a great start.”
Senior pitcher Karsen Ochs came on in relief of Vaughn in the third inning. Ochs pitched for two innings, giving up three runs and striking two batters out.
Senior pitcher Donnie Gobourne pitched the final three innings of the game, striking out six batters while allowing only one run to score.
“I would just say (we have) to remain optimistic and go right back at the batter after a hit,” Gobourne said. “I know everything’s not going to be a strikeout, so it’s just following after the next hit and the next walk until they get out.”
The Gamecocks’ offense was led by fifth-year infielder Jordan Fabian, who hit a two-run home run in the third inning. After a slow start to the season, Fabian has heated up at the plate, hitting home runs in each of the last three games.
“I’m comfortable at the plate,” Fabian said. “(I) got off to a slow start, (I) was really pressing.”
South Carolina plated one more run in the seventh inning, a single off the bat of sophomore infielder Brooke Blankenship that plated fellow sophomore infielder Emma Sellers. However, this run would not be enough to start a rally, with the Gamecocks final out of the game coming on the next batter.
This was the Gamecocks' first loss since a 9-1 opening day defeat on Feb. 9 against Charlotte.
Smith said they needed to have a “short memory” of the loss because of the game against North Carolina the following night and the slate of games over the weekend.
South Carolina slid back into the win column Wednesday night with a 9-1 run rule victory over North Carolina, marking win No. 400 for Smith as the Gamecocks' head coach.
Gobourne started on the mound for the Gamecocks, facing seven batters and allowing only one hit through two scoreless innings.
Vaughan took over in the third inning, surrendering one run over two innings.
A two-out single by junior infielder Riley Blampied brought in two runs to give the Gamecocks an early lead, followed by RBI singles in the bottom of the third inning from junior outfielders Aniyah Black and Aaliyah White.
South Carolina poured in three more runs by the end of the fourth, coming on a two-run double from junior catcher Jen Cummings and an RBI single from Blampied.
“I think we’ve got a really exciting offense,” Smith said. “We’re solid one through nine.”
Ochs finished the game off strong, pitching two innings and collecting three strikeouts.
The final dagger came in the bottom of the sixth inning, when Cummings singled home Fabian, putting the Gamecocks up by eight runs and triggering the run rule to end the contest early.
“Last night’s game was disappointing for sure,” said Fabian. “It was a good turnaround.”
The Gamecocks improve to 15-2 on the season with the win. Smith said earning her 400th win against UNC, her alma mater and the place where she started her college coaching career, is "special" to her.
South Carolina looks to add to its new win streak when it hosts the upcoming Gamecock Invitational from March 3-5.