The Daily Gamecock

Analysis: Gamecock softball suffers defeat in series against LSU

South Carolina held a doubleheader in a three-game series against LSU on Monday, March 13, 2023. The Gamecocks beat the Tigers 4-2 in the first game of the day, but the Tigers came back in the second match, beating them 5-1 due to a couple fielding errors during the second half of the game. The Gamecocks lost the series to LSU after only winning one out of three games in the series. 

South Carolina’s softball team dropped its SEC opening series to Louisiana State University, losing two games and winning one.

Game one

South Carolina opened up SEC play with a 9-1 loss to No. 14 LSU on Saturday. 

Fifth-year pitcher Rachel Vaughan was on the starting lineup for the Gamecocks but was unable to record an out in the second inning after giving up four runs on five hits. 

Senior pitcher Karsen Ochs then came on to take Vaughn's place where she gave up an additional two runs in her one inning of work. Freshman pitcher Jori Heard stepped in during the third inning after Ochs was pulled. 

Heard allowed three more runs to score in her 4.1 innings of play for the Gamecocks. She was pulled in the seventh inning for junior pitcher Leah Powell after Heard threw 108 pitches. 

"Jori Heard was a highlight for me this weekend," head coach Beverly Smith said, "She really handled her business and threw over 100 pitches."

South Carolina’s offense only scored one run in the game, coming off of a home run from junior infielder Riley Blampied.

Game two

After being postponed on Sunday due to rain, South Carolina walked away with a bounce-back win against LSU on Monday, defeating it 4-2. 

Senior pitcher Bailey Betenbaugh opened the game for the Gamecocks, throwing for two innings and giving up one run on two hits.

Senior pitcher Donnie Gobourne came on after Betenbaugh was pulled, throwing for five innings and finishing the game for the Gamecocks. She gave up one run on four hits and struck out 10.

The Tigers struck first, scoring one run in the second inning, but the Gamecocks responded in the fourth inning with four runs off of a double from junior infielder Zoe Laneaux that put the score at two, and a two-run home run from sophomore outfielder Marissa Gonzalez. 

"I feel like there was a lot of momentum shift during that, when Zoe (Laneaux) hit her double," Gonzalez said, "So the runs were coming in, and I felt like I could build on that, and I feel most comfortable when runners are in scoring position." 

Smith said the added day helped them prepare more after their game one loss by reviewing plays and focusing on things that they could "clean up".

Game three

In its final game against the Tigers, the Gamecocks could not complete the series, losing 5-1 in the second game of Monday's doubleheader.

Vaughan got the start for the Gamecocks for the second time during the series, throwing one shutout inning where she gave up both a hit and a walk.

Betenbaugh came on in relief of Vaughn after a clean first inning that held off the Tigers. However, she threw only one inning, giving up one run on three hits. 

South Carolina would tie the game at one in the second inning after some deceptive base running that allowed Gonzalez to steal home, but the Tigers would take the lead back in the third after a fielder's choice off Ochs. 

Heard came on in relief of Ochs in the fourth inning and pitched 2.2 innings, giving up two hits and no runs.

"I feel like (my performance) gives me a lot of confidence, because I always know my defense has my back," Heard said, "I trust them, so I'm just ready to attack (the hitter)."

Gobourne made her second appearance of the day after Heard was pulled. She pitched one inning and gave up three runs on two hits and two walks.

Overall, Smith said she was pleased with the way her team played against the Tigers and is ready to tackle the rest of the season.

"It's a marathon, not a sprint," Smith said, "So you really are just committing to giving every game a life of its own, and I think our team did that."

What's next?

South Carolina will take on Presbyterian College at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, March 15 at Beckham Field. 


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