March 8, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (19-2) came out on the right end of Tuesday night’s pitchers duel at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field with senior catcher Jordan Bizzell’s RBI single in the eighth, handing the Gamecocks their 10th-straight win with a 1-0 victory over SIUE (5-9).
In the eighth, Gamecock junior designated player Victoria Williams drove a 1-0 pitch into the right-field corner for a leadoff double. Sophomore pinch hitter Tiara Duffy laid down the sacrifice bunt to put the winning run on third, setting up Bizzell. She knocked the first pitch of her at-bat into left to bring in the run that ended the game.
The pitchers controlled the first seven innings, with both sides giving up two hits and a walk each. Gamecock junior Nickie Blue (7-2) collected the win with a hitless four innings of relief, giving up one walk and striking out three. She fought through the top of the eighth after a leadoff walk and a fielder’s choice put two Cougars on base. Blue induced a pop up on a bunt for the first out, struck out the next batter and coaxed a grounder to short to end the frame without any damage.
SIUE’s Baylee Douglass (3-3) took the loss, giving up the one earned run on four hits and a walk in 7.1 innings of work.
Both teams’ pitchers kept hitters off balance thru regulation. Williams’ double stood as the only extra-base hit for either team.
The Gamecocks have won 10 straight, matching the team’s longest win streak under head coach Beverly Smith (matching a streak from Feb. 15-27, 2014).
â€¢ Senior centerfielder Ansley Ard and junior first baseman Kaylea Snaer had the other Gamecock hits, while Williams drew the only walk.
â€¢ Junior Jessica Elliott tossed the first four innings for South Carolina, giving up two hits and a walk.
â€¢ No Cougar base runner reached third base.
Tweet of the Game:
BALL GAME! Bizzell knocks the hit to left, Augustus scores, #Gamecocks win 1-0 vs. SIUE in 8!
— Gamecock Softball (@GamecockSoftbll) March 9, 2016
Head coach Beverly Smith
This team is finding ways to win. They are willing to scratch and claw, and that’s what I’m proud of.
Jessica and Nickie pitched a fabulous game. They had that scoring opportunity (in the eighth), and that’s when you see Nickie shine. She knew she could take over that situation, and she did.
Senior catcher Jordan Bizzell
I was trying to get the barrel to the ball and make contact. I was making the adjustment, just short and sweet to the ball.
The Gamecocks open SEC play this weekend against No. 17/15 Kentucky. Friday’s game is at 6 p.m. and will be carried on SEC Network + on Watch ESPN. Both Saturday and Sunday are slated for a 1 p.m. first pitch, with the SEC Network showing the games live.