Gamecocks Sweep Final Day of Carolina Classic
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina softball team earned a complete sweep of the weekend, closing out the Carolina Classic Sunday (Feb. 19) with an 11-2 five-inning victory over Western Kentucky and a 2-1 win against Campbell. The Gamecocks have now run their win streak to eight in-a-row, their first 8-game winning streak since Feb. 20-27, 2021.
Marissa Gonzalez led Carolina on the day, going 3-for-5 with four RBIs and three runs scored. Brooke Blankenship, Riley Blampied, Emma Sellers, and Jen Cummings all finished with two hits. Sellers and Blampied each drove in three runs, while Blampied and Jordan Fabian scored a pair of runs. As a team, the Gamecocks finished with eight stolen bases.
South Carolina scored early and often in game one against the Hilltoppers. Cummings tripled with one away in the bottom of the first before scoring on a single by Blampied. One out later, Sellers singled, scoring Fabian and Blampied.
After WKU scored two in the top of the second, the Gamecocks blew the doors open with a seven-run bottom of the second. They loaded the bases before Blampied singled again, scoring two runs. Zoe Laneaux followed with a walk to load the bases for Gonzalez. On the first pitch she saw, Gonzalez connected on a no-doubter grand slam to center field for her first career home run. It was the first grand slam by a Gamecock since Katie Prebble against ETSU last season (Apr. 8).
One out later, pinch hitter Haley Simpson stepped in and on the first pitch she saw, connect on a solo home run to center. It was Simpson’s first home run in 1,086 days (2/29/2020, vs. Charlotte) after missing the last two seasons due to injury. It was also the first pinch hit home run by a Gamecock in almost a year, when Laneaux hit one against Virginia Tech on Feb. 26. 2022.
Donnie Gobourne picked up her second victory of the season, throwing two innings of relief. She struck out two while allowing one hit.
The Gamecocks had to fight their way back in game two, after Campbell scored its lone run in the top of the first.
Carolina tied the game in the fourth when Gonzalez doubled with one out. Fabian drove her home with a double of her own, down the left field line.
Both sides left runners on base in the latter innings, but it was South Carolina coming through in the clutch. With one out in the sixth, Fabian was hit by a pitch. After stealing second and moving to third on a groundout, she scored on a single through the left side by Sellers.
The Camels leadoff batter reached in the top of the seventh, but Gobourne came in and retired the next three batters, two via strikeouts, to seal the victory.
Bailey Betenbaugh earned her third win of the season, allowing one hit while striking out six in 2 1-3 innings. Gobourne recorded her second save of the season with two strikeouts in an inning of work.
For the day, the pitching staff finished with 14 strikeouts against three walks.
After playing five days in-a-row, the Gamecocks will take a few days off before hitting the road for a game at Georgia Southern on February 22 at 6 p.m.
For the latest on South Carolina Softball, visit GamecocksOnline.com or follow the team’s social media accounts on Twitter @GamecockSoftbll, Facebook /GamecockSoftball, and Instagram @GamecockSoftball.