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Gamecocks Sweep Illinois and North Carolina A&T
Softball  . 

Gamecocks Sweep Illinois and North Carolina A&T

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina softball team swept its Saturday (Mar. 4) doubleheader on day two of the Gamecock Invitational, defeating Illinois 4-1, and North Carolina A&T 9-1 in a six-inning, walk-off, run-rule victory. Carolina now stands at 18-2 on the year.

Brooke Blankenship, Aniyah Black, and Riley Blampied all collected three hits on the day. Blampied and Jordan Fabian led the Gamecocks with three RBIs. Black hit a pair of home runs and scored three times.


South Carolina never trailed in its win over the Fighting Illini. In the first, Jen Cummings drew a one out walk, and Blampied hit her first triple of the season to score her.

Illinois tied it in the second on a pair of Carolina errors, but the Gamecocks responded with two runs in the bottom half of the inning. Black led off with a double to right-center. Pinch runner Kyye Ricks moved to third on a ground out and then scored on Giulia Desiderio’s groundball to the shortstop. After stealing second and going to third on a groundout, Desiderio scored on a Fabian single.

Carolina loaded the bases in the fourth on a walk by Black and a pair of singles from Aaliyah White and Brooke Blankenship. Black came home on Fabian’s sacrifice fly to left.

Rachel Vaughan earned her second win in relief, as she allowed just one base runner in three innings of work. Karsen Ochs picked up her first save of the season, allowing one hit in two innings. Starter Donnie Gobourne struck out four Illinois batters in two innings or work, allowing one unearned run.


The Aggies scored their only run in the top of the first after a leadoff walk and a double.

South Carolina tied it in the second when Hannah Hawley singled with one out. She advanced to third on an NC A&T error, before she stole home.

The Gamecocks busted things open in the third. With one out, Blampied doubled. Zoe Laneaux stepped in and on the third pitch, hit an absolute rocket off the scoreboard for her third home run of the season.

Black came to the plate and followed suit with a home run to left field. They would add another run after loading the bases again before Fabian was hit by a pitch to bring home Marissa Gonzalez.

In the fifth, the Gamecocks would add to the lead, scoring three more runs. Hawley and Gonzalez opened with back-to-back singles. After a groundout moved them up 60 feet, Blankenship stepped in and connected on the shortest double quite possibly ever seen. Blankenship laid down a bunt up the third base line. The Aggie catcher tried to make a diving play, but was unable to make an out, and Blankenship rounded first and headed into second easily. Two batters later, Blampied doubled, scoring Gonzalez and Blankenship.

Black put an end to the game in the sixth on the first pitch, when she deposited the ball over the wall in left-center, for the walk-off winner. It was her third home run of the season and her first career multi-home run game.

Jori Herd earned her fourth win of the season, allowing one hit and striking out six in five innings of relief. Lead Powell started for the Gamecocks, throwing one inning, and allowed one run on one hit.

The final day of the Gamecock Invitational on Sunday (Mar. 5) will see South Carolina take on UNCW at 3 p.m.

For the latest on South Carolina Softball, visit or follow the team’s social media accounts on Twitter @GamecockSoftbll, Facebook /GamecockSoftball, and Instagram @GamecockSoftball.

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