No. 23 Gamecocks Cap Opening Day Sweep with Walk-Off Win in Extras
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The No. 23 South Carolina softball team swept opening day, as the Gamecocks earned an 8-4 win over UNCG and a 4-3 win over Jacksonville State in eight innings at the Carolina Classic.
Riley Blampied led the Gamecocks on the day going 5-for-8 with a home run and two doubles, three RBIs, and two runs scored. Freshman Karley Shelton had great start to her college career, finishing 3-for-5 with three RBIs, three runs, and three stolen bases.
Carolina trailed after UNCG got a solo home run in the first, but they responded with three runs in the second and another in the third. In the second, Brooke Blankenship doubled down the right field line to bring home a run. Shelton followed with her first collegiate hit, a single to center, scoring Blankenship and Zoe Laneaux. In the third, Bre Warren stole second and on the throwing error, Blampied scored from third.
In the fourth, Shelton doubled to the gap, scoring Laneaux again. Another Spartan error allowed Shelton to score from second. Blampied capped off the inning with a double to left, scoring Carlie Henderson.
UNCG pulled closer on a three-run home run in the sixth, but the Gamecocks put the game away on a sacrifice fly from Warren that scored Shelton in the bottom of the inning.
Alana Vawter earned her first win as a Gamecock, throwing four innings and allowing one run on one hit, while striking out four. Freshman Sage Mardjetko came on to pitch the final three innings and earn her first collegiate save. She struck out six over three innings of work while allowing two hits.
Carolina again played from behind as the Gamecocks from Jacksonville State scored a run in the first and third innings. The South Carolina Gamecocks got on the scoreboard in the fourth when Blampied connected on her first home run of the season, a solo shot to left center.
JSU extended its lead with a run in the top of the fifth, but Carolina again had an answer. With two outs in the inning, Aniyah Black pinch-hit and delivered a two-run single to tie the game.
Both teams put the winning run on base in the seventh, but were unable to score. In the bottom of the eighth, Henderson led off with a single up the middle. On the next pitch, Blampied came through for the Gamecocks with a double to left center, scoring Henderson easily from first and sending the South Carolina bench on to the field in celebration.
Jori Heard earned the win, throwing an inning of relief and did not allowing a batter to reach. Vawter pitched three innings of relief, not allowing a run, and struck out a pair of Gamecocks. Mardjetko started in the circle, surrendering two earned runs on three hits while striking out four.
Day two of the Carolina Classic will see the Gamecocks take on Virginia at 3 p.m. before a rematch with the other Gamecocks 30 minutes following.
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.