Gamecock Softball Falls To #4 Texas In Austin Regional

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By Sports Department

AUSTIN, TEXAS (USC SID) -- South Carolina (34-25) threatened early and often against national No. 4 seed Texas (47-8), but the Longhorns got two home runs from Taylor Thom as the Longhorns won 6-0 to take the Austin Regional in front of 914 fans at McCombs Field on Sunday afternoon.

Thom’s first trot came on a two-run blast on the first pitch she saw in the first. That scored Taylor Hoagland after she started the inning with a walk. Thom struck again in the fifth, again driving the first pitch over the wall in left center with the bases loaded this time to give Texas the 6-0 lead. Stephanie Ceo started the rally with a walk, and Hoagland reached on a Gamecock error. Brejae Washington landed a single in shallow center, setting up Thom’s grand slam. Thom was the only Longhorn with two hits.

The Gamecocks squandered two bases-loaded opportunities in the first two frames. Walks to senior shortstop Samie Garcia and freshman left fielder Alaynie Page started the contest, and junior second baseman got hit by her 24th pitch of the year to load the bags. But Texas starter Blaire Luna got three straight strikeouts to end the first.

A walk to redshirt senior first baseman Kelley Dillon began the second, and two straight bunt hits by senior catcher Shelby Gonzales and junior third baseman Codee Yeske filled the bases in the second, but the Gamecocks had tough luck next. Garcia blooped one into shallow center that landed in front of Texas’s Washington, who picked up the short hop and gunned the ball home, where catcher Mandy Ogle leaped to make the catch and tagged the Gamecocks’ pinch runner for the first out. Another more conventional fielder’s choice to short cut down the lead runner for the second out, and Luna got a pop out to second to end the frame. In total, South Carolina left 11 runners on base.

South Carolina threatened in the seventh one last time, getting two runners on with one out, but Luna recorded her eighth strikeout and got a grounder to third to end the contest. Luna (28-5) tossed a shutout, scattering five hits, four walks and two hit-by-pitches while striking out seven. Gamecock freshman Katie Marks (8-8) took the loss, allowing six runs, five earned, on five hits and two walks in 4.1 innings.

The Gamecocks lose three starters and one pitcher off this squad, the first to record 30+ wins in Beverly Smith’s tenure at South Carolina.

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