Gamecock softball splits pair to open season
PUERTO VALLARTA, MEXICO —- No. 9 South Carolina split a pair of games against BYU and No. 18 Baylor to open the 2019 season on Thursday at Nancy Almarez Stadium. The Gamecocks won the 1,500th game in program history in a 4-3 win over BYU to start the day before dropping a 4-1 contest to the Lady Bears.
The Gamecocks found a way to come back twice in the victory over the Cougars, overcoming a 2-0 deficit in the bottom of the fourth thanks to Katie Prebble’s first home run as a Gamecock before later taking their first lead of the day in the bottom of the sixth with a two-run RBI single from Kenzi Maguire to make it 4-3.
Dixie Raley (1-0) earned the victory in the circle going three innings with just two hits allowed and two strikeouts.
GAME 1: SOUTH CAROLINA 4, BYU 3
South Carolina (1-1) didn’t panic in the NCAA’s first softball game of 2019 when BYU jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the top of the second off a two-out RBI double. The Cougars later added a second run in the top of the fourth with a solo homer to make it 2-0.
Carolina found itself looking for a little momentum in the bottom of the inning and found it in Katie Prebble‘s 24th career home run, and first at South Carolina, to tie it at 2-2.
BYU (0-1) showed poise of its own, putting pressure on the defense and scoring on an error in the outfield to take the lead once more in the top of the sixth.
As she did plenty of times in 2018, Kenzi Maguire came through in the big moment in the bottom of the sixth with a two-out double off the wall in right to score Madison Owens and Jordan Fabian to give the Gamecocks their first lead of the day at 4-3.
From there Dixie Raley’s quick three up, three down inning the seventh was all Carolina needed to earn its first victory in 2019.
Cayla Drotar earned the start for Carolina, going four innings with just three hits.
GAME 2: SOUTH CAROLINA 1, BAYLOR 4
No. 18 Baylor jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first and never looked back as the Gamecocks dropped the second game of the day in Mexico.
The Gamecocks scored their lone run of the contest in the bottom of the second thanks to Madison Owens’ sacrifice fly to right to score Alex Fulmer but left 12 additional runners on base as the Lady Bears lady extended their lead to 4-1 in the fourth with a two-run inning.
Kelsey Oh (0-1) took the loss in the circle, going four innings with three strikeouts.
- Carolina earned win No. 1,500 in program history with the victory over BYU. It was also No. 279 for head coach Beverly Smith.
- Three different Gamecock (Katie Prebble, Madison Owens and Jordan Fabian) saw their first action at South Carolina in the games. All three earned at least one start (their first), as well.
- South Carolina had four players (Kenzi Maguire, Jana Johns, Alexis Lindsey and Katie Prebble) produce multi-hit games.
- The Gamecocks moved to 27-10 in opening weekend games under Beverly Smith following Thursday’s games.
- Carolina lost consecutive games just four times in 2018.