A five-run fifth along with a complete-game gem from redshirt senior Audrey Broyles led South Carolina (34-24) to a 5-1 win over Houston (41-20) on Saturday evening at McCombs Field to move to the championship portion of the Austin Regional.
Junior third baseman Codee Yeske started the Gamecock scoring in the fifth with her RBI double, plating junior designated player Ashlyn Masters after she started the frame with a single up the middle and moved to third on redshirt senior Kelley Dillon’s sacrifice bunt attempt. Dillon reached as well when the throw was dropped. With the bases loaded, freshman left fielder Alaynie Page brought home a run on the groundout, handing South Carolina the 2-1 lead. Junior second baseman Dana Hathorn blooped a double into left center, letting Yeske score to make it 3-1. And sophomore centerfielder Kristen Struett capped the inning with a single up the middle, scoring Page and Hathorn.
Broyles did the rest, throwing just 81 pitches in the complete-game win. Broyles scattered four hits and the unearned run while striking out one in the win. Hathorn and Struett both went 2-for-3, with Hathorn scoring and driving in a run while doubling and Struett adding two RBI. Yeske and Garcia both doubled as well, as eight of the Gamecocks reached base.
The Cougars posted an unearned run in the third on Kendra Cullum’s sacrifice fly, plating pinch runner Jennifer Hooker after she moved to third on a passed ball. Hooker replaced Jaime Edwards after she led off the inning with a single and moved to second on Katie St. Pierre’s bunt that was mishandled.
Houston’s Haley Outon went 2-for-3 for the Cougars, the only player on the team with two hits.
The Gamecocks move onto the championship round of the Austin Regional in the same situation the 2007 team did, needing two wins to advance into the supers. When coming back through the losers’ bracket in regional play, the Gamecocks have forced the if-necessary game twice and won that second game once, in 2007.
Texas awaits on Sunday at 1 p.m. CDT at McCombs Field. The Longhorn Network has exclusive video coverage, while a free live audio broadcast will be available at GamecocksOnline.com.