South Carolina (17-8, 2-4 SEC) kept the big hits coming in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, downing No. 13/15 Texas A&M (21-7, 3-3 SEC) 4-3 in the series finale in front of 1,289 fans at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field.
One swing from senior second baseman Dana Hathorn gave South Carolina a lead in the first. After one-out hits from redshirt freshman third baseman Lauren Masters and freshman Victoria Williams, Hathorn stepped in with two down and put the 1-1 pitch over the wall in left, her first homer of the season, to hand the Gamecocks a 3-0 lead.
The Aggies got one back in the second when Emily Albus hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Taran Tyler, who reached on an error to start the frame.
The Gamecocks added insurance in the fifth. An error allowed sophomore left fielder Ansley Ard to reach base, and she moved to third on senior Ashlyn Masters’ 10th double of the year. After a pitching change and a groundout, Williams sent a ball to left deep enough for Ard to score, making the Gamecocks’ advantage 4-1.
Texas A&M made things interesting in the sixth, loading the bases with two outs, with one reaching on an error before a single by Abby Donnell ended Gamecock freshman Nickie Blue’s afternoon. A walk loaded the bases, but redshirt junior Julie Sarratt got a grounded to second from Albus to end the frame. In the seventh, the Aggies had solo home runs from Nicole Morgan and Amber Garza, but Sarratt got an out before each round-tripper and a grounder to third after Garza’s big fly to close the contest.
Nickie Blue (10-4) went 5 2/3 innings, giving up one unearned run on three hits and two walks while striking out two for her 10th win of the season. Sarratt collected her fourth save with a strikeout and a walk along with the two homers allowed in 11/3 innings. Donnell (3-1) took the loss for the Aggies, allowing four runs, three earned, on six hits in four innings. She struck out five.
Seven Gamecocks had hits, with Hathorn’s homer and Williams’s sacrifice fly driving in the four runs. Donnell went 2-for-3, one of four Aggies with hits in the game.