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Early walks, hitting woes doom South Carolina softball in NCAA tournament opener

Beverly Smith: USC softball is ‘motivated’ heading to NCAAs

South Carolina softball coach Beverly Smith previews the Gamecocks’ NCAA Regional round in Tallahassee, Florida.
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South Carolina softball coach Beverly Smith previews the Gamecocks’ NCAA Regional round in Tallahassee, Florida.

South Carolina’s trip to the NCAA softball tournament started as inauspiciously as possible.

And the Gamecocks could never really get things going in a 3-2 loss to South Florida.

The defeat drops South Carolina to the bottom of of the double-elimination bracket, and will face the loser of host Florida State and Bethune-Cookman at 2:30 on Sunday.

USC starting pitcher Kelsey Oh didn’t make it out of the first inning after walking in a run. The Gamecocks tied things up on a Kennedy Clark RBI double in the bottom of the frame, but the Bulls pushed across runs in the third and fourth innings.

USC managed a run in the bottom of the fifth on a Mackenzie Boesel double, but could come no closer.

Bulls ace Georgina Corrick (25-4) kept the Gamecocks at bay all afternoon, allowing only two runs in a complete game. She struck out 11 and allowed four hits.

USC used three pitchers, with Cayla Drotar (11-8) taking the loss after allowing a pair of runs. Dixie Raley struck out five in 3 2/3 innings to keep South Carolina in it.

Two of USC’s four hits were doubles, but the Gamecocks only managed a single walk.

A season ago, the Gamecocks emerged from the bottom of the bracket to win a home regional, the program’s first since 2007. South Carolina would have to win four elimination games in two days to advance.

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