Behind junior Nickie Blue’s controlling performance, South Carolina shut out South Florida 2-0 on Friday afternoon to start the 2016 NCAA Division I Softball Tournament.
Blue (19-12) scattered eight hits in her fourth shutout of the year. She was helped by two double plays, and didn’t walk a batter.
Blue shut down the middle of USF’s order, holding Juli Weber, Lee Ann Spivey and Erica Nunn, a trio which accounted for 109 RBIs this season, to an 0-for-9 day.
South Carolina (37-21) wasted little time getting on the board in the first. Senior left fielder Alaynie Page started the game with a single and stole second, setting up freshman centerfielder Kennedy Clark’s RBI double.
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Insurance came in the sixth for the Gamecocks. Second baseman Krystan White and right fielder Ansley Ard drew walks to start the inning. After an out, the duo advanced on a passed ball, with White scoring on shortstop Kenzi Maguire’s grounder to second to make it 2-0.
USF starter Erica Nunn (27-11) took the loss, giving up two runs, one earned, on three hits and five walks.
South Carolina faces Florida State at noon on Saturday. Florida State defeated Florida A&M 1-0. Jessica Burroughs pitched a no-hitter and struck out 14 in the Seminoles’ win.
Tallahassee (Fla.) Regional
Game 1: South Carolina 2, South Florida 0
Game 2: Florida State 1, Florida A&M 0
Game 3: South Carolina (37-21) vs. Florida State (49-8), Noon
Game 4: South Florida (44-15) vs. Florida A&M (27-29), 2:30 p.m.
Game 5: G3 loser vs. G4 winner, 5 p.m.
Game 6: G3 winner vs. G5 winner, Noon
x-Game 7: G3 winner vs. G5 winner, 2:30 p.m.