No. 16 South Carolina softball (13-4) closed the Black and Garnet Challenge with a perfect Sunday, highlighted with a 5-2 walk-off victory over Troy at Beckham Field. After the Gamecocks defeated Charlotte 10-7 in its first game of the day, freshman Hannah Kumiyama stepped to the plate in a two-out, pinch-hit situation in the bottom of the seventh and blasted a three-run home run to centerfield to secure the win.
With the wins, the Gamecocks improved to 3-1 on the weekend and 4-1 on the week as they outscored opponents 31-14 over that stretch.
The heroic home run for Kumiyama was her first career walk-off hit, the team’s fourth of the season and her first career homer.
South Carolina 5, Troy 2
South Carolina found itself in a battle with one of the country’s tougher non-ranked foes in a 5-2 victory over Troy. Kumiyama, in a pinch-hit situation with two outs and two runners on in the bottom of the seventh, blasted the third pitch she saw over the centerfield wall to secure the doubleheader sweep.
It was a battle of pitching early, as both teams traded scoreless innings through three. The scoring opened in the top of the fourth when Troy lifted a two-run homer to take a 2-0 lead heading to the bottom frame. The South Carolina deficit was short lived, though, as Madison Owens launched a two-run home run to tie it up at 2-2 through four.
From there, scoreless frames in the fifth and sixth set up the eventual Kumiyama home run.
Owens finished 3 for 3 with two runs and two RBI while Kumiyama had three RBI.
Fellow freshman Bailey Betenbaugh (2-0) earned the win in the circle going all seven innings with just four hits allowed and four strikeouts.
South Carolina 10, Charlotte 7
South Carolina opened the day with a 10-7 win over Charlotte to complete the perfect weekend against the 49ers. Led by former SC standout Ashley Chastain, the 49ers never backed down, but the Gamecock offense proved to be too much.
South Carolina scored five runs through the first two innings thanks to Kassidy Krupit, Owens, Jana Johns and Mackenzie Boesel RBIs. The Gamecocks led 5-0 through two.
A scoreless third for both was followed with two Charlotte runs in the top of the fourth before Boesel and Kumiyama RBIs in the bottom frame made it 7-2 through four. The 49ers responded again with a four-run fifth, but with Katie Prebble’s three-run homer for the home team in the bottom frame, the score stood at 10-6 through five full.
Karly Heath (4-0) earned the win in the circle, going four innings with seven strikeouts. Karsen Ochs (1) earned her first career save, as well. At the plate, Boesel and Owens finished 2 for 3 while Prebble had three RBI. Krupit and Boesel had two RBI each.
South Carolina 10, Charlotte 0
South Carolina responded well after a frustrating loss with a commanding 10-0 run-rule victory in five innings over Charlotte. The Gamecocks posted 12 hits and drew five free bases.
The Gamecocks opened the scoring in the first thanks to Lauren Stewart’s single up the middle to score Kenzi Maguire. Prebble later knocked home Stewart to give SC a 2-0 advantage after one.
South Carolina followed up the first with a six-run second inning thanks to Maguire’s two-run homer, Prebble’s three-run homer and Madison Owens’ two-out double as the Gamecocks led 8-0 through two.
The home team tacked on another in the third thanks to Haley Simpson’s first career home run to make it 9-0 through three before Maguire’s RBI single in the fourth gave the Gamecocks the 10-0 lead it wouldn't surrender.
Heath (3-0) was dominant in the circle as she didn't allow Charlotte’s first hit until one out in the fifth. Maguire and Simpson both finished 3 for 3 at the plate.
Troy 2, South Carolina 1
South Carolina had a frustrating start to the day as Troy walked away with its second win of the afternoon. The Trojan offense consisted of a two-run home run in the top of the fifth to take a 2-0 lead.
South Carolina scored its lone run of the afternoon in the bottom of the fifth thanks to a Maguire single. Maguire and Johns had the two hits in the game for the Gamecocks.