South Carolina eliminates UCF softball, sets up regional final vs. FSU
TALLAHASSEE — The South Carolina softball team used a 5-run fifth inning and scored 4 more in the seventh Saturday night to beat UCF 10-1 and secure a spot in Sunday’s NCAA Tallahassee Regional Final against No. 3 Florida State at the Seminole Softball Complex.
The Gamecocks led 1-0 after stealing home in the second inning and took advantage of costly errors made by the Knights in the fifth to take control of the game.
With the bases loaded and one run already scored in the inning, South Carolina’s Aaliyah White singled up the middle with two outs. As runners rounded the bases, an errant throw to home was made.
After UCF catcher Jada Cody was unable to corral the throw behind the plate, White advanced all the way to third and three runners scored with ease to put the Gamecocks ahead 5-0 on just one pitch.
A wild pitch from reliever Angelina DeVoe let White score from third base and give South Carolina 6 runs.
The scoring continued in the top of the seventh.
After White hit an RBI single and later scored herself by stealing home, Marrissa Gonzalez blasted a 2-run homer to left to make it 10-0.
The Knights were able to score one run in the bottom of the final inning but it was too little, too late.
With the loss, UCF’s final season in the American Athletic Conference came to a close. The Knights, who head to the Big 12 Conference next year, reached a regional for the third straight year but were unable to return to the Super Regionals.
The Knights had just 4 hits on the evening but stranded two separate runners in scoring position while it was still a one-run ball game.
While South Carolina’s Bailey Betenbaugh pitched a complete game, UCF used four pitchers against South Carolina.
With the win, the Gamecocks will face FSU in a regional final that was originally scheduled for 4 p.m. Due to inclement weather, Sunday’s initial championship game was pushed up to 11 a.m.
The Seminoles reached the regional final after ace Kathryn Sandercock struck out six batters and the Seminoles beat UCF 5-1 Saturday afternoon.
Sandercock came one out short of tossing a complete game but earned the win while allowing 8 hits with 1 earned run against the Knights.
Although UCF outhit FSU 9-4, the Seminoles committed no errors and did enough on offense to back up Sandercock.
Due to the double-elimination format of the NCAA regional, the Seminoles will have two chances to advance to a Super Regional.