STARKVILLE, Miss. -- What started as a defensive showdown between No. 6 seed Missouri and No. 11 seed South Carolina ended as an extra-inning, 7-4 Gamecock win in the opening game of the 2016 SEC Softball Tournament.
Missouri had the Gamecocks down two outs in the 7th inning when South Carolina ignited a four-run rally to force extra innings. Gamecock junior Taylor Williams locked the game up in the 8th inning when she launched a go-ahead, three-run homer over the left field wall, only her fourth home run of the season.
"I was proud of the way our girls fought today," said South Carolina head coach Beverly Smith. "I thought Nickie did a great job today. I tell you we were having some conversation because she was getting tired there at the end but when we took the lead I said, 'You're shutting this down.' "
Gamecock pitcher Nickie Blue (18-12) threw 124 pitches and 72 strikes across 8 innings, pitching a no-hitter through the first four innings.
"Coming off this weekend we felt we didn't perform to our potential at Missouri," said South Carolina first baseman Kaylea Snaer. "We came in here, we didn't care that we were down by three in the seventh. We're always going to fight. Hitting's contagious. It doesn't matter if we have one or two outs, we're going to take it and it was just so awesome to see our team blossom today."
Missouri pitcher Danielle Baumgartner pitched her only inning in the 8th, closing out for Paige Lowary. Lowary threw 104 pitches, 68 strikes and allowed eight hits and four runs across seven innings.
NEXT UP: No. 11 seed South Carolina faces No. 3 seed Tennessee in the Quarterfinal round tomorrow at 12 p.m. ET / 11 a.m. CT on SEC Network.