COLUMBIA, S.C. ---- South Carolina softball swept a pair of games over UNCG and Ohio on Friday to open the 2019 home schedule at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field. Carolina took down UNCG 11-3 in five innings before outlasting the Bobcats in a 4-2 victory to close the night.
With the pair of wins, Carolina (5-2) improved to 22-0 over the last six years in the Gamecock Invitational.
The pair of games drew 1,170 fans, just shy of a sellout on the opening weekend of action with multiple Carolina athletics sporting events occurring.
GAME 1: South Carolina 11 UNCG 3 (Five Innings)
South Carolina softball opened the season at home with plenty of offense, posting 11 runs on UNCG in an 11-3 run-rule in five innings of action. Freshman Karly Heath drove home the final run to seal the victory via run rule.
The Gamecocks started the scoring in the first with two runs thanks to a Cayla Drotar sacrifice flyout and Kennedy Clark hit give the squad a 2-0 lead after one inning.
Carolina wasn't done there, scoring three in the second thanks Mackenzie Boesel's double and a two-run Jana Johns homer to make it 5-0 Gamecocks through two.
UNCG looked to mount a comeback in the third, scoring three but Madison Owens settled things down with her first career home run in the bottom frame to move the South Carolina lead to 6-3.
Johns blasted her second homer of the day in the bottom of the fourth to make it 7-3 Gamecocks through four.
A four-run seventh, capped with Heath's walk-off hit, closed the game for the Gamecocks.
In total, Carolina scored at least one run in every inning for the first time in 2019.
Dixie Raley (2-0) earned the victory in the circle going five innings with seven strikeouts.
Johns led the way at the plate, going 2-for-3 with three runs and three RBI. Clark also shined going 3-for-4 with two RBI of her own.
GAME 2: South Carolina 4 Ohio 2
The Gamecocks fought through a tough pitching battle and eventually broke through in the fifth with a Jana Johns double to give the Gamecocks a 1-0 lead in the fifth. Alexis Lindsey later doubled in the inning to score two and extend the lead to 3-0 through five.
Lauren Stewart added the final run of the game for the Gamecocks as Madison Owens doubled to right and give Carolina a 4-0 lead through six.
Ohio added two in the seventh to make it close, but Cayla Drotar (2-1) shut the door to give the Gamecocks the opening day sweep.
Drotar earned the victory in the circle, going three innings in relief for Karly Heath with a strikeout and just two hits.
Stewart shined at the plate going 2-for-3 with a run scored.
- The Gamecocks moved to 22-0 over the last six years in the Gamecock Invitational with the two victories tonight.
- Jana Johns was an RBI machine at the plate, producing four for the Gamecocks with two RBI. Lauren Stewart also shined going 2-for-3 with two runs.
- Carolina had six different players (Lauren Stewart, Kennedy Clark, Jana Johns, Madison Owens, Cayla Drotar and Mackenzie Boesel) finish with multiple hits on the day.
- How about Karly Heath's home opener? The freshman hit the walk-off single (her first career hit) in the first game and followed it up with her first career start in the circle against Ohio.
- South Carolina improved 283-198 under head coach Beverly Smith with the pair of wins on Friday.