FAYETTEVILLE, ARK. -- No. 20 South Carolina softball earned its first conference win of the 2019 season with a 9-6 victory over No. 17 Arkansas on Sunday to close out the three-game series at Bogle Park. The Gamecocks scored a combined six runs the first two innings and never looked back on their way to the win.
A combination of 10 hits and three Arkansas errors with some timely play in the field for the Gamecocks lifted Carolina to a crucial victory early in the conference season.
With the win, Carolina is now just one win away from head coach Beverly Smith's 300th as a head coach. Carolina's 10 hits marked the first time this season Arkansas has allowed double-digit hits in a game.
"Anytime you can get a win on the road it feels good," head coach Beverly Smith said. "I was proud of the team for staying tough and pulling through."
South Carolina (21-7, 1-5 SEC) quickly forgot the first two games of the series and took a 1-0 lead through one for the second-straight day thanks to a Cayla Drotar RBI.
Carolina came alive in the second inning thanks in part to two Arkansas errors in the field. The frame started with a Jordan Fabian walk and Lauren Stewart single before Kenzi Maguire plated two on an error in the field to extend the lead to 3-0.
Jana Johns singled home a run two batters later to make it 4-0 before Drotar's RBI double the next at-bat gave Carolina a 6-0 lead heading to the third.
The scoring continued in the fourth as Johns recorded her second RBI hit of the afternoon to extend the lead once more to 7-0 in favor of the Gamecocks.
Arkansas (21-7, 3-3) looked as though it might steal the show for two-consecutive days as the Razorbacks posted four runs in the bottom of the sixth to cut the Carolina lead to 7-4.
The Gamecocks wouldn't allow it, though, as they posted two more runs in the top of the seventh thanks to Alyssa Kumiyama's two-run blast to make it 9-4 Carolina heading to the bottom of the seventh.
The Razorbacks added two more in the bottom of the seventh to make things interesting and even got the tying run to the plate but it wasn't enough as the Gamecocks shut to door for the victory.
Dixie Raley (6-1, 1-1) was exquisite in the circle, going 5.2 innings with just four hits and six strikeouts to earn her first SEC win of the season. Drotar earned her third save of the season with one strikeout.
Johns led the way at the plate going 2-for-3 with a run and two RBI. Kumiyama and Drotar weren't too bad themselves as Kumiyama had two RBI while Drotar had three. Maguire also had two RBI on the day.
- The win on Sunday snapped a five-game conference skid for the Gamecocks as Carolina moved to 1-5 in SEC play through two weeks.
- Carolina is now just one win away from head coach Beverly Smith's 300th career win as a head coach.
- Kelsey Oh, Cayla Drotar and Dixie Raley closed the series with plenty of strikeouts in the circle. The trio combined for 14 over the last two games as Carolina pitchers had 19 over the course of the weekend.
- Alyssa Kumiyama, Jana Johns and Cayla Drotar did some heavy lifting this weekend in the runs batted in department. The trio combined for 11 of the team's 15 RBI during the three game series.
- Carolina improved to 4-3 against Arkansas over the last two seasons after the squad took three games over the Razorbacks in 2018.