10-seed Gamecocks overcome 2-seed Georgia in extras
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. - No. 10 seed South Carolina used an eight-inning effort upsets No. 2 seed Georgia, 2-1, to secure a spot in the SEC Tournament semifinals.
The Gamecocks strung some hits together in the eighth inning as Brooke Blankenship's single to left field brought in the winning run. The Bulldogs fought back in the bottom of the eighth, but Donnie Gobourne remained strong on the mound to complete the victory.
"It's really just a mentality thing. We really just believe that we deserve to be here," Gobourne said. " Our team is just working hard day in and day out, making sure we're always in the right mindset and we're just going after each team we play."
Gobourne delivered eight of South Carolina's nine strikeouts throughout her five shutout innings. Combined with Bailey Betenbaugh, they allowed only five hits and three walks.
"I've grown a lot. It's crazy to think about because when I get here I was only throwing 68 and now I'm throwing upper 70's," Gobourne said about her pitching progression at South Carolina. "It was really a work in progress and I really thank Coach Beth every day because she really took the time to actually work with me and get me to where I'm at."
Georgia's pitching staff also shined as starter Madison Kerpics and Shelby Walters, who endured the loss, struck out nine while allowing just five hits and two walks.
The Bulldogs left six batters on base compared to South Carolina's three, leaving some game-winning opportunities on the field.
How It Happened
B3| Chambley went big with the Bulldogs' first hit of the game, sailing one over the left field fence to break open the game. South Carolina 1, Georgia 0
T4| Georgia's lead was short-lived as South Carolina responded with a solo homer by Blampied to even the score. South Carolina 1, Georgia 1
B6| The Bulldogs' bats showed more signs of life as Mosley smacked a one-hopper to the fence in right center and dove into second base for the one-out double. After intentionally walking Jayda Kearney and drawing a fly-out that put runners on the corners, Gobourne's outfield came in clutch. An outstanding over-the-head catch on a sprint toward the fence by leftfielder Marissa Gonzalez miraculously ended the inning without damage. South Carolina 1, Georgia 1
T8| Haley Simpson started up the extra-inning action with a one-out single to left field, advancing to second off a throwing error by Georgia catcher Lyndi Rae Davis. Emma Sellers followed suit, sending a line drive into left field as Simpson booked it home, but was gunned down at the plate by leftfielder Jaydyn Goodwin. Blankenship stepped up to the task with two outs and a runner in scoring position, bringing in the go-ahead run with a single through the right side. The Gamecocks continued the two-out effort with a walk and passed ball advancement, but Laneaux went down swinging to end the inning. South Carolina 2, Georgia 1
B8| Gobourne seemed unbothered by the severity of the situation, remaining calm on the mound to strike out the first batter of the inning and drawing a pop fly in foul territory to bring South Carolina just one out away from the win. However, Mosley wouldn't go down without a fight, smashing a line drive single into center field that fell just short of Blampied's diving effort. The decision to once again intentionally walk Kearney put runners on first and second with all eyes on Jaiden Fields at the plate. Gobourne worked a 2-2 count before delivering the final blow as Fields went down swinging to seal the Gamecocks' win. South Carolina 2, Georgia 1
On South Carolina's extra-inning wins... "I think it's just the mentality going into it. We've been competing with these teams all season and we fell short to Georgia early in the season but, you know, when it mattered we came through as a team, all had the same mentality...and got the job done going into extras."
On her jaw-dropping sixth-inning catch... "I was just thinking run as hard as I can because Donnie is working her butt off so just put in as much effort as I can to go with the ball back, secure the catch and come in and get ready for the next inning."
South Carolina (36-19, 9-15 SEC) will face 3-seed Auburn (40-16, 15-9 SEC) the SEC Tournament semifinals on Friday, May 12 at 3 p.m. CT as televised on ESPN2.
Georgia (39-13, 16-7 SEC) is eliminated from the tournament and awaits the NCAA Selection Show on Sunday night. The bracket for the NCAA Tournament will be released at 6 p.m. CT on ESPN2.