From staff reports/Photo by SC Athletics
South Carolina head coach Beverly Smith said earlier this week that her team better "pack their bats" for their NCAA Tournament games in the Tucson Regional.
The No. 24 Gamecocks blasted four home runs Friday night to beat St. Francis 12-2 in five innings.
Freshman second baseman Mackenzie Boesel led the Gamecocks with a record-tying day. Boesel hit two home runs — a grand slam and a three-run homer — and knocked in eight runs in her 3-for-3 performance.
The Gamecocks jumped on the board in the first thanks to Boesel’s RBI double and a two-run moonshot by senior Victoria Williams. Williams plated the fourth Gamecock run in the second when she drew a bases-loaded walk, forcing home junior Jordyn Augustus.
Junior Alyssa VanDerveer made it 5-0 with her leadoff homer in the third, lining one just over the wall two feet from the foul pole. With two down, Boesel launched a grand slam to the opposite field to give South Carolina the 9-0 advantage.
St. Francis kept the game going in the top of the fifth with a home run.
The Gamecocks got the game-ending runs in the bottom half when Taylor Williams and Karyn Watts singled and Boesel hit the Arizona “A” logo for a three-run homer. Her eight RBI tied Sky Brown’s program record from March 31, 1996 against Coppin State.
Gamecock freshman pitcher Cayla Drotar picked up the win, giving up two unearned runs on four hits and two walks. She struck out one while inducing 12 groundouts.
Victoria Williams tied her season best with three RBI and moved into 11th in Gamecock history in RBI.
The 10-run margin matches the only other run-rule win in NCAA Tournament play in South Carolina history, a 10-0 win in six over UMass in the first game of the 2000 Regional, also played in Tucson.
The Gamecocks play the winner of Friday's second game between No. 2 national seed Arizona and New Mexico State.