For the third time in five years, South Carolina's season ended in the NCAA Regional final. Facing an excellent Arizona team on Sunday for the second time, the Gamecocks were unable to solve the Wildcats, falling by a final score of 9-0 to conclude the 2016-17 campaign.
Arizona took the initial lead on Mandie Perez’s two-out, two-run homer to right center. The Gamecocks had a solid defense play ahead of the blast to limit the damage, as freshman second baseman Mackenzie Boesel knocked down Eva Watson’s infield single but turned and threw to third to take down the lead runner.
The Wildcats stretched the lead to 6-0 in the sixth. RBI singles by Reyna Carranco and Ashleigh Hughes preceded Perez’s RBI double that was lost in the sun by the Gamecock left fielder. Dejah Mulipola made it 7-0 in the seventh with an RBI single, and Carranco added another RBI base hit to push the lead to 8-0 for the Wildcats. Nancy Bowling’s pinch-hit sacrifice fly closed the scoring at 9-0.
South Carolina left nine runners on base, and failed to score a run in both matchups against national No. 2 seed Arizona and its excellent pitching staff. The Gamecocks were within two runs entering the sixth inning on Sunday, but the Wildcats piled on seven runs in the final two frames to make it a lopsided victory.
The Gamecocks end the season with a 34-25 record. They won an elimination game against St. Francis late Saturday night to force a rematch with Arizona. The Wildcats (51-7) now advance to the NCAA Super Regional.