The Tucson Regional in the 2017 NCAA Softball Tournament began with a run-rule decision between the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Saint Francis Red Flash.
The SEC’s USC came away with the 12-2 win on Friday evening at Hillenbrand Stadium.
“Our offense did a great job of getting a pitch to hit today,” head coach Beverly Smith said afterwards. “I was proud of the at bats we took. We capitalized on walks and hit batters.”
Five home runs between the two teams paced the scoring, including four by the Gamecocks. A two-run homer in the first by Victoria Williams put South Carolina up 3-0.
“I was just looking for a ball that I could hit well and it worked out for me,” Williams said.
Two more bombs in the third blew this one open, including a grand slam from Mackenzie Boesel. She would also end the game with a walk-off home run to center in the fifth to complete the run-ruling.
Boesel finished the day with eight RBI with her two home runs and a double. The freshman came into postseason play with just seven long balls, but did have the team’s best batting average, hitting at a .337 clip in 2017.
“I was really just looking for a pitch in the zone and to put a good swing on it to help my team out,” Boesel said of her day. “I hit balls more up in the zone today so I think I was just able to get more power on it than in the season.”
One interesting moment happened in the top of the fourth inning. After a fly ball to center, Williams had a bug fly in her eye, and after a slight delay, coach Smith took her out of the game.
“I was talking to my center fielder on that fly ball and I as I was talking something just flew straight into my eye,” Williams joked. “I just couldn’t seem to get it out. I couldn’t even get my eye open enough for them to blow on it, so Coach Bev was like let’s not waste anymore time and just get her out of here.”
“We’ll say it speaks to our depth that I can make a change in the outfield quickly like that,” Smith added while laughing. “It was good.”
South Carolina will play the winner of Arizona and New Mexico State at 2 PM PT on Saturday. Saint Francis will face the loser in an elimination game at approximately 4:30 PM PT.