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South Carolina softball: Gamecocks' season ends in Tallahassee regional

The Gamecocks fall to UCF on Friday before a win against Dartmouth and a second loss to UCF on Saturday.

Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

For the second straight year, the Gamecocks softball team found themselves in the Tallahassee regional. While they were able to win a game this time around, the end result—elimination—mirrored last year's.

UCF 4, Gamecocks 1
While Nickie Blue pitched a strong game for the Gamecocks, (just two hits allowed across four innings), she would eventually run into trouble, loading the bases with two outs in the fourth. Maddy Schroeder then singled one home, followed by a throwing error by Taylor Williams that helped the Knights stretch the advantage to 3-0. They would add one more on a Jessica Ujvari RBI single in the 5th. Victoria Williams' RBI double in the 7th accounted for the Gamecocks' only run.

Gamecocks 3, Dartmouth 1
Needing a win to stay alive in the regional, Carolina called on Julie Sarratt—and the redshirt senior went the distance in a solid outing (1 R, 5 H, 2 K, 0 BB). Bad defense by the Big Green helped the Gamecocks in the first, as Ansley Ard crossed home after a Katie McEachern throwing error, followed by a Kaylea Snaer RBI single to make it 2-0. That would be all Sarratt needed as she held Dartmouth at bay in the elimination contest.

UCF 5, Gamecocks 2
Revenge is a dish best served cold, and the Gamecocks were looking to serve it up and knock out the Knights team that beat them on the first day of the regional. Unfortunately, UCF had other ideas. After Carolina's Snaer singled in the bottom of the 3rd to make it 1-0, the Knights plated five in the top of the fourth to take a 5-1 lead behind three straight one-out singles. Blue went the entire seven and was rocked for five runs and ten hits, walking one and fanning three.

The Gamecocks' season ends at 38-22, a three-game improvement from last year. They lose a quartet of seniors—Olivia Lawrence, Sarah Mooney, Julie Sarratt and Kristen Sturett—but return a strong core including their top four hitters (including All-SEC first team member Alaynie Page) and their other primary starting pitcher in Nickie Blue. With another year under their belts, this group could be poised to go a step further in 2016.