FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The South Carolina softball team (37-19) continued its flair for the dramatic in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament Friday afternoon (May 12), as for the third day in-a-row, the Gamecocks won in their final at-bat to take down No. 3 seed Auburn (40-17) 3-2.
Carolina became the first double-digit seed to reach the SEC Championship and lowest seed ever to reach the finals. They advance to the SEC Championship for the fifth time in program history, previously earning the SEC Tournament title in 1997 and 2000, and were runners-up in 2001 and 2018.
The Gamecocks didn’t need extra innings in their third game of the tournament, as Jordan Fabian provided the game-winning two-run home run in the top of the seventh. Hannah Hawley drew a leadoff walk after running the count full. Two outs later, and with a 1-1 count, the fifth-year graduate student provided Carolina with her 10th home run of the season to left-center.
Donnie Gobourne, who had entered the game in the bottom of the fourth, gave up a leadoff single in the bottom of the seventh. She came back with a vengeance, striking out Auburn’s No. 3 and No. 4 hitters. Gobourne capped off the comeback by inducing a pop fly to who else but Fabian to end the game.
Carolina didn’t wait around as it jumped out early with a run in top of the first. Zoe Laneaux walked and then went to third on a throwing error by the Auburn third baseman. Aniyah Black brought her home with a sacrifice fly to right field.
The Tigers scored both of their runs in the bottom of the second on a couple of singles and a double.
Gobourne earned her third win of the tournament to improve to 13-6 on the season. She threw 3 1-3 innings, allowed two hits, and struck out six. Karsen Ochs started, allowing two runs on four hits over 1 1-3 innings. Bailey Betenbaugh came on to hold the Tigers without a hit over 2 1-3 innings.
The Gamecocks now face top-seeded Tennessee in the championship Saturday at 2 p.m. CT.