Jordan Fabian home run sends South Carolina past Auburn, into SEC softball tournament championship

On3 imageby:Nick Schultz05/12/23

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South Carolina had its backs firmly against the wall. The Gamecocks had only mustered up one hit against Auburn as Jordan Fabian stepped to the plate with two outs in the top of the seventh inning of Friday’s SEC softball tournament semifinal.

In a blink, everything changed.

Fabian took the 1-1 pitch from Shelby Lowe and hit it over the left-center field fence, giving South Carolina a 3-2 lead. That sent hard-throwing Donnie Gobourne back out to the circle for the bottom of the seventh, and she finished off Auburn to send the Gamecocks to the championship game.

It hasn’t been the easiest tournament for Fabian. Heading into her final at bat, she didn’t have a hit in her last nine at-bats. She got back on track in a huge way, and she shared what her mindset was with SEC Network’s Holly Rowe.

“I’ve been struggling the last few days,” Fabian said. “So I was really trying to see the ball over the plate and hit the ball, stay through the inside of the ball because that’s where I’ve been struggling. And I got it done.”

Now, the Gamecocks will be the first No. 10 seed to ever play in the SEC tournament championship, where they’ll face the winner of No. 5 seed Alabama vs. No. 1 seed Tennessee. They have a big fan in South Carolina women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley, too, as she took to Twitter after Gobourne got Lindsey Garcia to pop out to end the game.

Close games define South Carolina’s run to SEC softball title game

The road to the championship wasn’t an easy one for South Carolina. The Gamecocks started the week in Fayetteville with an extra-inning thriller against Texas A&M — a game that had to wait more than four hours to end thanks to lightning and rain delays. They held on for the 1-0 victory after scoring their lone run in the top of the eighth, setting up a quarterfinal matchup against No. 2 seed Georgia.

Once again, South Carolina was in a grind-it-out game. The Gamecocks trailed the Bulldogs 1-0 after the third inning, but a Riley Blampied home run tied things up in the fourth inning. In extra innings for the second consecutive game, Brooke Blankenship hit a go-ahead single to drive in Emma Sellers to make it a 2-1 South Carolina lead. Gobourne, despite a threat from Georgia, struck out Jaiden Fields to seal the win as the Gamecocks headed to the semifinals.

Those late heroics have been one of the stories of the tournament, and Fabian offered a simple explanation for South Carolina’s resiliency.

“Because we love each other,” she said. “We’re having a great time. We just want to keep shocking the world.”