No. 2 Gamecocks charge to top at NCAA Regionals

Top-seeded South Carolina carded the only under-par round of the day to take the lead on the second day of the NCAA East Regional.

Led by junior Sarah Schmelzel’s 3-under 69, the Gamecocks went 2-under (286) on Friday to jump from sixth to first with a two-round score of 581 (+5). South Carolina will enter the final round at N.C. State’s Lonnie Poole Golf Course with an eight-stroke lead over Alabama.

Schmelzel couldn’t do much wrong to start the day, going 5-under in her first seven holes. The stretch included an eagle on the par-five No. 7. The Gamecock made the turn at 4-under and again got to 5-under on the back nine, but posted a double bogey on No. 16. She finished the day at 3-under and jumped into a tie for third place with a 36-hole score of 143 (-1).

Junior Mary Fran Hillow had a strong day as well, carding a score of 71 (-1). Hillow holed three birdies on the back nine and owns a two-round total of 147 (+3) to climb 34 places to tie for 14th. Hillow is one of three Gamecocks in the top 15 after two rounds of play.

Both senior Justine Dreher and sophomore Katelyn Dambaugh turned in rounds of 73 (+1) today. Dreher is even for the tournament (144) and tie for fifth. Dambaugh, a former Pinewood Prep standout, rebounded from a difficult day on Thursday with a solid second round. Her two-round total of 151 (+7) is T37th entering the final round.

In the team race, Alabama (+13) and LSU (+16) are behind South Carolina (+5). Surging Coastal Carolina (+17) and Northwestern (+18) round out the top five.

Junior Louise Olsson shot 2-over par in the second round as the College of Charleston moved up to 14th.

Olsson went 2-under during her final nine holes with three birdies and is tied for 43rd individually (+8). Sophomore Laura Fuenfstueck carded a 3-over 75 with a 1-under front nine and is tied for 37th (+7).

Coastal Carolina combined to shoot a 2-over par 290, including a hole-in-one by All-American candidate Lena Schaeffner, to move eight positions up the leaderboard. The Chanticleers are in fourth place after 36-holes of the 54-hole tournament.

Sophomore Taylor Totland was tied for fifth to lead 28th-ranked Furman after two rounds.

Totland, who is ranked 20th nationally, carded one birdie on the front and two on the back to score a 74 in Friday’s round, finishing the day six strokes back of second-ranked Madelene Sagstrom (-6) of LSU, who fired a 68 in the opening round and added a 70 in the second round.

No. 1 Longwood topped No. 5 Charleston Southern, 3-2, Friday in the winner’s bracket of the Big South Softball Championships in Buies Creek, N.C., as the Lancers scored the game-winning run on a passed ball to escape the Buccaneers in extra innings.

The Bucs had their chance to put the game away in the top of the seventh as CSU loaded the bases with one out, but aggressive play and a lucky bounce off the backstop led to the Lancers catching Amanda Matsumoto attempting to score on a passed ball to send the game into extra innings.

Longwood scored the game-winning run in the bottom of the eight as Megan Baltzell crossed the plate on a one-out passed ball with the pitch from Jennifer Giles (14-16) bouncing away from the catcher. The relay to the plate was not in time as the Lancers advanced to Saturday.

Charleston Southern was scheduled to face off against No. 3 Winthrop on Friday night in an elimination game.

Former Winthrop forward James Bourne has transferred to College of Charleston.

Originally from Arlington, Va., the 6-foot-8, 240-pound graduate senior earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Winthrop and will have one more season of eligibility left to play with the Cougars for the 2015-16 season.

Bourne played in a total of 92 career games with 51 starts for the Eagles, averaging 4.5 points and 3.4 rebounds per contest. A season-ending knee injury held him from competition this past season.

As a junior in 2013-14, he recorded his 250th career rebound against Presbyterian on Jan. 8, 2014, and registered his first career double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds off the bench at Hampton. Bourne also was named to the Big South Conference All-Academic Team.