Feb. 10, 2012
by Koby Padgett
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina (0-1) settled down defensively after a rough first two innings, but the offense could not get on track, as Tennessee State (1-0) claimed a 4-2 win over the Gamecocks in both teams' first softball game of 2012.
The Tigers pounced on two Gamecock miscues in the bottom of the first to take a 2-0 lead. After reaching on a hit, an errant throw allowed leadoff hitter Jennifer Givens to advance to second. The speedy Givens, who stole 66 bases last year in junior college, took off for third, and the throw got away into left field, letting Givens score and Tedra Alford to move to third. After a single and an out for the runner leaving early, Alford walked home thanks to an illegal pitch to give TSU the 2-0 lead.
South Carolina bounced back in the second, getting singles from senior Evan Childs and sophomore Dana Hathorn around an out. The duo moved up on a passed ball, setting up junior Shelby Gonzales' two-RBI single that tied the game. That came in her first at bat in the Garnet and Black.
But Tennessee State responded in the second, with Givens starting a two-out rally with her single. Alford drew a walk, setting up Devin Amar for a two-run double that slipped just under the glove of the Gamecock shortstop, giving Tennessee State the 4-2 lead, whilch it would hold through the end.
The Gamecocks threatened twice after that, getting a two-out walk from Childs in the third and a leadoff runner in Hathorn after a Tiger error in the seventh.
"I'm disappointed that we didn't make better adjustments at the plate. We're a strong hitting team, but we weren't able to work to our strength, which is hitting with runners on base," said Gamecock head coach Beverly Smith.
Shea Morris (1-0) took the complete-game win for Tennessee State, giving up four hits, one walk and two earned runs while fanning three. Senior Kierstyn White (0-1) took the loss, giving up four hits and four runs, two earned, while walking three in two innings. Freshman Katelynn Howser tossed four scoreless innings in relief, giving up one hit and one walk while striking out one.
"Katelynn Howser did a very nice job, coming in, getting ahead hitters and being aggressive," added Smith. "I was proud of her performance."
Givens and Amar both went 2-for-3 for the Tigers, with Givens scoring twice and Amar driving in two. Alford scored twice as well.
Western Kentucky opened the Palmetto Classic with a 4-3 win over Cleveland State, while Winthrop downed the CSU Vikings, 3-1, in game two.
The Gamecocks get two games tomorrow as part of the Palmetto Classic, facing Western Kentucky at 12:30 p.m. and Winthrop at 3. The Gamecocks' two opponents start the day at 10 a.m., while Tennessee State and Cleveland State battle in the final game of the day at 5 p.m.
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