Gamecocks Advance to Championship Game of Worth Invitational|
Feb. 12, 2006
BOCA RATON, Fla. - Christie Hamilton (2-0) threw a career high 12 strikeouts, and recorded an RBI double to lead South Carolina (3-1) to a 2-1 victory over Florida Atlantic (1-3) at the Worth Invitational Saturday night. The Gamecocks now advance to the championship game of the tournament and will play East Carolina (4-0) at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
Hamilton's 12 strikeouts are the most by a Gamecock pitcher since Megan Matthews had 12 against East Tennessee State on March 27, 2002. It also marks the first 10-plus strikeouts game for the Gamecocks since 2004 when Melanie Henkes posted 10 against Arkansas on March 16 in a 2-1 win. USC recorded two runs on five hits with one error, led by Becky Martinez, who went 2-for-3 in the game.
FAU's Kathryn Stauffer recorded the loss for the Owls as she pitched seven innings and allowed two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts.
The Gamecocks scored early in the game and took a 2-0 lead in the first. Ashton Payne recorded her fourth hit in as many games as she led off the game with a single and advanced to second on a throwing error by Stauffer. USC had runners at second and first after Lisa Longo drew a walk and both runners moved to scoring position on a wild pitch and with one out, Stauffer threw another wild pitch which allowed Payne to put the Gamecocks on the board. Hamilton helped her cause when she recorded her first career hit and RBI with a double to right field, and drove in Longo for the second run of the game.
After striking out the side in the second inning, Hamilton tied her career best, six strikeouts, in the third inning when she fanned Melissa Moore. Hamilton had a no-hitter going until Becky Brandies hit a single to left field in the fifth inning.
The shutout lasted until the bottom of the seventh when Mandi Fishback, who led off with a double, scored on and one-out RBI groundout by Brandies. With the lead cut in half and the tying run at the plate, Hamilton continued to throw the heat as she caught Lauren Crandall looking at strike three to end the inning and the game.
The Gamecocks will now take on the Buccaneers who are undefeated in the tournament. USC is 19-1 all-time against ECU.