Gamecocks Get 4-2 Win in 11 over Eastern Illinois|
Feb. 21, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Three Gamecock runs in the top of the 11th pushed South Carolina past previously unbeaten Eastern Illinois, 4-2, in the squad's first game of Saturday's action in the Gamecock Invitational at Beckham Field.
The Garnet and Black (9-1) got the first run across thanks to a dropped throw by the Panther first baseman on junior Lindsay Walker's sacrifice attempt. Senior Jacqueline Wetherbee raced around third to score the go-ahead run after starting the inning on second due to the international tiebreak rule. Sophomore Jill Semento followed with a single, and the runners moved up on freshman Lauren Lackey's sacrifice. Freshman Kristen Stubblefield followed with a fly ball to left that was deep enough to allow pinch runner Kaitlin Westfall to score. Senior Ashton Payne drove the first pitch of her at bat to the left-center field wall to plate Semento.
The Panthers (6-1) made noise in the 11th, scoring the lead runner Kathleen Jacoby on Angela Danca's infield single. The lead runner originally moved to third on Megan Nelson's hit. With one down and two on, South Carolina freshman reliever Kierstyn White (5-0) got EIU's third hitter Sarah Coppert to ground to third to move to the brink of ending the game. A walk after a Denee' Menzione, Kiley Holtz put a sting on the 1-1 pitch from White, but the third baseman Semento speared the ball out of the air over the line to end the threat and the game.
South Carolina originally took the lead in the in the fourth on freshman Evan Childs' single through the middle, which sent home Stubblefield, who started the inning with a hit. Eastern Illinois tied it in the fifth on designated player Taylor Lawson's two-out single, plating Holtz. She led off the fifth with a double.
The Gamecock defense made some outstanding plays throughout the game. In the seventh, Melinda Jackson drew a one-out walk. Hailee Hanna looked to have put the ball through the middle, but Childs bare-handed the ball and flipped it to the covering Lindsay Walker to force out Jackson at second and quell the threat.
Eastern Illinois also threatened in the first extra frame, sacrificing the runner to third with the first batter Maria Sorrentino. Nelson then grounded to third, with Semento making the play to first. The Panthers sent the pinch runner Jennifer Saucier on the throw, and the senior first baseman Wetherbee fired the ball back to the plate, where sophomore catcher P.J. Fulmer tagged out Saucier to get out of the inning.
White got the win with 5.2 innings of relief work. She allowed four hits, three walks and one unearned run while fanning three. Amber May (5-1) got the tough-luck loss, tossing all 11 innings, giving up six hits and four runs, only one earned, while striking out five. She threw 146 pitches and did not walk a batter. With the triple in the 11th, Payne moved into sole possession of fourth place in Gamecock history in that category, breaking away from Kim Pietro and Michelle Delloso with her 13th career three-bagger.