Feb. 25, 2012
by Katie Jordan and Koby Padgett
COLUMBIA, S.C. - A 12-hit barrage by South Carolina (9-3), including four from junior Samie Garcia and homers from senior Evan Childs and junior Shelby Gonzales, propelled the Gamecocks to an 8-1 win over Presbyterian (2-4) Saturday afternoon at Beckham Field.
The Gamecocks did this in support of freshman Katelynn Howser (3-0), who went the distance and struck out 10 while giving up one earned run on two hits and eight walks.
The shortstop Garcia had four singles, stole a base, scored once and drove in a run, extending her hitting streak to 11 games. Senior centerfielder Lauren Lackey went 3-for-4 with a run scored. Childs went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer and two runs scored. Gonzales went 2-for-2 with a homer and two RBI.
Garcia started the scoring for the Gamecocks in the second, sending a hard grounder through the right side, driving home senior pinch runner Jackie Slawson. South Carolina struck again in the third when Childs scored on a pass ball with the bases loaded to give the Gamecocks a 2-0 lead.
Presbyterian cut the lead in half in the fourth with a home run from Courtney Lawton. But South Carolina responded in the bottom of the frame. Garcia started it with a line drive hit to left. After two outs, Childs laced the 3-2 pitch off the light pole behind the wall in left center for her fourth homer of the year, giving the Gamecocks a 4-1 lead.
The Blue Hose threatened again in the fifth, loading up the bases with two outs, but Howser got out of the jam with a strikeout.
In the bottom of the fifth, Gonzales stepped up to the plate with two outs and sent the 1-1 pitch on a line over the left-field wall for her first homer of her Gamecock career, making it 5-1.
Presbyterian got two runners on in the sixth, but a great leaping catch deep in center from Lackey and a strikeout from Howser quelled the threat.
Garcia got the Gamecocks going in the sixth with a leadoff hit followed by a bunt single from Lackey to advance Garcia. A fielder's choice put Westfall on base, and Childs drew a five-pitch walk to bring up Hathorn. Her hot shot off the Blue Hose shortstop scored Lackey and Westfall to push the Gamecocks' lead to 7-1. Senior first baseman Molly Brossart hit a line drive up the middle to load the bases again, and Shelby Gonzales scored a hit on a sinking liner to short, plating Hathorn and ending the scoring.
Presbyterian starter Cat Tarvin (0-2) got charged with the loss, giving up one earned run on two walks and four hits in two innings of work.
Garcia is the second Gamecock this year to post a four-hit game, the other being Childs in the Cleveland State win. Howser becomes the first Gamecock pitcher to strikeout 10 since Audrey Broyles did on Feb. 28, 2010, at Florida Atlantic in a nine-inning game.
South Carolina close out their schedule in the Gamecock Invitational at 10 a.m. Sunday against George Washington at Beckham Field.
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