Hughes's 10th Inning Home Run Lifts Gamecocks Over No. 13/15 Georgia Tech
Feb. 26, 2005
Columbus, Ga. - Sophomore McKenna Hughes was the hero of the day for the Gamecocks as she hit a walk off home run in the bottom of the 10th to give USC a 2-0 win over No. 13/15 Georgia Tech at the Leadoff Classic Saturday. The hit was the only one of the game for USC as Tech's Jessica Sallinger (8-2) threw nine hitless innings and recorded the loss. Aleca Johnson (1-0) earned her first win of the season as she came in for relief in the fifth and threw 4.2 innings. Johnson allowed only one hit and struck out five of the 14 batters she faced.
With the tiebreaker rule in effect, Meghan Cornett was placed at second base at the start of the 10th inning. Hughes was the next batter and on the first pitch, hit the ball deep to left field to score the two runs. The win gave USC a 2-1 record in pool play while it gave a deflated Georgia Tech team a 0-3 record.
Melanie Henkes started the game for USC and pitched five and one-third innings. Henkes gave up only three hits, all to Tech shortstop Christine Sheridan who went 3-for-4. The Yellow Jackets only other hit came in the seventh inning when Karin Kumar hit a two-out single off of Johnson. The Gamecocks would get out of the inning as Johnson recorded her third strikeout of the game.
For the game, Tech left eight runners on base while the Gamecocks left four. Carolina had one runner in the second inning that was stranded but the rest all came in the extra innings when the tiebreaker rule was in effect. Salinger recorded seven perfect innings. In the second, USC had runners due to an error and a fielder's choice.
Early in the fourth inning, Tech had a chance to score when Sheridan led off with a single then stole second with no outs. Sheridan then advanced to third on a groundout but another groundout by Georgia Tech end the inning, eliminating the chance to score.
In the sixth, Caitlin Lever reached on an error by Chrissy Schoonmaker and Sheridan followed with her third single of the game. With runners at first and second, USC then brought in Johnson for Henkes to pitch. Johnson threw a wild pitch and advanced the runners to second and third but Kristina Hull then struck out swinging to end the inning.
The Yellow Jackets were ready to score in the eighth when Stephanie Butler, who was placed at second and was able to advance to third on a sacrifice, attempted to come home on a grounder by Lever. A play at the plate by Becky Martinez and Ashley Smith kept the game scoreless and a fly out by Sheridan, her only out of the game, ended the inning.
Johnson shut Georgia Tech down in order in the ninth and in the tenth, a huge double play by Jessica Josker out in centerfield gave the Jackets only two at bats for the inning. Kumar looped the ball to short centerfield and Josker made an impressive stretched out catch for the out, quickly released the ball and threw to second to get Hosier for the double play.
With the win, the Gamecocks finished second in their pool and had a 2-1 record. USC returns to action tonight at 7:00 pm and will play UMass who went 1-2 in pool play. The Gamecocks are the No. 2 seed in the Silver Bracket.