Feb. 26, 2012
by Megan Mabry and Koby Padgett
COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina Gamecocks (10-3) earned a 4-2 victory over George Washington (0-6) to complete the weekend undefeated in the Gamecock Invitational.
Gamecock senior pitcher Kierstyn White (5-2) went the distance for the Gamecocks, posting two strikeouts while giving up two earned runs on four hits and two walks. Senior centerfielder Lauren Lackey led the Gamecock offense with a 2-for-3 day, stealing two bases and scoring a run. Sophomore designated player Chelsea Hawkins went 2-for-4 with a stolen base and an RBI. The Gamecocks stole five bases on the day as senior leftfielder Kaitlin Westfall and junior shortstop Samie Garcia also swiped one each. Garcia also extended her hitting streak to 12 games with a hit in the sixth, and sophomore second baseman Dana Hathorn added a triple.
George Washington jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, thanks to Autumn Taylor's first-inning homer that followed Colonials designated player Lauren Wilson's leadoff single.
The Garnet and Black's offense came alive and made their move in the top of the fifth with five hits, including back-to-back standup RBI doubles by Westfall and senior third baseman Evan Childs. Lackey began the inning with a leadoff single through the right side and advanced to second on a stolen base. Westfall's hit went deep into the left corner for a double that brought Lackey across the plate. In the next at bat, Childs also doubled to score Westfall and tie the score at 2-2. A Hawkins' single brought Childs around and gave the Gamecocks a 3-2 lead.
South Carolina's offense continued to click in the top of the sixth. Garcia extended the hitting streak with a one-out single to center. Garcia worked her way around the bases on a walk to Lackey and a fly out to right and scored on a wild pitch to increase the Gamecock advantage to 4-2.
Garcia also made a defensive impact on the game when she made an outstanding play in the bottom of the sixth as George Washington was trying to rally with one out and runners on second and third. She picked up a sharp ground and threw behind the lead runner, where Childs tagged her before she slid back into the bag to stymie the Colonials' efforts to regain the lead.
"She (White) had a complete game, four-hit performance," said Gamecock head coach Beverly Smith of White's performance. "I thought she did a really nice job coming back and staying ahead of their hitters. It was a good answer for her.
George Washington pitcher Kara Clauss (0-5) was charged with the loss, going 6.1 innings and allowing all 10 of the Gamecocks' hits and the four South Carolina earned runs.
South Carolina claimed the tournament title via the fourth tiebreaker over Elon, runs scored. Garcia earned the event's MVP honors, while she was joined on the all-tournament team by Lackey, Childs and White. Elon's Camille Hill and Erin O'Shea also made the team, as well as Appalachian State's Allie Cashion and Meghan Smith, Presbyterian's Jill McLean and George Washington's Autumn Taylor.
The Gamecocks are back in action at Beckham Field on Tuesday afternoon with a doubleheader against Charleston Southern at 2:30 p.m.
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