March 2, 2012
by Koby Padgett
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - For the second time in three games, South Carolina (14-4) erupted for 13 runs in a 13-4 win over Maine (4-7) on Friday in the Highlander Classic at Amy S. Harrison Field.
Junior shortstop Samie Garcia led the way with a 3-for-3 day, scoring three times and adding a triple to stretch her hitting streak to 17 games. Senior centerfielder Lauren Lackey also tripled during a 2-for-4 outing, driving in two and scoring once. Sophomore rightfielder Chelsea Hawkins and freshman designated player Lacey Rother both went 2-for-3, with Rother driving a three-run homer during the day. Senior leftfielder Kaitlin Westfall and sophomore shortstop Codee Yeske both added homers, the second-straight game for Westfall.
Garcia put the Gamecocks on top in the first when she scored on a wild pitch after her leadoff triple. Senior third baseman Evan Childs scored later on Hawkins' RBI single through the left side. The Black Bears made it 2-1 in the first when Jean Stevens singled up the middle to score Dagmar Ralphs from second.
South Carolina exploded in the top of the second for seven runs, the first two coming on Lackey's triple to right center. Westfall followed with a blast to center. Childs doubled, and Hathorn drew a walk before Rother came up and hammered the 0-1 pitch over the flagpoles in left, making it 9-1. The lead grew again in the third thanks to a Maine error, when relief pitcher Ashley Kelley threw away a ball that allowed Garcia to score from second.
Maine got a run back in the home half of the third when Stevens doubled to left, scoring Hillary Kane from first.
The Gamecocks added three more in the fourth. Senior first baseman Molly Brossart hit a sacrifice fly to left, allowing Hawkins to score. Pinch hitting, Yeske lined a shot over the wall in right to score senior pinch runner Jackie Slawson after she ran for Rother after she picked up her second hit of the game.
Maine tried to come back in the fifth, getting a sac fly from Stevens and an RBI single by EmJ Fogle, but freshman pitcher Katelynn Howser got a strikeout to end the contest.
Gamecock senior starter Kierstyn White (6-3) got the victory, tossing three innings of two-run ball, giving up four hits and two walks while striking out one. Kylie Sparks (1-4) took the loss for Maine, allowing nine earned runs on nine hits and two walks. She struck out three.
South Carolina takes on host UC Riverside at 11:30 a.m. PST on Saturday at Amy S. Harrison Field. Live audio will be available at GamecocksOnline.com.
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