March 4, 2012
by Koby Padgett
RIVERSIDE, Calif. - The South Carolina Gamecocks (16-4) rallied in the fourth, posting all three of their runs in the frame to defeat UC Davis (6-14) 3-2 on the final day of the Highlander Classic at Amy S. Harrison Field.
The fateful fourth started with freshman designated player Lacey Rother's single to right. Junior Hannah Milks ran for her and promptly stole second to move into scoring position. After a failed bunt attempt recorded the first out, senior first baseman Brossart stepped up and stroked the 1-0 pitch through the middle, sending Milks to the plate where she slid in under a late tag to get the Gamecocks on the board.
Junior shortstop Samie Garcia sent the first pitch she saw from Aggie pitcher Justine Vela (4-7) to the gap in left center, scoring senior pinch runner Jackie Slawson from first to tie it at 2-2. Garcia moved to third when the throw home hit the umpire, but she was picked off moments later after some miscommunication by the Gamecocks. Senior centerfielder Lauren Lackey drew a two-out walk, setting up senior Kaitlin Westfall's eventual game-winning double. Westfall drove the 2-0 pitch into the left-centerfield gap for her 10th two-base hit of the season, allowing Lackey to score from first.
UC Davis got on the board in the second on Kayla Tyler's leadoff homer. Tyler scored again in the top of the fourth, starting the inning with a double. She moved to third on Heather Zimmerman's sacrifice bunt and scored on Amy Nunez's single to center.
South Carolina redshirt junior Audrey Broyles (4-1) got the victory, going 5.1 innings and giving up two earned runs on three hits and two walks. She struck out one. Vela took the loss, allowing three earned runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out six. Gamecock freshman Katelynn Howser picked up her third save of the year, fanning one and giving up two hits in 1.2 innings of relief.
Garcia led the way for the Gamecocks, going 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. She extended her hitting streak to 19 games with a hit in the first. Lackey, sophomore second baseman Dana Hathorn and Rother joined Brossart and Westfall with one-hit days. Tyler and Nunez both went 2-for-3 for the Aggies.
The Gamecocks improve to 16-4 on the season, their best start since 2007, when the squad went 24-3 to begin the year. South Carolina won its four games in California, the program's first trip to the Golden State since the 1999 NCAA Regionals in Fresno, Calif.
The Garnet and Black take on Coastal Carolina in a doubleheader on Wed., March 7, with first pitch slated for 3 p.m. at the CCU Softball Field.
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