Gamecocks Win SEC Opener 2-1 Over MSU Bulldogs
March 6, 2004
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Senior Samantha Jennings snapped a hitting slump and scored the eventual winning run for South Carolina as the No. 14/15 Gamecocks defeated Mississippi State 2-1 in game one of the SEC doubleheader Saturday. Senior Nancy Crane, who hit the RBI single to drive home Jennings, recorded a career high three hits as she went 3-for-4 with a run for the game.
The Gamecocks improved to 12-2 and 1-0 in SEC play as pitcher Stacey Johnson (6-0) gave up one run on four hits and struck out eight. The Bulldogs fell to 16-10 and 0-4 in SEC play while pitcher Melissa Massey fell to 7-4 on the season.
In the third inning, Crane led off with her second single of the game and proceeded to steal second base before advancing to third on a groundout by Chrissy Schoonmaker. Crane then scored on a one-out RBI groundout by Meghan Cornett and put the Gamecocks up 1-0.
With two outs in the sixth, the Bulldogs threatened as Kate Jaspers singled and Iyhia McMichael doubled to put runners at second and third. But MSU's rally was cut short as Jennifer Waterman grounded out to first base to strand the runners and end the inning with USC maintaining its 1-0 lead.
Jennings broke her hitting slump in the seventh inning as she dumped a double to centerfield. It was Jenning's first hit since Feb. 22 against Charleston, seven games prior. Jennings eventually scored on a single by Crane and put USC up 2-0.
In the bottom of the seventh, Mississippi State's Lindsay Nelson reached second on a throwing error by Jennings to lead off the inning. Johnson then struck out Hayle Guess for the first out and designated player Blaire Brown popped up to shortstop for the second out. The Bulldogs then brought in pinch hitter Kate Johnson who hit an RBI single to score Nelson and cut USC's lead in half. USC's Johnson then took control and MSU's Blair Geddings struck out looking to end the game as the Gamecocks recorded their first SEC win of the season.