March 13, 2004
BATON ROUGE, La. - The No. 15/16 ranked South Carolina Gamecocks took a heartbreaking game one loss in a stellar pitching dual between Stacey Johnson (7-1) and Kristin Schmidt (14-2) of LSU Saturday as USC fell to the fourth-ranked Tigers 1-0 in 10 innings. LSU's Lauren Castle hit a bases loaded fielder's choice grounder to score Sara Fitzgerald and win the game. Johnson pitched her longest outing of the season as she recorded a season high nine strikeouts and her sixth complete game of the season.
The Gamecocks managed only two hits while the Tigers recorded seven. Both teams had several opportunities to score as USC left nine batters on base and LSU left a season high 11. Amber Curtis and McKenna Hughes recorded the only two hits for the Gamecocks as Meghan Cornett drew two walks.
LSU's Schmidt recorded a season high in strikeouts as USC went down 15 times. That is also the second most strikeouts the Gamecocks have recorded this season.
The international tie-breaker rule went into effect in the 10th inning and pinch runner Margaret Person was placed on second base for USC. With one out, Person advanced to second on a ground out by Crane but Samantha Jennings struck out swinging to end the inning and USC's chances to score.
In LSU's half of the inning, Fitzgerald was placed at second and Camille Harris drew a walk. With no outs, LaDonia Hughes hit a bunt single to load the bases. Castle then hit a ground ball as USC made a play at the plate but it was not in time as Fitzgerald came home to score the winning run.
In the bottom of the fifth, LSU had two hits, a double by Hughes and a single by Castle to record the first multi-hit inning of the game. With one out and runners at second and third, the Gamecocks looked to be in trouble. Johnson then recorded her seventh strikeout of the game as Leslie Klein went down swinging for a huge second out. The Tigers' Lauren Delahoussaye then popped out to shortstop for the final out of the inning and stranded two LSU runners.
In the top of the sixth, USC recorded their first hit of the game when Curtis led off the inning with a single to centerfield. But back-to-back strikeouts ended the inning for the Gamecocks.
With one out in the ninth inning, McKenna Hughes recorded USC's second hit of the game as she hit a single to give the Gamecocks their ninth base runner of the game. The Gamecocks still could not get anything across as Chrissy Schoonmaker struck out looking and Kristin Hall grounded out to the pitcher to end the inning.
In the LSU half of the ninth, Julie Wiese led off with a single but was picked off by catcher Ashley Smith for the first out of the game. The Tigers then struck out and flied out to end the inning and forced the tenth inning.
SCHEDULE NOTE: Tomorrow's game three has been moved from1 p.m. (EST) to Noon (EST). Fans can catch all of the Gamecock softball action live over the internet at uscsports.com.
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