March 14, 2012
by Koby Padgett
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina (19-9) posted its second comeback win in four days, this time downing Charlotte (11-11) 6-5 on Wednesday evening at Beckham Field.
Trailing 4-0 after an inning and 5-3 heading to the home half of the fifth, the Gamecocks posted single runs in the last three frames to take the win. Senior centerfielder Lauren Lackey had an infield single in the fifth that scored senior pinch runner Jackie Slawson from third to make it a one-run game. Freshman first baseman Olivia Lawrence tied things in the sixth with an RBI double to right, scoring senior pinch runner Kylie Morin, who replaced junior catcher Shelby Gonzales after she reached with two outs on a 49er throwing error.
The game-winning hit came from sophomore second baseman Dana Hathorn, who stepped up with one down and poked a single to left, scoring senior leftfielder Kaitlin Westfall from third to end the contest. Westfall started the frame with a double and moved to third on sophomore rightfielder Chelsea Hawkins's single to left.
The 49ers took the 4-0 lead in the first with two down. An error by the Gamecock third baseman allowed Alex Rogers to score from second after she started the contest with a walk. Chelsea Stamey tripled to right, plating Briana Gwaltney and Jackie Kleinsmith. Stamey came home on Chelsea Ingersoll's RBI single to left.
South Carolina cut the lead in half in the second on Gonzales's two-out, two-RBI single to right. Senior third baseman Evan Childs started the frame with a hit, and two fielder's choices followed before senior designated player Kaela Jackson sent one through the right side for a hit. Junior Hannah Milks ran for Jackson and stole second, setting up Gonzales's hit.
The Charlotte lead shrunk again in the third when Westfall scored junior shortstop Samie Garcia with a sacrifice fly after Garcia started the frame with a triple that twisted away from the 49er leftfielder who was charging hard after the hit.
Charlotte stretched the lead to 5-3 on Lindsey Holloman's bases-loaded sacrifice fly. A pair of singles followed by a walk to Stamey loaded the bags. Freshman Katelynn Howser, who entered in relief of senior Kierstyn White after the first two batters of the frame, got a foul out to third before Holloman sent her fly ball to right. The Gamecocks had a good throw to the plate, but it arrived a little late as Kalie Lang slid around the tag. Howser got out of the frame with another foul out, limiting the damage.
Howser (8-1) got the victory, tossing three innings of scoreless relief, giving up one hit and two walks while fanning two. White gave up five runs, only one earned, in four-plus innings. Lexi Betancourt (7-5) took the loss, giving up six runs, five earned, on 10 hits and two walks.
Garcia went 2-for-3, while every other Gamecock starter got one hit. Westfall posted her 13th double of the season, the top mark in the SEC.
South Carolina hits the road for Gainesville, Fla., where the Gamecocks will collide with the fourth-ranked Gators in a three-game set at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium. Friday's contest is set for a 6 p.m. EDT first pitch, while Saturday and Sunday's games are scheduled for 1 p.m. starts. Saturday's game will be televised by Sun Sports.
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