Gamecocks Can't Hold Lead in 5-3 Setback to No. 4/6 Alabama
March 16, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina (16-8, 0-2 SEC) took a lead in the fifth, but No. 4/6 Alabama (25-3, 3-2 SEC) scored four unanswered runs to claim a 5-3 win over the Gamecocks on Saturday afternoon in front of 830 fans at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field.
The Gamecocks took a 3-1 lead in the fifth when freshman left fielder Alaynie Page hit the 2-2 pitch over the wall in left, scoring senior shortstop Samie Garcia, who had a one-out hit up the middle. Alabama answered in the sixth, getting a pair of walks to Haylie McCleney and Kaila Hunt to start the frame. Jackie Traina stepped up and drove a 1-0 pitch out to left, giving the Crimson Tide a lead they wouldn't relinquish. Alabama added an insurance run in the seventh on Traina's sacrifice fly, scoring Kayla Braud.
Alabama scored in the first when McCleney hit a double to center, scoring Braud after she reached on an error to start the game. South Carolina answered in the bottom of the second, getting a run of their own thanks to an error. Freshman designated player Ansley Ard started the inning with a base hit, moved to second on redshirt sophomore Julie Sarratt's sacrifice bunt and scored when junior third baseman Codee Yeske got an infield single and the Tide shortstop threw the ball up the right-field line.
The Gamecocks left eight runners on base, including two on with one out in the first. Page reached on a fielder's choice, and junior second baseman Dana Hathorn joined her on base by reaching on an error. But Alabama starter Leslie Jury (9-1) coaxed a pair of grounders to end the frame. South Carolina thought about two-out rallies twice, getting two on in that situation in the fifth and sixth, but the squad failed to score.
Jury got her second win of the series, allowing three earned runs on eight hits while fanning two. Jackie Traina picked up her first save of the year with a two-inning hitless performance out of the bullpen. South Carolina freshman Katie Marks (5-5) was charged with the loss, giving up four runs, three earned, on three hits and three walks.
Garcia went 3-for-3 to lead the Gamecocks, scoring once and drawing an intentional walk. Braud scored twice for Alabama, while Traina had four RBI.
Gamecock head women's basketball coach Dawn Staley came out to throw the ceremonial first pitch.
The two teams face off on Sunday at 1 p.m. EDT to conclude the three-game set. Fans can watch live video on GamecocksOnline.com.