March 17, 2013
COLUMBIA, S.C. - A furious comeback attempt fell one run shy as South Carolina (16-9, 0-3 SEC) dropped a 7-6 contest to No. 4/6 Alabama (26-3, 4-3 SEC) on Sunday afternoon in front of 830 fans at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field.
Juniors Dana Hathorn and Chelsea Hawkins along with senior Samie Garcia all had two hits for the Gamecocks, with Hawkins providing a homer that started the comeback attempt in the sixth. Her leadoff blast brought in Alabama pitcher Leslie Jury, who was greeted by an infield single from freshman designated player Ansley Ard. Ard promptly stole second and scored on an RBI double from redshirt sophomore Julie Sarratt. After two groundouts, Garcia doubled over the left fielder's head, plating Sarratt and making it 7-5. A walk to freshman Alaynie Page and a hit-by-pitch to Hathorn loaded the bags, but Jury got a grounder to escape the inning.
Hawkins led off the seventh with a single before Jury got two outs to get to the brink, while Hawkins moved to second on the second out. Senior catcher Shelby Gonzales singled home Hawkins with a hit to right and moved to second on an illegal pitch, putting the tying run in scoring position. Alabama brought back starting pitcher Jackie Traina (12-2), and she got a strikeout to end the game.
Alabama took a 4-2 lead in the fourth behind Kayla Braud's two-RBI single with two down and a throwing error that allowed two Alabama runs to score on McCleney's grounder. The Tide stretched the lead in the fifth with Traina's solo homer to start the frame and RBI singles from Chaunsey Bell and Braud.
South Carolina held a 2-0 lead after three innings. Garcia scored on Hathorn's single to center after singling, stealing second and moving to third on a wild pitch in the first. Sophomore centerfielder Kristen Struett made it 2-0 with an RBI single in the third, scoring junior third baseman Codee Yeske after she walked to start the inning and beat a throw to second on a fielder's choice.
Traina got the win, pitching 5.1 innings combined and giving up three earned runs on three walks and six hits. She struck out three. Gamecock redshirt senior Audrey Broyles (5-3) was charged with the loss, giving up three runs, two earned, on two walks and five hits in 3.1 innings.
Hawkins hit her sixth homer of the year, helping to stretch to a career-best 20 games her streak of reaching base safely, while also scoring twice. Garcia and Sarratt doubled, while Garcia and Ard both stole bases.
Traina had Alabama's only extra-base hit with her homer, while Braud went 3-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored. Kaila Hunt went 2-for-3, while Jaydn Spencer was 2-for-4 with two runs scored.
South Carolina's head football coach Steve Spurrier threw out the first pitch on Sunday afternoon
South Carolina travels to Campbell for Tuesday's midweek matchup, with first pitch scheduled for 6 p.m. EDT at Amanda Littlejohn Stadium in Buies Creek, N.C.
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