Rally Falls Short as Gamecocks Drop Game Two to Bulldogs 4-3
March 31, 2007
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Despite a seventh inning rally to tie the game, the South Carolina Gamecock softball team (25-12, 3-7 SEC) surrendered a 4-3 loss to the Mississippi State Bulldogs (23-15, 6-7 SEC) to drop a doubleheader sweep Saturday. The Gamecocks will try to prevent the series sweep when it concludes with game three Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m. ET. South Carolina is hoping to snap a seven-game conference losing streak.
South Carolina took the lead first when Jessica Josker scored on a sacrifice fly by Lisa Longo in the second to establish a 1-0 lead in the game. The Gamecocks however would need to score more runs in order to secure the lead.
Kate Pouliot started the game for the Gamecocks and kept the Bulldogs scoreless through five innings. MSU continued to battle Pouliot before breaking through in the sixth. The Bulldogs scored three runs in the bottom half of the inning to stake the 3-1 lead. MSU tied the game at 1-1 when Courtney Bures scored on a throwing error by Pouliot, who was attempting to make a play at first. MSU then took the lead when Katie Cooley scored on a wild pitch from third, and the final run of the inning came when Sammie Jo Bailey singled to left field and drove in Jessie Bailey with one only out. Despite recording her sixth strikeout of the game for the second out, Pouliot then gave up back-to-back singles as the Bulldogs were able to keep the inning alive. The Gamecocks then made a pitching change and brought in Melissa Hendon to get South Carolina out of the inning without anymore damage done. Hendon completed the task as she retired the first batter she faced to end the inning with South Carolina down by two runs.
The Gamecocks refused to give up and fought back in the seventh with a two-out rally. With one out, pinch hitter Adele Voigt and shortstop Lindsay Walker recorded back-to-back singles off of reliever Sara Hickerson to put the tying run on base. After a groundout that advanced the runners, McKenna Hughes doubled to left centerfield to drive in Voigt and Walker and tied the game 3-3. The double was ninth of the season, 36th of her career. The Gamecocks were unable to drive Hughes in and take the lead as a fly out by Josker recorded the final out of the inning.
South Carolina would try to contain the Bulldogs in the seventh, but a one-out double by Katie Johnson drove in Katie Cooley, who drew a one-out walk to reach base, for the winning run. The loss would go to Hendon who is now 10-8. Hickerson earned the victory and improved to 4-4. Starter Kelsey Nurnberg earned a no-decision after giving up one run on seven hits in 5.1 innings pitched.
The two teams combined for 20 hits with each team registering 10 apiece. This marks the most hits for the Gamecocks since game two against Arkansas on March 10. The three runs were the most by the Garnet and Black since March 17 against Alabama.
Hughes went 3-for-4 and had two RBI for the game, while Walker went 2-for-4 with one run. For the day, Walker went 4-for-7 and scored two runs.
Mississippi State 4, South Carolina 3 (Mar 31, 2007 at Starkville, Miss.) (Game 2)