March 31, 2012
by Koby Padgett
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Senior leftfielder Kaitlin Westfall hit her second homer of the day, her first career grand slam, to put the South Carolina Gamecocks (22-16) up for good in a 12-5 win over Longwood (23-14) in game two of the doubleheader in front of 613 fans at Beckham Field.
Westfall put the cap on the seven-run third, driving the 1-0 offering over the left-field wall to make it 7-0. Junior shortstop Samie Garcia started the scoring with her RBI single to the right side, scoring junior Hannah Milks after she pinch ran for redshirt senior Kaela Jackson and stole second. Senior centerfielder Lauren Lackey hit one off Longwood pitcher Libby Morris (10-7), driving home senior pinch runner Jackie Slawson. And senior third baseman Evan Childs placed a beautiful bunt down to score Garcia from third. Sophomore second baseman Dana Hathorn drew a walk to set up Westfall's round-tripper.
South Carolina tacked on five more in the fourth, with Hathorn plating freshman pitcher Kristen Struett and Garcia with her bases-loaded single down the left-field line. Westfall brought home Childs with a single through the left side. Sophomore Chelsea Hawkins added an RBI on a grounder, allowing Hathorn to score. And Westfall scampered home after the Lancer leftfielder mishandled Jackson's hit.
Longwood got out to a 3-0 lead after two-and-a-half innings. Brooke Short had an RBI single in the first, scoring Kori Nishitomi from second after she reached on a walk and moved up on a groundball. The Lancers struck with two outs in the third, with Short scoring on an error by the Gamecock leftfielder. Ashley Kramer added an RBI single back up the middle, scoring Jordan Cox from third.
The Lancers kept the game alive in the fifth, as Kramer drove a double to right center, plating Short after she reached on a fielder's choice. A wild pitch allowed Cox to score from third after she got on base with a walk to make it 12-5.
Westfall led the Gamecocks with a 2-for-4 effort, driving in five that was helped by the grand slam. Westfall records the first five-RBI game for South Carolina since Jill Semento did the same on April 7, 2009 against Coastal Carolina.
Garcia went 2-for-4 as well with two runs scored and an RBI. Hathorn scored twice and drove in two in a 1-for-3 day. Hawkins added a double, while four Gamecocks - Garcia, Childs, Milks and Slawson - all stole a base.
Struett (2-0) got the win, tossing 4.2 innings and giving up five runs, three earned, on five hits and six walks. Gamecock freshman Katelynn Howser shut the door on Longwood, giving up one walk in a hitless 2.1 innings of relief. She struck out three. Morris took the loss for the Lancers, giving up 12 runs, 11 earned, on 10 hits and four walks in six innings.
South Carolina embarks on an eight-game Southeastern Conference road trip next, starting with a three-game series at Kentucky over April 6-8. The first game of the series is set for 6 p.m. on Friday night at the UK Softball Complex.
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