Gamecocks' Comeback Bid Falls Short in 3-1 Loss to No. 21/20 Kentucky

April 5, 2013

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COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina (19-15, 1-9 SEC) had a chance to tie the contest in the seventh, but No. 21/20 Kentucky (25-10, 6-4 SEC) held on to take a 3-1 win on Friday night in front of 1,000 fans at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field.

The Gamecocks, who left 10 runners on base during the game, loaded the bases with no one out in the final frame. Redshirt senior third baseman Kelley Dillon and senior shortstop Samie Garcia poked singles to left to start the inning, and freshman left fielder Alaynie Page drew a walk to load the bags for the middle of the order. But Kentucky freshman pitcher Kelsey Nunley got a strikeout, an infield pop and a grounder to end the frame and the contest.

The Wildcats took the 2-0 lead in the first thanks to solo homers from freshman Christian Stokes and senior Alice O'Brien, and freshman Nikki Sagermann hit another solo homer with one out in the fourth to make it 3-0. South Carolina cut the lead to two in the sixth on redshirt sophomore Julie Sarratt's sacrifice fly, scoring junior right fielder Chelsea Hawkins after she doubled with one out and moved to third on junior designated player Ashlyn Masters' infield single.

South Carolina stranded runners on in each of the final five innings, including another bases-loaded situation in the fourth. A one-out single by sophomore centerfielder Kristen Struett and walks to Hawkins and Sarratt around a strikeout put the Gamecocks in a golden position, but Nunley got a strikeout, one of seven, to escape the inning.

Nunley (16-4) gave up the one earned run on six hits and five walks in the complete-game win. Gamecock redshirt senior Audrey Broyles (7-6) took the loss, giving up the three solo home runs and two other hits while walking one in 3.1 innings. Freshman Katie Marks came in and pitched 3.2 innings, fanning two and giving up three hits and a walk in a scoreless relief appearance.

Dillon went 2-for-3, reaching base in the other at-bat on an error. Hawkins had a double, while Sarratt had the lone RBI. O'Brien ranked as the only Wildcat with two hits.

The two teams meet again on Saturday at 4 p.m. at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field.