April 6, 2012
by Koby Padgett
COLUMBIA, S.C. - South Carolina (23-16, 3-9 SEC) hit three two-run homers to run past Kentucky (16-21, 3-7 SEC) 9-1 in five innings on Friday night at the UK Softball Complex.
Seven Gamecocks had seven hits, one each by seven different starters, led by two-run homers from seniors Molly Brossart and Evan Childs and sophomore Chelsea Hawkins. Redshirt senior Kaela Jackson added a bases-loaded double to drive in a team-best three runs. Childs and senior Kaitlin Westfall both scored twice.
"Our offense was in attack mode from the first pitch today," said South Carolina head coach Beverly Smith. "Kaela (Jackson) had a clutch bases-loaded, two-out hit that really got us going and set the tone for us. We carried the aggressiveness throughout the game. I loved seeing Evan, Chelsea and Molly all drive in two. And Audrey Broyles had an outstanding pitching performance."
The Gamecocks started fast with a five-run first. Junior shortstop Samie Garcia started the game with a single and moved to second on senior centerfielder Lauren Lackey's sacrifice bunt. Childs reached on an error by the Wildcat third baseman. After a groundout put both Gamecock runner in scoring position, Westfall drew a walk to load the bags for Jackson, who drove the 3-1 pitch to the wall in right, allowing all three runs to score. Hawkins followed with a shot over the wall in left center to make it 5-0 Gamecocks.
Brittany Cervantes had a one-out homer in the first over the centerfield wall to make it 5-1. But the Gamecocks responded in the second when Childs followed Lackey's walk with a blast off the scoreboard in left to make it 7-1. In the fifth, Brossart stepped up with two outs and Westfall on third and sent the 2-1 pitch off the top of the wall that bounced up and hit the left-field pole for her second homer of the year, pushing South Carolina's lead to 9-1.
Redshirt junior Broyles (7-5) got the complete-game victory, scattering four hits and four walks in five innings. She gave up one earned run and struck out one. Ellen Weaver (2-4) took the loss for Kentucky, allowing all five runs, none earned, in 0.2 innings. She gave up three hits and walked two. Chanda Bell pitched the rest of the game for the Wildcats, giving up four earned runs on four hits and two walks in 4.1 innings.
With Childs homer, she became the third Gamecock to hit 10 homers in a year, tying Debralee Troesh for second in a single season.
Game two of the series between South Carolina and Kentucky is set for 1 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.
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