April 8, 2012
by Koby Padgett
LEXINGTON, Ky. - A two-homer day for Gamecock junior shortstop Samie Garcia could not overcome four South Carolina errors, as Kentucky (18-21, 5-7 SEC) picked up the series win with a 10-5 victory on Sunday afternoon at the UK Softball Complex.
Garcia led off two innings with homers, becoming the second Gamecock this season to hit two homers in a game. She also walked twice and scored three runs. Senior leftfielder Kaitlin Westfall went 3-for-4 with an RBI double, while senior centerfielder Lauren Lackey had an RBI triple for South Carolina (23-18, 3-11 SEC). Brittany Cervantes led five Wildcats with two hits each, joined by Lauren Cumbess, Kara Dill, Griffin Joiner and Rachel Riley. Joiner and Dill had doubles, while Cervantes and Riley added solo homers. Cumbess had three RBI, with Dill collecting two.
The Gamecocks led 2-0 after the top of the first. Garcia drove the second pitch of the game over the wall in right, while Westfall had a two-out RBI double, scoring senior third baseman Evan Childs from first after she drew a walk.
Kentucky answered with three in the bottom of the first. Cervantes homered to start the frame, and Cumbess, with two outs and the bases loaded, singled to right to score Riley and Joiner, making it 3-2 after an inning.
The lead climbed to 5-2 in the fourth with two unearned Wildcats runs. Two errors started the inning, putting Emily Jolly and Cumbess on second and third after Kara Howard's sacrifice. Gamecock starting pitcher Audrey Broyles fielded the tap back to her and ran at Jolly, who was off third. Broyles tossed home ahead of Jolly, where catcher Shelby Gonzales tagged her out for the second out. The Gamecocks intentionally walked Cervantes, and Dill responded with a two-RBI double.
The Gamecocks got a run back in the fifth on Garcia's second homer. Two more runners reached, but Wildcat starter Chanda Bell got a strikeout to end the inning.
The Wildcats added three in the fifth on a Cumbess RBI single, Howard's bases-loaded walk and Emily Gaines' sacrifice fly. On the sac fly, Lackey made the catch and mowed down the runner at third for a double play to lessen the threat.
Kentucky made it 10-3 in the sixth, with Riley starting the frame with a homer to left center. Two runners reached next, Joiner on an error and Alice O'Brien via a walk. A fielder's choice took Joiner off the bases, but the throw on the double-play try sailed over first, putting runners at second and third with one out. A strikeout put the Gamecocks on the brink of escaping the frame without any more damage, but a wild pitch allowed O'Brien to score from third. With a runner on third and two down, senior reliever Kierstyn White got her second strikeout to give South Carolina one last chance.
Garcia started the seventh with a walk, and Lackey followed with a triple to right that one-hopped the wall, allowing Garcia to score from first. Lackey scored on sophomore second baseman Dana Hathorn's groundout, cutting the deficit to 10-5. Bell struck out the next batter, her 10th of the game, to close it out.
Bell (9-7) walked four and allowed seven hits and five earned runs in the complete-game win. Broyles (7-6) took the loss, giving up nine hits, three walks, eight runs with six earned in four-plus innings of work.
South Carolina continues the road trip on Wednesday with a doubleheader at No. 9/10 Georgia. First pitch is set for 5 p.m.
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