Mendes Hands Gamecocks an Eight-Inning, 3-2 Win over No. 4 Alabama
April 10, 2009
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Sophomore Laura Mendes connected for her second walk-off hit of the season, leading the Gamecocks to a 3-2, eighth-inning win over No. 4 Alabama in the first game of the doubleheader on Good Friday at Beckham Field.
Mendes, with two down in the eighth, came through with a clutch hit to center, allowing freshman Evan Childs to score from second. Childs reached on a fielder's choice and moved to second on freshman Lauren Lackey's sacrifice bunt. Freshman Audrey Broyles, pinch-hitting from the flex spot for designated player Kaitlin Westfall, drew a two-out walk, setting up Mendes's heroics.
The Gamecocks got out to the early 2-0 lead behind a pair of unearned runs. Junior Adele Voigt reached on a catcher's interference with one down in the first and moved to second when freshman Kristen Stubblefield got hit by a pitch. Sophomore Jill Semento drilled the 2-2 offering to the wall in left for a double, plating Voigt. The Crimson Tide threw behind Semento at second, who slid in and jarred the ball loose from the second baseman's glove, which allowed Stubblefield to score from third.
Alabama answered in the top of the second when Ashley Holcombe connected for a two-out, two-RBI single to tie up the game. Charlotte Morgan started the inning with a walk, and pinch runner Lisa Elizondo moved to second on Cassie Reilly-Boccia's single. The two moved up on a double steal during Holcombe's at bat.
Both teams had chances in the seventh. Alabama got consecutive one-out singles, but Broyles (10-7) induced a fly ball and a popup to get out of the top half of the frame. South Carolina threatened in the bottom half, also putting together back-to-back one-out hits from Voigt and Stubblefield. The Alabama pitcher Morgan (9-6) came back to get a strikeout and a force out on a grounder to third to force extra frames.
Broyles went the distance, allowing two earned runs on eight hits and a walk while fanning five. She tossed 153 pitches in the contest, 102 going for strikes. Morgan got the loss, allowing one earned run on five hits in 4.1 innings. She struck out seven.
The win for the Gamecocks was their first over Alabama since April 17, 2004 in Tuscaloosa, snapping a 14-game losing streak to the Crimson Tide. South Carolina also claimed its first victory over a top-five team since April 6, 2007, when it beat No. 5/6 LSU, 2-1.
All but one Gamecock got a hit in the first game, but no one had two.