Gamecocks Break Single-Season Home Run Record in 19-4 Loss at No. 2/2 Alabama
April 15, 2012
by Koby Padgett
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - In a 19-4 five-inning loss at No. 2/2 Alabama (40-2, 17-2 SEC), South Carolina (23-23, 3-16 SEC) broke the single-season home run record, as sophomore Chelsea Hawkins hit the 39th home run by a Gamecock in 2012.
Down seven in the second, Hawkins punished the 3-1 pitch over the wall in left center for her seventh homer of the year, which puts her in a tie for 10th for a Gamecock in a single season. The blast pushed the 2012 team, with nine games remaining, past the 2003 team that had 38 long flies in 61 games.
Alabama got its first run on the fourth-straight walk of the game, drawn by Cassie Reilly-Boccia. Amanda Locke followed with a grand slam, the first of three-consecutive Crimson Tide homers with Jackie Traina and Danae Hays hitting the next two. After walking the bases loaded initially, Gamecock starter Katelynn Howser was removed, but she came back in to strike out the final two batters of the frame to end it.
But Howser started the second with another free pass, and Jazlyn Lunceford made her pay with a double to left center, scoring Jennifer Fenton. Reilly-Boccia posted a two-RBI single to right to end Howser's day. Later, Hays drew the second bases-loaded walk of the contest to force home another run, while Locke scored on a wild pitch before an out was recorded. After the line out, Kayla Braud walked, setting up Fenton's three-RBI double. Fenton scored on Hunt's second single of the inning, making it 16-1.
South Carolina did not go without a fight, as junior Shelby Gonzales had a two-RBI double to right center to drive home senior Evan Childs and junior Hannah Milks. Junior shortstop Samie Garcia followed by sending one through the right side, and senior pinch runner Jackie Slawson scored after she made an acrobatic move to avoid the tag in foul territory while landing with her left hand on the plate, making it 16-4.
The Crimson Tide got those three runs back in the bottom of the fourth, getting a sacrifice fly from Keima Davis and solo homers from Lunceford and Hunt.
Traina (26-0) got the win, giving up four earned runs on five hits and three walks while striking out eight in four innings for the Crimson Tide. Howser (8-7) took the loss, giving up seven earned runs on three hits and four walks in one-plus inning in the circle. She fanned all three hitters she got out.
The Gamecocks host No. 10/10 Tennessee in a three-game series starting on Friday at 7 p.m. at Beckham Field.