Gamecocks Take Down No. --/24 LSU in Five Innings, 8-0
April 20, 2014
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Behind an 11-hit attack that included three-hit games from senior right fielder Chelsea Hawkins and freshman first baseman Victoria Williams, South Carolina (30-17, 9-12 SEC) downed No. --/24 LSU 8-0 in five on Easter Sunday at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field.
Hawkins scored twice and drove in a run while adding a double, while Williams plated three in her first-career three-hit day. Senior second baseman Ashlyn Masters doubled and scored twice in a 1-for-3 day, and junior catcher Olivia Lawrence reached base three times via one hit and two walks while driving in two. Redshirt freshman Lauren Masters, sophomore Alaynie Page and junior Kristen Struett all had hits, with Page and Struett posting one RBI each and Lauren Masters scoring once.
RBI singles from Hawkins and Lawrence handed the Gamecocks a 3-0 lead after one inning. Ashlyn Masters doubled, and her sister Lauren singled to put runners at the corners, setting up Hawkins' run-scoring hit. Williams loaded the bases with her one-out hit, setting Lawrence up for her two-RBI single.
The Gamecocks made it 4-0 in the second on Williams' second single, which scored Ashlyn Masters after she walked on four pitches to start the inning. Hawkins singled to put Masters into scoring position for Williams.
Williams struck again in the fourth with a two-RBI single, scoring freshman pinch runner Mackenzie Moler and Hawkins after Lauren Masters walked and Hawkins doubled off the top of the wall a foot from the foul line. Lawrence walked, and Struett singled home the third run in the frame. Page hit one to deep right center, allowing Lawrence to score from third on the sacrifice fly to make it 8-0.
Gamecock freshman Nickie Blue (16-7) did the rest, striking out two while scattering four hits and three walks in the five-inning shutout, the third of her career. Ashley Czechner (9-11) took the loss for the Tigers, allowing four earned runs on five hits and two walks in one-plus inning. Four Tigers (27-20, 8-10 SEC) tallied singles in the contest.
Ashlyn Masters' leadoff double in the first handed her second alone in South Carolina's single-season history with 19 on the season. She's two shy of tying the single-season record for the Gamecocks. The Gamecocks sent nine batters to the plate twice in the game, in the first and fourth, matching season bests in opening-weekend wins over Presbyterian and UNC Greensboro. South Carolina secures its first back-to-back 30-win season since the 2003-04 campaigns, when the team won 40 or more in each season.
While the Gamecocks have a weekend off from SEC play, they will play four non-conference games at home, starting with Tuesday's 6 p.m. contest against Southern Conference leader Georgia Southern. South Carolina hosts South Carolina State for the first time on Wednesday at 6 p.m. before Longwood comes to Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field for a two-game set, with those scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday.