Comeback Bid Comes up Short in 3-2 Game Two Loss to No. 20/16 Kentucky
April 23, 2011
by Koby Padgett
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Samantha DeMartine's two solo home runs helped No. 20/16 Kentucky (35-10, 13-6 SEC) take a 3-2 win over South Carolina (24-24, 5-16 SEC) in game two in front of 727 fans at Beckham Field.
DeMartine went 2-for-2 with the two homers for the Wildcats. Gamecock junior centerfielder Lauren Lackey went 2-for-2 with a run scored.
DeMartine collected the first Kentucky hit and run in the fifth, driving a ball over the wall in left to give Kentucky the 1-0 lead. The Wildcats added an insurance run on Meagan Aull's RBI single in the sixth, scoring Kara Dill after she reached with a two-out infield single.
The Gamecocks came back with a run in the sixth when Lackey scored from first on sophomore Samie Garcia's bunt single. Lackey saw third uncovered and raced there when the ball got away from the Wildcat defense and continued when the Kentucky catcher chased up the line to cover third and left the plate open. Garcia moved to second on sophomore Hannah Milks's sacrifice bunt, but Kentucky starter Rachel Riley got a groundball to end the threat.
Leading off the seventh, DeMartine stretched Kentucky's lead back to two with another solo homer. The Wildcats threatened to add more, loading the bases with one out. But Lackey helped get the Gamecocks out of the jam in dramatic fashion, making a catch in far left center. Her throw home didn't beat the Wildcat pinch runner, and obstruction was called when senior catcher P.J. Fulmer blocked the plate and made contact with the runner without the ball. But that call was erased when the third-base umpire ruled the pinch runner left third early on appeal, ending the inning and keeping the score at 3-1.
And the insurance proved to be big, as the Gamecocks mounted a comeback in the bottom of the frame. Senior Laura Mendes connected with two down, posting a double to the left-centerfield gap, and junior Evan Childs followed with one down the leftfield line to cut it to a one-run game. However, Riley got a foul out on the next pitch to finish the game.
Riley (11-4) went the distance, allowing five hits and two runs, one earned. She struck out one. Gamecock starter Audrey Broyles (6-7) took the loss, giving up two runs, one earned, on three hits and two walks while fanning two.
The Gamecocks and Wildcats wrap the series on Easter Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. EDT. Fans can get into the weekend's finale for $1, with an Easter egg hunt scheduled for children scheduled for before the contest at Beckham Field.