April 24, 2011
by Koby Padgett
COLUMBIA, S.C. - Freshman Julie Sarratt produced all day for South Carolina (25-24, 6-16 SEC), posting an eight-inning complete-game win while driving in the game-winning run to lead the Gamecocks past No. 20/16 Kentucky, 4-3, on Easter Sunday afternoon at Beckham Field.
With two down and pinch runner Kelley Dillon on first, Sarratt went with a pitch on the outer half of the plate, driving it into the right-centerfield gap and giving Dillon the chance to beat the throw to the plate to end the game. Dillon came on after junior first baseman Molly Brossart posted her second single of the day with one down in the eighth.
The Gamecocks came out to take a 1-0 lead in the first when freshman second baseman Dana Hathorn beat out an infield single, scoring sophomore shortstop Samie Garcia after she started the inning with a double.
Kentucky (35-11, 13-7 SEC) took a 2-1 lead in the third when Megan Yocke followed Emily Jolly's leadoff single with a shot that landed on Weems Baskin Track for Yocke's 10th homer of the year.
But the Gamecocks tied it in the bottom of the frame when sophomore right fielder Hannah Milks, after drawing a one-out walk, scored from first on a throwing error by the Wildcat third baseman that went into the right field corner. Junior third baseman Evan Childs gave the Gamecocks back the lead in the fourth, leading off the frame with her second homer of the season.
Kentucky would tie things again in the sixth, as Samatha DeMartine, with two outs, posted her third homer of the series and 10th this season on the eighth pitch of the at bat, making it 3-3.
South Carolina tried to take the lead in the sixth, getting runners on second and third with one out after a Brossart single and Childs reaching after a Kentucky error on her sacrifice attempt. But Kentucky pitcher Lauren Cumbess got a liner right at the third baseman and an infield pop to get out of the inning.
A wild top of the eighth ended without a Kentucky run. Meagan Aull started the inning with a double to center. The Gamecocks intentionally walked Brittany Cervantes to set up a force and avoid Kentucky's top slugger entering the weekend. But a wild pitch took away the force play and put two Wildcats in scoring position. Rachel Riley, who had been on a tear in April, lined the ball to right, where Milks made the catch a few steps in front of her normal spot. Milks fired the throw to the plate and got Aull, who has the best stolen-base percentage and is tied for the Wildcats' lead in stolen bases, with help from a great blocking job by senior catcher P.J. Fulmer. South Carolina then walked DeMartine to get to Cumbess, who didn't help her own cause by flying out to right.
Sarratt (8-7) scattered eight hits and three walks in eight innings of work, giving up three earned runs while striking out three. Cumbess (6-2) took the loss, allowing four runs, three earned, on three walks and seven hits. She fanned five.
Garcia and Brossart both had two hits, while Garcia joined Sarratt with a double. Childs had South Carolina's only homer, while Yocke and DeMartine both had long balls on 2-for-3 days at the plate. Meagan Aull also went 2-for-4 for Kentucky.
Sunday's win gave South Carolina its first win over a ranked team this season in 14 tries and snapped a 34-game losing streak to teams in the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) poll, dating back to 2009. The win also marked the Gamecocks' first in extra innings this year in four tries.
South Carolina continues the nine-game home stand with a three-game series against No. 8/9 Florida, which starts Friday, April 29 at 7 p.m. EDT at Beckham Field. Saturday's game, which is Senior Day for the Gamecocks, starts at 2 p.m. and will be shown live on FOX Sports Florida. Sunday's contest is slated for a 12 noon first pitch on SportSouth.
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