13 Hits Lead Gamecocks To 8-3 Victory Over Centenary|
May 21, 2004
TUCSON, Ariz. - South Carolina (28-23) found the right bats today and it was good for 13 hits and eight runs as the Gamecocks defeated the Centenary Ladies (36-28) 8-3 in the Arizona Regional of the NCAA Tournament. The Ladies are eliminated from the tournament while USC advances to a 10 p.m. (EDT) game against the loser of the Northwestern vs. Oklahoma game. McKenna Hughes recorded her sixth career home run while Samantha Jennings went 3-for-4 with a run and two RBIs. Starter Melanie Henkes improved to 9-7 as she allowed three runs on nine hits, zero walks and recorded eight strikeouts. Cheyenne Daries took the loss for the Ladies and fell to 25-16.
Hughes, who got things started with her solo shot to right field, was one of four batters to record multi-hit games. Hughes, Meghan Cornett and Chrissy Schoonmaker all went 2-for-4 while Hughes had three RBI's and Schoonmaker scored twice. The 13 hits that USC recorded are the most since April 28 against Coastal Carolina.
In efforts to try and shake up USC's hitting slump, Stacey Johnson donned the starting lineup order and took her first at-bat since Feb. 16, 2001 in the second inning. Despite taking good pitches, the designated player struck out swinging three times.
USC exploded in the fourth inning with six runs on four hits and three Centenary errors to establish a 7-1 lead over the Ladies. Ashley Smith was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning and scored USC's second run of the game on an RBI single by Amber Curtis. Jennings then followed with another single to drive in Chrissy Schoonmaker, who reached on an error, to put USC up 3-1. Aleca Johnson then bunted to load the bases and a fielder's choice grounder by Nancy Crane, accompanied by a Centenary error, allowed Jennings and Curtis to score and put the Gamecocks up 5-1.
With two outs in the inning, USC tacked on two more runs when Hughes hit a two-RBI single to score Crane and Johnson and give the Gamecocks a 7-1 lead.
In the fifth, Centenary strung together three hits to score a run and cut the lead to five. USC tagged on their final run of the game in the top of the seventh on an RBI single by Jennings.
Down 8-2 in the bottom of the seventh, the Ladies tried to rally. USC made some mental mistakes as they recorded two errors and allowed another Centenary run but with two on and two outs, Henkes delivered strike number three as Janis Kelley went down swinging to end the game.