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Gamecocks Debut New Turf in First Fall Action
Senior Evan Childs had one of the three Gamecock hits in Friday's contest.
Senior Evan Childs had one of the three Gamecock hits in Friday's contest.

Sept. 26, 2011

COLUMBIA, S.C. - The South Carolina softball team took to Beckham Field for its first competition since the renovations on Friday, facing Furman in a contest. Despite a rain in the morning that would typically cause a game to be washed out, the field's new drainage stood up to its first test and let the squad compete for the first time this fall.

"We put the new drainage system to the test early this season!" said Gamecock head coach Beverly Smith. "If the game was held on last year's field, we would have been rained out. I am so glad we were able to get out and play Friday night."

The results came out the wrong way, though; as Furman claimed a 3-0 win. The Paladins struck first when Stephanie Spain came home on Stephanie Field's bases-loaded sacrifice fly. It became 2-0 on Hope Smith's pinch-hit sac fly, plating Jessie Homesley after a leadoff double and a passed ball that put her on third. The final run came across in the fifth, as Taylor Jenkins plated Natalie Clemmons with an RBI single.

South Carolina's bats were a bit rusty, with seniors Kaitlin Westfall and Evan Childs and sophomore Chelsea Hawkins all posting hits. The Furman pitching staff posted four strikeouts on the night.

Senior pitcher Kierstyn White tossed the first three innings, giving up one earned run on two hits while striking out one. Freshman Katelynn Howser gave up three hits and two runs, one earned, with a strikeout in two innings of work. Redshirt junior Audrey Broyles tossed the final two frames, giving up one hit.

Despite the outcome, Smith learned some good things about her team.



"We have had just a handful of practices, so it is beneficial for our players to get live at bats off of different pitchers," Smith commented. "It was also good for our new players to shake their jitters and for the coaches to see what gets exposed in a game setting. The game made planning for practice very easy this week. I am excited about the potential of this team and the strides we will make this season."

The Gamecocks return to action on Friday, hosting Spartanburg Methodist at 7 p.m. at Beckham Field. Also, the fall finale against Appalachian State has changed start times from 2 p.m. to 1 p.m. for the doubleheader.

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