May 4, 2002
Columbia, S.C. – The Gamecocks softball team clinched their second consecutive SEC Eastern Division title, as they defeated the Ole Miss Rebels 5-4 and 10-0 in a Saturday doubleheader. USC (40-16, 19-10) came from behind to win game one, while freshman Aleca Johnson (7-1, 4-0 SEC) recorded a career high 10 strikeouts and her first collegiate shutout in game two, to give Carolina its 40th win of the season.
Down 4-1 in the bottom of the fourth, Carolina’s Debralee Troesh singled to lead off the inning and eventually scored on a two-out RBI double by Samantha Jennings, cutting the Rebels lead in half. Danielle Quinones then followed with the second double of the inning, to drive in Jennings and bring the Gamecocks to within one.
In the bottom of the fifth, an RBI triple by Amber Curtis drove in Jodi Fittro, who reached on an error, and tied the game 4-4. USC then took the lead when Curtis was able to score on a ground out by Adrianna Baggetta. In the final three innings of the game, Stacey Johnson (13-8, 5-6 SEC) retired nine of the ten batters she faced as USC held on to the 5-4 lead to claim the victory.
In game two action, the Gamecocks scored in every inning including a four-run third to mercy-rule the Rebels 10-0 in five innings. In only her second career start for the season, A. Johnson pitched a two-hit shutout and recorded a strikeout in every inning. Offensively, Carolina scored three runs in the second inning, on four hits and an error off of pitcher Lindsey Whatley. USC scored four more runs in the fourth on two hits and three Rebel errors. At the plate for the Garnet and Black, Meghan Cornett and Troesh both went 2-for-3, while Cornett scored three runs. Quinones and Jennings also contributed as they each recorded two RBIs for the game.
The Gamecocks will close the regular season tomorrow in the third game of the series, scheduled for 1 p.m. Sunday’s game is also senior recognition day and USC will honor its 2002 seniors, Megan Matthews and Baggetta. Carolina is one win away from its 20th SEC victory. The only other time USC has one 20 SEC wins was in 1997.