May 9, 2002
Chattanooga, Tenn. – After a one hour and 18-minute rain delay, the second-seed South Carolina softball (42-16) team had two explosive five-run innings as they defeated seventh-seeded Mississippi State (34-28) 11-5. Senior Adrianna Baggetta went 3-for-4 with a single, a double and a home run. Her home run was her sixth for the season and USC’s 29th for the year. The 29 home runs in now a school record for home runs in a single season. The previous record was 28, set in 1994.
“We kept very good focus, especially since we had the rain delay. Even though we walked the first batter with the first pitch when we returned, we got out of the inning unharmed and that was important,” said head coach Joyce Compton. “We responded well when we came back with the five runs in the bottom half of that inning. I never felt like the game was over until the final pitch. We just did a great job of staying focused after being out here for four hours.”
Carolina also set two SEC Tournament records. Their 11 runs scored is the most in any tournament game. USC’s 11 RBI is a tournament record as well, raising the standard from eight, which was accrued in an LSU victory over Auburn in 2000. Carolina’s 13 hits tied the SEC record for most hits in a game, matching LSU, and Baggetta’s three runs scored also tied for most runs scored by an individual in a tournament contest.
USC’s first rout came in the bottom of the second inning when the bases were loaded with one out and Baggetta scored from third on a pass ball to give Carolina a 1-0 lead. USC proceeded to score four more runs to end the inning with a 5-0 lead. The Gamecocks second blast came in the fourth when they added five more runs to go ahead 10-3. Baggetta’s homer in the sixth capped off the game, giving USC an 11-5 victory.
“We just had a great day. Everyone just felt like we were all going to get a hit,” said Baggetta. “That is very contagious on our team. I saw the ball well and it just felt good.”
Gamecock pitcher Aleca Johnson (8-1) pitched five innings and gave up three runs on five hits, while Kasey Whitehead (20-13) picked up the loss for the Bulldogs.
The Gamecocks will play No. 3 seed Alabama on Friday, May 10 at 6 p.m. at Jim Frost Stadium. Carolina went 1-2 against the Crimson Tide during the regular season series. In the SEC Tournament, USC is 2-0.