April 13, 2003
Columbia, S.C. – For the third straight game, the 15th-ranked Carolina Gamecocks (31-12-15-7 SEC) rallied against the 20th-ranked Florida Gators (32-16, 13-8 SEC), winning game three of the series 2-1. Carolina sweeps the Gators 3-0 for the first time since 1997. This also marks USC’s third SEC sweep this season. Pitcher Melanie Henkes recorded her first save of the season as she came in during the seventh inning with the bases loaded and one out and recorded the final two outs to end the game. Stacey Johnson earned the win for Carolina, improving to 15-6, while Jenny Gladding fell to 16-9. Debralee Troesh (1-for-1) and Ashley Smith (1-for-3) drove in the two runs for USC.
Tied 1-1 in the sixth inning, Smith put Carolina ahead as she recorded her only hit of the game, a double, to score Meghan Cornett (1-for-2) from second and give the Gamecocks a 2-1 lead.
Florida attempted a rally in the seventh as the bases were loaded with one out for the Gators. Henkes then entered the game and allowed pinch hitter Jennifer Mossadeghi to advance on a fielder’s choice as she threw out pinch runner Britni Houghton at the plate to prevent a run from scoring. One out away, Lindsay Norfleet grounded out for the final out to end the game and give Carolina the win.
Early in the game, Florida took a first inning 1-0 lead as Nikki Baldwin drew a walk with the bases loaded to score Jackie Marchetta. With only one out and the bases still loaded, Cornett turned a hard line drive by Ashlie Goble into a double play and rescued Carolina from a potentially dangerous inning.
Melissa Sandel led off the third inning with a walk and advanced to second on a fielder’s choice by Kim Evans. For the second time in the series, Troesh drove home the tying run of the game for Carolina when she doubled to score Sandel.
Carolina returns to action next Friday and Saturday, April 19-20 when the Gamecocks host No. 17 Alabama. This will be the final home SEC series of the season for Carolina. Saturday’s game is senior recognition day.