March 29, 2005
Columbia, S.C. – Relief pitcher Aleca Johnson (3-2) threw 5.2 innings to lead the Gamecocks to a 3-1 victory and a sweep over the North Carolina Tar Heels Tuesday night. Johnson threw three hitless innings and 4.2 scoreless innings as she struck out an individual and team season high nine batters. In game one, the Seneca, S.C. native recorded her fourth save of the season. USC improved to 22-14 while the Tar Heels fell to 20-19. Ashley Allen took the loss for UNC and is now 5-5.
USC scored in the first as they capitalized on two singles and two errors to take an early 1-0 lead. Lisa Longo, who led off the inning with a rocket line drive back up the infield, scored on an error by centerfielder Erin Dudley. Meghan Cornett looped a single to center and Dudley booted the ball which allowed Longo to come home.
Kate Pouliot started the game in the circle for USC and posted a 1-2-3 inning but when Pouliot returned in the second, she struggled to get the ball across the plate as she walked three batters to load the bases with only one out. USC then brought in Johnson and she retired the next two batters to get out of the inning safely. Johnson then went on to retire the next seven straight batters she faced before she gave up a hit. Joslin Higgins lined a single up the middle in the fifth inning to record the first hit of the game for the Tar Heels. Until that hit, Johnson had struck out nine of the ten batters she had faced.
The game remained quiet until the sixth inning when Jessica Josker led off with a single to get things started for the Gamecocks. Josker eventually advanced to third and scored on an RBI-single by Ashley Smith and put the Gamecocks up 2-0. South Carolina added another run on an RBI-single by Stefanie Norman and took a 3-0 lead.
The Gamecocks were just three outs away from the shutout but UNC continued to battle and in the top of the seventh, Whitney Gelin hit a single to lead off the inning and advanced to second on an error by USC. Johnson then struck out Jennifer Jacobs for her ninth of the evening but then walked Higgins. Erin Dudley then flied out to left field for the second out. Then in a weird turn of events, Cassie Palmer singled to left field to drive in Gelin but during the play, Higgins got caught in a rundown and was thrown out at second by Kristin Hall to end the inning and the game. The run counted and the Tar Heels prevented the shut out but USC stayed on top and claimed the victory 3-1.
Team 123 456 7 R H E UNC 000 000 1 1 4 2 USC 100 002 X 3 6 1
WP: Johnson (3-2)
LP: Allen (5-5)