May 12, 2005
Gainesville, Fla. – South Carolina softball is down to elimination status at the SEC Championships in Gainesville, Fla. as the Auburn Tigers shutout the Gamecocks 8-0 in game one. It took the Tigers five innings to muscle 10 hits off of USC while the Garnet and Black had one hit. That hit came at the bat of McKenna Hughes in the first inning.
Starter Aleca Johnson took the loss and fell to 7-9 while Holly Currie improved to 23-8. The Gamecocks are now 28-27-1 and AU improved to 48-14. After Currie gave up the hit to Hughes, she held the Gamecocks hitless for the remaining four and two-thirds innings and allowed USC just one base runner.
“We are totally capable of playing much better than what we showed out there today. Today we settled and in championship play you just can’t do that,” said head coach Joyce Compton. “Tomorrow we need to come out and show we are better than this. We need to play like what we are capable of.”
In the second inning, Auburn led off with back-to-back singles by Lolani Alvarez and Amy Shaw. The two eventually scored after a throwing error by Meghan Cornett allowed the runners to come home. Auburn took a 2-0 lead.
The Tigers added two more runs in the fourth after Sara Ghezzi drew a one-out walk and Anne Norton followed with a home run to right field off of Johnson. After Auburn extended its lead to 4-0, the Gamecocks changed pitchers and brought in Kate Pouliot. Pouliot gave up a hit but got USC out of the inning without any more runs coming across.
The Tigers put the game away in the fifth when they scored four runs to record the mercy-rule victory. AU connected on three consecutive hits and a single by Dean drove in two runs and extended the Tigers lead to 6-0. After a fielder’s choice groundout by Ghezzi, Norton singled for her second hit of the game and provided AU another run, 7-0. The Tigers final run of the game came on an RBI-single by Alvarez and Auburn had the 8-0 win, enough to end the game due to run-rule. The Gamecocks were only able to record one out for the inning.
USC will now play Friday morning the loser of the Mississippi State/Alabama game at 11 a.m. The winner of the elimination game will advance to play on Saturday while the loser will go home. The Gamecocks are still looking for their first conference win in the tournament since 2003.