Feb. 10, 2006
BOCA RATON, Fla. – Junior McKenna Hughes broke up a no-hitter in the bottom of the fourth with a solo home run to guide South Carolina past Pittsburgh 1-0 at the Worth Invitational. Senior Melanie Henkes (1-0) allowed only three hits and struck out seven batters in her 11th career shutout. USC recorded six hits off of pitcher Laura Belardinelli, who fell to 0-1. In day one action, USC improved to 2-0 and recorded 11 hits.
In her first appearance since April 5, Henkes returned to the lineup a little shaky early on, but was able to settle into the game and hurled out a solid performance. In the first inning, Pitt’s leadoff batter, Joey Scarf, reached on an error and Henkes gave up a bunt single to Morgan Howard to give the Panthers runners in scoring position. Henkes then buckled down and struck out the next two batters to get out of the inning. Henkes threw three consecutive hitless innings before Pitt recorded another hit.
South Carolina jumped on the board in the fourth when Hughes hit a one-out home run to deep centerfield to put the Gamecocks in the lead, 1-0. The home run marked the 16th of Hughes’ career and now ranks her fourth all-time among USC leaders.
In the fifth, Pitt’s Jess Dignon led off with a single and Val Mihalik reached on a fielder’s choice sacrifice to put the tying run in scoring position, and the go ahead run on base. Henkes followed with a strikeout to Belardinelli for the second out of the inning and Scarf grounded out to third to end the inning and stranded the runners.
Henkes picked up two more strikeouts, while catcher Ashley Smith and Hughes threw out Francesca DiMaria trying to steal second, and held the Panthers scoreless in the sixth. In the seventh, the Gamecocks had two outs before surrendering another error, its sixth of the day. In the final play of the game, Mihalik grounded out to second base to end the game and the Gamecocks clinched the win 1-0.
USC returns to action Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m. when they take on Bethune-Cookman and Florida Atlantic at 8 p.m.