March 3, 2006
CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – It came down to the wire once again for South Carolina softball, as a seventh-inning two-out RBI double by Lisa Longo led the Gamecocks to a 5-4 win over the Princeton Tigers Friday afternoon at the Tar Heel Invitational. Princeton scored four runs on two outs in the sixth inning to come from behind and tie the game, including a three-run home run by Amanda Erickson.
McKenna Hughes went 2-for-4, including her third home run of the season, scored two runs and had two RBI as USC improved to 14-5. Freshman Jacqueline Wetherbee recorded her first career home run as she went 1-for-2. Christie Hamilton (8-3) recorded the victory while Calli Jo Varner (0-1) took the loss.
South Carolina took a 2-0 lead in the fifth on Hughes’ home run and added two more in the sixth on Wetherbee’s home run. It appeared at first that that would be all the Gamecocks’ would need.
Hamilton pitched a no-hitter through 5.2 innings before Stephanie Steel singled to left field and sparked the rally. Tiffany Andras followed with another single and Cristina Cobb-Adams reached on a Gamecock error, which also allowed Steel to score, dismantling up the shutout. With still two runners on base, Erickson belted her first home run of the season on a 2-2 count and stunned the Gamecocks.
In the seventh, Hughes drew a one-out walk before Hamilton struck out swinging. Down to only one more out in the inning, Longo stepped to the plate and rocketed a hit deep to center field, scoring Hughes all the way from first. Carolina took the lead into the bottom half and left it in the hands of the defense. Hamilton struck out the leadoff batter, but gave up a single to Lauren Bierman. USC recorded the next out on a sac groundout by the Tigers before a fly out to left field by Steel put the game in the books.
USC won its sixth straight game, the most consecutive wins since opening up the 2004 season with an 8-0 streak.
The Gamecocks return to action Saturday, March 4 when they play Canisius at 12:30 p.m. and then North Carolina at 3 p.m. South Carolina’s portion of the tournament will conclude Sunday against Memphis at 10 a.m.