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March 25, 2006

Box Score

STARKVILLE, Miss. – Despite a come from behind rally in the seventh, South Carolina (21-11, 1-6 SEC) was not able to hold on to its one-run lead in the bottom of the 10th as the Mississippi State Bulldogs (26-7, 3-1 SEC) defeated the Gamecocks 4-3. Errors haunted the Gamecocks as they registered four, which allowed the Bulldogs to score all four runs. McKenna Hughes went 3-for-5 with two RBI.

After an RBI triple by Hughes in the top of the tenth gave USC the 3-2 lead, Carolina went into the bottom of the inning needing three outs to preserve the lead and earn the win. It would not turn out in favor of the Gamecocks. With the tiebreaker rule in effect, the Bulldogs’ Nakita Boyce scored on an error to tie the game 3-3 and with one out, pushed ahead for the win when Bures, who reached on the same error, scored on an RBI single by Callye Williams and the win.

Melanie Henkes (5-1) took the loss for the Gamecocks, her first of the season, despite a solid outing. Henkes gave up just one earned run in 9.1 innings pitched, her longest outing of the season. Ragan Blake (13-3) picked up the win with 4.0 innings pitched.

Mississippi State jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning after two runs scored on a fielding error by Whitney Wierzbicki. Henkes was able to hold the Bulldogs scoreless for eight innings as the Gamecocks fought their way back into the game.

South Carolina got on the board in the fifth as Kristi Hutchins led off the inning by reaching safely on an error by MSU left fielder Boyce. Hutchins eventually scored from third on a line drive double down the third base side by Darcy Norem. The run cut MSU’s lead in half, 2-1. Margaret Person kept the inning alive when she hit an infield single and gave the Gamecocks runners on the corners with Christie Hamilton at the plate. Hamilton could not execute any runs as she hit a deep fly ball to center field to end the inning.

In the top of the seventh, Hutchins reached base safely on a walk off of starter Stephanie Comeaux. USC then brought in Kate Pouliot to pinch run for Hutchins. The Bulldogs brought in reliever Blake and after striking out the next two batters, Hughes doubled to right center field to drive in Pouliot from first and tied the score 2-2.

South Carolina forced extra innings despite giving up a two-out triple to Courtney Bures in the bottom half. USC intentionally walked Katie Cooley to get to Sammie Joe Bailey and the plan worked. Bailey grounded out for the final out of the inning.

Bures went 2-for-4 with two runs while Williams went 2-for-5 with one RBI. Comeaux, the game starter, gave up two runs on four hits in 6.0 innings pitched.