April 18, 2006
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Senior catcher Ashley Smith hit two home runs and accounted for all three of South Carolina’s runs as the Gamecocks lost a tough game two battle to the sixth-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols 5-3. Smith hit a two-run shot in the second and a solo long ball in the seventh, but it was not enough as UT was able to jump on the Monica Abbott train and pulled ahead with the victory.
Christie Hamilton gave up two runs in five innings before surrendering three in the sixth. The freshman pitcher struck out five and gave up six hits as she fell to 12-12 on the year. Abbott, who entered the game in relief in the fifth inning, improved to 31-5. The Gamecocks recorded five hits in the game, including the home run against Abbott. Lindsay Schutzler and Katherine Card each went 2-for-4 at the plate. Schutzler scored the eventual winning run and Card drove in the go ahead run.
Smith put the Gamecocks on the board in the second inning when she hit a two-run home run to left field and gave USC the 2-0 lead. With the home run, Smith recorded her 99th and 100th career RBI and moved into ninth all-time among USC’s leaders. Ashton Payne, who hit a one-out single to reach base, also scored on the play.
A Gamecock error allowed Tennessee to get a run on the board in the third. USC tried to catch pinch runner Alicia Brown in a rundown, but Smith was short on the throw as it went into the dirt and over Ashton Payne’s head at second base. Brown then scored from second and cut the lead in half.
Lindsay Schutzler broke up the no-hitter for Hamilton in the fourth inning when she beat out a throw from shortstop with no outs. Tennessee tied the game 2-2 in the fourth when Katherine Card hit a full count, two-out home run over the right field fence. The home run was Card’s fifth of the year. Just prior to the home run, Smith and McKenna Hughes connected to throw out Schutzler at second as she was trying to steal for the second out of the inning.
With the game tied, Tennessee went to the bullpen in the fifth and brought in Monica Abbott, who shut out the Gamecocks in game one, to replace starter Megan Rhodes.
The Lady Vols led off the sixth with three straight hits but the leadoff, Fekete, was picked off at second after over running the base for the first out of the inning. Hamilton walked Callahan to load the bases and with Card at the plate with a 2-1 count, Hamilton threw a wild pitch and the go ahead run scored, giving Tennessee the 3-2 lead. With runners at second and third, Card then singled to drive in another UT run and went up 4-2. The fifth and final run for UT scored on a sac fly by Jennifer Griffin to establish a healthy lead for the Lady Vols.
The Gamecocks rallied in the top of the seventh as Smith led off the inning with a solo home run, her second of the game, and cut the lead to two, 5-3. Smith’s second home run was only the seventh that Abbott had given up for the season. USC could not get past Abbott however, as Jacqueline Wetherbee hit a hard line drive right to the third baseman, Margaret Person popped out and Jessica Josker struck out looking for the final out of the game.
This marks the second time this season the Gamecocks had a multi-home run game by the same player. Lisa Longo did it against Kentucky back in March.
With the win, Tennessee wins the series and now jumps ahead of the Gamecocks in the all-time series, 16-15. USC is now 24-24 and 4-15 in the SEC, while UT is 43-6 and 14-6 in the conference. South Carolina will try to avoid the sweep when the two teams meet for game three on Wednesday at 4 p.m.