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April 19, 2006

Box Score

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – South Carolina softball came up short again as the Gamecocks fell 3-0 to the fourth-ranked Tennessee Lady Vols to conclude the series Wednesday afternoon. Ashton Payne, Chrissy Schoonmaker and Ashley Smith recorded the hits for USC. Sarah Fekete went 2-for-3 for UT with an RBI.

Christie Hamilton gave up three runs on seven hits with six strikeouts and five walks, as she fell to 12-13. Monica Abbott improved to 32-5 as she gave up three hits and had nine strikeouts in her 19th shutout of the year.

USC falls below .500 for the first time this year, and is now 24-25 and 4-16 in the SEC. UT improves to 44-6 and 15-6 in the conference.

The Gamecocks rattled Abbott in the first when Payne and Schoonmaker recorded hits to halt any chances of a no-hitter. After the first, Abbott retired the next 10 Gamecock batters before Carolina registered their next hit. Smith hit a one out single in the top of the fifth, but the Lady Vols held USC in check and did not allow the base runner to advance.

In the first, the Gamecocks recorded two outs before Hamilton walked three Lady Vol batters, including an intentional walk to Tonya Callahan. Carolina got out of the inning unscathed when Liane Horiuchi hit a single to shortstop, but the ball hit Callahan on the heel as she attempted to run to third and was called out to end the inning.

Tennessee scored its first two runs of the game in the second to go up 2-0. The Lady Vols’ first run came on a solo home run by Jennifer Griffin to lead off the inning, and the second run of the inning came when Sarah Vaughn scored from third on a double steal.

In the fourth, UT added another run to go up 3-0 when Vaughn scored on a two-out RBI double by Fekete.

UT threatened to score again in the fifth as they had runners at second and third with just one out, but Hamilton was able to strikeout the next two batters, Horiuchi and Griffin, to get out of the inning cleanly.

The loss is the fifth straight for the Gamecocks. USC has only three more series left in conference play before the SEC Tournament. The Gamecocks are currently ninth and only the top eight advance.

The Gamecocks return home this weekend for a three-game series against Ole Miss, April 22-23. Saturday’s doubleheader is set for 1 p.m. (ET) and Sunday’s single game is marked for Noon (ET).