April 23, 2006
COLUMBIA, S.C. – In a game where the lead teetered-tottered back and forth, South Carolina softball suffered a heartbreaking loss and was unable to claim a series sweep as the Ole Miss Rebels defeated USC 5-4 in Sunday afternoon at Beckham Field. The Gamecocks let the sweep slip away when Lauren Rowe hit a two-RBI double in the top of the seventh to rally for the Rebels and put Ole Miss in the driver’s seat for the win.
USC falls to 26-26, 6-17 in the SEC and Ole Miss is now 17-33 and 4-19 in the conference.
Rowe drove in three of Ole Miss’ five runs, including the first and last of the game, while Mary Jane Callahan went 4-for-4 at the plate with two RBI and two runs scored.
Dana Brill (9-14) recorded the win for Ole Miss, while Christie Hamilton (13-14) took the loss for the Gamecocks. USC outhit the Rebels and registered 12 hits to Ole Miss’ 10. Lisa Longo went 3-for-4 with one run and two RBI, while Jessica Josker went 2-for-4, as did Chrissy Schoonmaker. Carolina’s 12 hits were the most for USC since March 15 against Eastern Kentucky.
Ole Miss jumped on the scoreboard first when Callahan led off the first inning with an infield single and scored on a two-out RBI single by Rowe to put the Rebels up 1-0 early in the game.
It was USC’s turn in the second, when the Garnet and Black recorded three straight singles to load the bases with one out. Margaret Person then slapped a short infield hit and reached on a fielder’s choice, which allowed Lisa Longo to score and tie the game, 1-1.
Carolina took a two-run lead in the third when they scored two runs on two hits and an error. McKenna Hughes reached safely when first baseman Mandy Ott dropped a pop fly to lead off the inning. Hughes advanced to third on a single by Schoonmaker and scored on an RBI single by Lisa Longo. The Gamecocks’ second run of the inning came on a fielder’s choice during Ashley Smith’s at bat, which allowed Schoonmaker to score.
Ole Miss continued to battle and loaded the bases in the top of the fourth before pinch hitter Erin Faircloth struck out looking for the out. With two outs, Hamilton gave up a two-RBI double to Callahan and the Rebels tied the game 3-3.
USC jumped back into the lead in the bottom of the fifth after Schoonmaker led off with a single and eventually scored on an RBI double by Longo. The Gamecocks went up 4-3.
Callahan and Rebecca McIntire led off the seventh inning with back-to-back singles to give Ole Miss a chance. That opportunity came true for the Rebels when Rowe recorded her second hit of the day and chipped a two-RBI double to left field for the tie and winning runs.
The Gamecocks fell short in a rally attempt as Brill pitched a 1-2-3 bottom half of the seventh to clinch the win.
USC returns home next weekend, April 29-30 for their final home series of the year. The Gamecocks will host Auburn at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday. The weekend is also Gamecock Softball Alumni and Senior weekend.