April 29, 2006
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina put together a four-run third to drive past the 19th-ranked Auburn Tigers 5-2 in game one of the Saturday doubleheader. Jessica Josker had a leadoff triple and scored the leading run on an RBI single by McKenna Hughes, while Hughes scored on an RBI groundout to serve as the winning run in the Gamecocks’ victory. USC improves to 27-26, 7-17 and Auburn falls to 32-16, 13-12.
Christie Hamilton (14-14) recorded the win for USC while Beth DiPietro (15-6) took the loss. The Gamecocks registered its five runs on eight hits and two Auburn errors. The Tigers posted two runs on five hits and three Gamecock errors. Hamilton struck out nine enroute her 18th complete game of the year. With the win, USC snapped an eight-game losing streak to the Tigers.
Ashley Smith went 2-for-4 with an RBI as the Gamecocks had six other batters scatter hits in the game.
Auburn took the lead early in the first inning when Sara Ghezzi hit an RBI double to score Kristina McCain, who led off the inning with a single. South Carolina tied it up in the bottom half Chrissy Schoonmaker singled to drive in Ashton Payne.
USC exploded in the third with three hits to score the four runs. Josker got the inning started with a triple and put USC in the lead when she scored on a single by Hughes. DiPietro was then taken out of the game with one out in the inning and was replaced by Brittany Day. Schoonmaker reached on a fielder’s choice and Hamilton reached on an error to load the bases for the Gamecocks. Lisa Longo then grounded out to shortstop, which allowed Hughes to score the eventual winning run and gave the Gamecocks the 3-1 lead. Smith tacked on the fourth run with an RBI single to right field, scoring Schoonmaker, and the final run for the Gamecocks came when Hamilton scored on a wild pitch, and gave USC the 5-1 lead.
The game remained scoreless until the top of the seventh when Auburn’s rally fell short. Tara Donaldson came in to pinch hit for Lauren Walton and led off with a single. Walton re-entered the game and two batters later, advanced to third on an error by USC. The left fielder then scored on a sac fly by Tatiana Fernandez and cut the lead to three. The rally was halted there as Hamilton struck out Sara Ghezzi, one of the Tigers’ leading hitters, to end the game and clinch the win.