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Feb. 19, 2011

Box Score

FORT MYERS, Fla. – With a stunning comeback that included five unanswered runs, South Carolina (5-3) defeated Villanova (1-3), 5-4, in the Gamecocks’ first game on Saturday afternoon in the Homewood Suites/Hilton Garden Inn Florida Gulf Coast University Tournament.

Down 4-1 going into the bottom of the seventh, the Gamecocks went to freshman Julie Sarratt to pinch hit to start the frame. She responded with a double off the center-field wall to start the rally. Freshman second baseman Dana Hathorn followed with an RBI single, plating pinch runner Evan Childs from second. Sophomore shortstop Samie Garcia came up next and laced a ball that bounced in front of the Wildcat right field before scooting past her to the wall, which allowed Hathorn to score from first and let Garcia get to third.

With no one out and the tying run on third, junior centerfielder Lauren Lackey hit a grounder to short, but Villanova’s shortstop airmailed the throw to first to give up the tying run and allow Lackey to move to second. A groundout let Lackey take third, where she would come home on junior first baseman Molly Brossart’s sacrifice fly to center to close out the comeback.

The Gamecocks started the comeback in the sixth as Lackey led off the inning with a triple and scored on senior designated player Laura Mendes’ groundout.

Villanova initially took the lead in the fourth on Molly Manning’s two-out RBI double, which plated Valerie Ortega after she started the frame with a walk. The Wildcats added three more in the sixth, the first coming when Brittany Ewing drew a bases-loaded walk. Julie Smith followed with a grounder to the Gamecock shortstop, who booted the ball to allow two more runs to score.

South Carolina’s outfield defense helped keep the Wildcats from scoring more runs in the final two frames. Before Ewing’s walk in the sixth, pinch hitter Christina Botkins lifted a hard-hit ball into foul territory down the right-field line. Sophomore Hannah Milks raced over and made a great catch, then threw a one-hopper to the plate to keep the Villanova runner at third. An inning later with a runner on second, sophomore leftfielder Kaitlin Westfall made a sliding stop on Amanda Marquez’s single, popped up and threw out Taylor Olafson at third.

Junior Kierstyn White (1-1) picked up the win, throwing one inning of scoreless relief while allowing only one hit. Senior Ashley Chastain started and gave up one earned run on two hits and three walks. She fanned one. Villanova’s Caitlyn Delahaba (0-2) went the distance, allowing five runs, three earned, on nine hits and two walks in 6.2 innings.

Garcia and Lackey led the Gamecock offensive attack, both going 2-for-4. Lackey scored twice, while Garcia crossed home once. Marquez recorded two of Villanova’s four hits in the game.