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April 2, 2011

Box Score

COLUMBIA, S.C. – In front of an overflow crowd of 754 fans at Beckham Field, South Carolina (17-17, 3-12 SEC) battled before dropping a 7-0 decision to No. 1 Alabama (36-2, 11-1 SEC) in game two of the series on Saturday afternoon.

The Gamecocks left nine runners on base, including one in scoring position in each of the final six innings. The double play combination of sophomore Samie Garcia and freshman Dana Hathorn both posted doubles, while junior centerfielder Lauren Lackey and freshman Julie Sarratt also had singles. Kayla Braud led Alabama with a 3-for-4 day, which included a double and a grand slam. Jazlyn Lunceford went 2-for-2 with a double and two runs scored, while Jackey Branham was 1-for-2, scoring twice while driving in two with a home run.

Alabama jumped on top, 3-0, in the second on Lunceford’s RBI double, which plated Cassie Reilly-Boccia, and Branham’s two-out homer to left center. The Crimson Tide posted four more in the sixth when Braud lined a 3-2 pitch over the wall in center, clearing the bases after a Lunceford single was bookended by walks to Kaila Hunt and Branham.

The Gamecocks left two aboard in the fourth and seventh, including loading the bases in their final chance. The 1-0 pitch to junior Kaitlin Westfall hit her to put her aboard to start the seventh. Junior Evan Childs reached first after Alabama’s defense failed to get pinch runner Jackie Slawson on the slow grounder. Another fielder’s choice forced off Childs and put Garcia aboard before Crimson Tide starter Jackie Traina posted her third strikeout of the game. Senior Laura Mendes drew her second walk to load the bags, bringing up Hathorn. The freshman missed a homer by a foot down the left field line on the 2-0 offering. The next pitch was swung at and missed, but the South Carolina pinch runner at first got too far away from the bag, giving Alabama the easy pickoff throw to end the contest.

Trainia (14-1) struck out three while walking three and allowing four hits in the complete-game shutout. South Carolina senior Ashley Chastain (3-3) took the loos, giving up three earned runs on four hits and a walk.

Mendes helped the Gamecocks at the plate, drawing two walks, and in the field, with two big assists from right. The first came on the first hit of the game, when Braud tried to stretch her double into a triple. But Mendes’ accurate throw to the cutoff Garcia and the quick relay to third beat Braud to take her out. And in the third, the Crimson Tide tried to test Mendes on a fly ball by Larsen. Jennifer Fenton tried to move up on the routine fly, but Mendes cut her down at second.

The series concludes on Sunday, with first pitch between the Gamecocks and Crimson Tide slated for 12 noon EDT.