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March 3, 2015

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – Behind a steady offensive attack, South Carolina (16-5) beat Charlotte (7-5) by a score of 9-3 on Tuesday evening at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field.

The Gamecocks scored two runs each in the first, second, third and fifth innings. Two ground balls in the first tied the game for South Carolina, with seniors Kristen Struett and Sarah Mooney getting the RBIs. In the second, junior left fielder Alaynie Page hit a two-run homer to put the Gamecocks on top for good, driving in freshman Krystan White after she drew a one-out walk.

A bases-loaded walk to sophomore Taylor Williams and a sac fly by White made it a 6-2 Gamecock lead. After 49er third baseman Chelsea Lisikatos hit a home run to make it a 6-3 game in the fourth, the Gamecocks grew the lead again in the fifth on White’s first career homer, a two-run shot to center. A ninth South Carolina run scored in the sixth on Williams’ bases-loaded infield single.

Charlotte jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first on a Gamecock error that let Courtney Carroll score and later on Jackie Kleinsmith’s RBI double.

Gamecock redshirt senior Julie Sarratt (8-3) picked up the win, tossing four innings, giving up three runs, two earned, on five hits while striking out seven. Sophomore Nickie Blue collected her third save of the year with three innings of shutout relief, giving up one hit and fanning four. Lexi Betancourt (3-5) took the loss, allowing eight earned runs on six hits and five walks in five innings.

Game Changer:
The Page home run off the scoreboard in right center completed the momentum shift that started in the bottom half of the first.

Key Stat:
White hit her first career homer, walked once, scored twice and drove in a career-best three runs in the victory.

• Page went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and the two-run shot.
• Page’s blast tied her for seventh in Gamecock history with Evan Childs (2009-12) and Ashley Smith (2003-06), all boasting of 17 career round-trippers. Her two runs gives her 20th at South Carolina with 86.
• Sarratt’s seven strikeouts pushed her past Audrey Broyles (2009-13) into 10th place, now totaling 331 career K’s.
• Blue’s relief appearance gave her eighth outright, now making 29 trips in from the bullpen, and she’s the third Gamecock to record double-digit saves in her career, now with 10.
• Mooney went 2-for-3, while Williams drove in two and scored once on the night.
• Carroll went 2-for-3 for the 49ers, the only Charlotte player with multiple hits.

Up Next:
South Carolina has its last tune-up before SEC play on Thursday at 6 p.m. against Liberty.