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March 13, 2015

Box Score

COLUMBIA, S.C. – A home run barrage and a four-hit shutout from sophomore Nickie Blue led South Carolina (19-8, 1-3 SEC) to an 8-0 (6) victory over No. 9/15 Tennessee (18-4, 0-1 SEC) on Friday night at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field.

The Gamecocks led off the first three innings in style, getting homers from junior Alaynie Page twice and sophomore Kaylea Snaer once to take a 3-0 lead. Snaer had a part in the fourth Gamecock run, as her third-inning fly ball to left was dropped by the Lady Vol outfielder, allowing sophomore Victoria Williams to score from first after she reached with a two-out single.

In the fifth, senior Kristen Struett joined the home run parade with a three-run shot to left, making it 7-0. Page started the inning by being hit by a pitch, and junior Jordan Bizzell followed with a bunt single, setting up the Struett bomb. The final South Carolina run came across in the sixth when Bizzell drew a bases-loaded walk, forcing home freshman Krystan White to end the game.

Blue (10-4) tossed a four-hit shutout, walking three and striking out four. She worked out of a couple of jams, including a second-and third, one-out pickle in the first and a first-and-third, no-out situation in the fifth. Erin Gabriel (8-2) took the loss for the Lady Vols, giving up seven runs, six earned, on six hits in four-plus innings.

Game Changer:
The second pitch the Gamecocks’ Page saw flew over the center-field wall, setting the tone for the evening.

Key Stat:
Page went 3-for-3 with two homers, three runs and a HBP.

• Page tied the school record for the second time this year with two homers in the game. She earlier had two homers in the Presbyterian win on Feb. 13.
• The two homers ties Page for fourth in Gamecock history with Tricia Popowski (1988-91). She’s also tied for second in a single season with 11 blasts on the year, joining Evan Childs and McKenna Hughes one behind Sarah Mooney’s 2014 total of 12.
• The three runs vaulted her into a tie for 17th with Amber Curtis (2001-04) on the career runs charts.
• Page’s HBP in the fifth put her into a tie for seventh on that career list with 12.
• Struett’s three-run homer in the fifth gives the senior her first multi-RBI game of the season.
• Tennessee’s Shaliyah Geathers went 2-for-3, the only Lady Vol with multiple hits.
• The South Carolina win snaps a 28-game losing streak to Tennessee, with the last victory coming on April 1, 2003 in Columbia 9-1 in five innings.

Tweet of the Game:

South Carolina Head Coach Beverly Smith

Our focus every game is to play Gamecock softball, and we fell short of that last weekend against Missouri. I was happy that our team showed up to play tonight. The offense was extremely impressive. I think our team went up attacking good pitches.

On Nickie Blue’s performance
Nickie threw a fantastic game tonight. She was very focused. She did a super job attacking their hitters. Throwing a shutout against an SEC team is difficult. She was on point tonight.

Junior left fielder Alaynie Page
It was awesome. We had big home runs. We just wanted to get the job done. That wasn’t the team we wanted to showcase (vs. Missouri).

Up Next:
South Carolina and Tennessee continue the series with a 2 p.m. contest on Saturday. Prior to the game, the Gamecocks will honor senior Sarah Mooney in the second of four senior days SC hosts this spring.