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March 4, 2016

Box Score

COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (15-2) followed up its no-hitter on Tuesday with a two-hit shutout of Kennesaw State (11-3), a 7-0 victory, in the final game of Friday’s action in the Gamecock Invitational at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field.

Junior Jessica Elliott (10-0) fanned seven in five innings, while Nickie Blue tossed two perfect innings of relief with two strikeouts to blank the Owls.

Every Gamecock batter reached base, with the big hits coming on two-RBI doubles by sophomore shortstop Krystan White and senior centerfielder Ansley Ard. White’s shot off the left-field wall came in the four-run first, while Ard’s hit into the gap in left center pushed home both runs in the fourth.

South Carolina scored twice more in the first, with freshman second baseman Alexis Mack tallying the first run on a double steal with freshman Kennedy Clark. Junior designated player Victoria Williams scored White with an RBI single just after White’s double.

The seventh Gamecock run came home in the sixth. Senior catcher Jordan Bizzell led off the frame with a walk, took second on a ground out and scored when, after another ground out, the throw back to third went wide as she slid into the bag.

Owl starter Monica Vickery (2-2) took the loss, allowing six earned runs on five hits and three walks in four innings.

Game Changer:
Elliott’s seven strikeouts, especially the five looking, demonstrate how she kept the Kennesaw State hitters guessing in her five innings.

Key Stat:
South Carolina shut out its sixth foe of the season.

• While her hitting streak ended, senior Alaynie Page drew two walks to stretch her reached-base streak to 14 games.
• Bizzell also walked and scored twice.
• White went 2-for-3 with the double, two RBI and one run scored.
• Elliott’s seven strikeouts are a new best in her South Carolina career.
• The Gamecocks haven’t allowed a run in 18 consecutive innings.
• In the day’s first game, Kennesaw State downed Connecticut 9-1 (6).

Head coach Beverly Smith

The big thing for us was getting runners on base. Alaynie (Page) and (Jordan) Bizzell both had two nice walks, and getting those extra base runners allows us put pressure on the defense. (Ansley) Ard and Krystan White came though in the clutch with those big hits.

Jessica and Nickie are such a great combination. Jessica did a super job leading us off, and Nickie came in and closed the door. They are just getting really good at working together. They are a difficult duo to handle.

Up Next:
The Gamecocks play twice on Saturday, facing Michigan State (9-6) at 1:30 p.m. and Connecticut at 4 p.m.