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March 5, 2016

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Gamecocks (16-2) used an infield single and gutsy base running to take an 8-7 victory from Michigan State (9-8) on Saturday as part of the Gamecock Invitational.

South Carolina senior catcher Jordan Bizzell was hit by a pitch to start the bottom of the seventh and moved to second on a ground out. After a walk, freshman right fielder Kennedy Clark topped one that rolled halfway up the first-base line for a hit. Bizzell rounded third when she saw no one covering and dove home, jarring the ball free from the Spartan catcher to score the game-winning run.

MSU took a 2-0 lead in the first on Kaitlyn Eveland’s two-RBI double. The lead didn’t stand long, as senior left fielder Alaynie Page led off the Gamecock half of the first with a solo shot to left center, her third of the year. Junior designated player Victoria Williams tied things with a sacrifice fly, scoring freshman shortstop Kenzi Maguire, while Clark made it 3-2 when she scored on a Spartan error.

Michigan State tied the game at 3-3 on Sarah Gutknecht’s grounder to first in the third, letting Lea Foerster score from third. The Gamecocks retook the lead in the bottom half when an illegal pitch brought home sophomore second baseman Krystan White from third. Spartan Celeste Wood tied it again in the fifth with her single through the right side, scoring Foerster, but South Carolina answered with junior third baseman Taylor Williams’ solo home run to right with two outs in the fifth. The Spartans tied it in the top of the sixth on Kassidy Kujawa’s pinch-hit blast to center.

Page led off the sixth with a double that the Spartan right fielder almost caught with a sliding effort at the line. She moved to third on Maguire’s sacrifice bunt. A hit-by-pitch to Clark put runners at the corners and brought in a new Spartan pitcher. A walk loaded the bases, and sophomore second baseman Krystan White punched a 2-2 pitch through the left side, scoring two to make it 7-5 Gamecocks. But Michigan State tied things again in the top of the seventh, as Foerster followed Ebonee Echols’ double with a homer to center.

Gamecock junior Nickie Blue (5-2) picked up the win in relief, throwing five innings total, giving up five earned runs on six hits while striking out three. Kristina Zalewski (3-5) took the loss, allowing one earned run on two walks and two hits in 1.1 innings.

Game Changer:
Bizzell forced the action, heading home to an uncovered base, and the play paid off for a Gamecock win.

Key Stat:
South Carolina was hit six times in the game and drew six walks.

• Blue moved into a tie for 10th in career appearances with former All-American Darlene Lowery (1983-87) with her 101st game.
• She also took over 11th in career innings pitched, leaping two others, and into 11th in strikeouts, passing Audrey Broyles.
• Page moved into ninth on South Carolina’s career total bases charts with her homer in the first, passing fellow All-American Michelle Delloso (1988-91).
• Page went 2-for-5 with two runs scored, two extra-base hits and an RBI.
• Page’s double ties her for 18th on the career charts with Amber Curtis (2001-04).
• Maguire reached base four times, twice on walks and twice on HBPs.
• Bizzell reached twice on walks and once on an HBP.
• MSU’s Foerster and Wood both went 3-for-4, with Foerster scoring three runs to go with her two-run homer.

Tweet of the Game: