March 5, 2016
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina (17-2) persevered through its second game on Saturday, utilizing a big defensive play and a clutch hit from junior first baseman Kaylea Snaer to take a 5-4 (10) victory over Connecticut (3-13) in the Gamecock Invitational.
Snaer came through in the bottom of the 10th with a one-out single to center, scoring freshman Kennedy Clark from second. The duo played a huge role in the top of the 10th ending still tied. With one out and a runner at third, Taylor Townsend hit one into right. Clark, charging hard, caught it on a short hop, which froze the runner at third. Clark fired a strike to Snaer to get Townsend, while Snaer wheeled and threw to home, where senior catcher Jordan Bizzell tagged the runner sliding by to end the frame with a double play.
Both teams scored in the ninth. Husky Kate Sims, who had walked in each of her previous four trips to the plate, including a bases-loaded walk in the fourth that gave UConn a 3-2 lead, grounded one to the right side, which allowed Ally Hernandez score from third. The Gamecocks answered on a ground out in the bottom half, as freshman Kenzi Maguire’s hot shot to first took the fielder to the bag and let Bizzell score from third.
The Huskies took a 1-0 lead in the third thanks to a Gamecock error. With the bases loaded and one out, Lexi Gifford lifted a fly to shallow right that was caught. The throw came home, and the runner at third stayed put. The runner at second, however, had gone halfway, and the Gamecocks tried to throw behind her to get her, but that ball went wide of second, letting Jacklyn Dubois score from third.
South Carolina’s freshman put the team up 2-1 in the bottom of the third. Singles by Alexis Mack and Maguire set up a two-RBI double by Clark with two outs. But UConn recaptured the lead in the fourth, as Alyson Ambler had a two-out RBI single followed by the Sims walk.
The Gamecocks knotted it at 3-3 in the fifth when Clark came through again, doubling Mack home after she legged out an infield single.
Gamecock junior Nickie Blue (6-2) came in and shut down UConn’s offense in her six innings of work. She scattered four hits and two walks along with the unearned run in the ninth. Her one strikeout ties her with Angie Lear (1988-91) for 10th in Gamecock history. Jill Stockley (3-5) took the loss, allowing two unearned runs on five hits and a walk in five innings. She struck out three.
The 10th-inning double play fired up the Gamecocks, propelling them to the win.
The Huskies left 16 runners on base, while the Gamecocks stranded 11.
â€¢ Clark doubled twice in her 3-for-5 day, the only extra-base hits tallied in the game.
â€¢ Mack posted her first career four-hit day, scoring twice in the 4-for-5 effort.
â€¢ Three other Gamecocks reached twice: senior Alaynie Page (2 BBs) along with sophomore Krystan White (1 H, 1 BB) and Tiara Duffy (1 H, 1 HBP).
â€¢ Four other Gamecocks had hits
â€¢ Ambler went 2-for-3 for the Huskies, while Townsend and Alyssa Gardea both collected two walks.
â€¢ The three Gamecock errors are a season worst.
Tweet of the Game:
— Lexie deVries (@lexiestrex) March 6, 2016
South Carolina closes the Gamecock Invitational against Kennesaw State in the championship game at 3 p.m. EST. UConn and Michigan State will play twice starting at 10 a.m.