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April 2, 2016

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COLUMBIA, S.C. – Gamecock junior Nickie Blue kept Troy (23-11) in check, only allowing one hit as South Carolina (26-9) picked up a 8-0 win in six innings at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field.

Blue (12-7) tossed her second career complete-game one-hitter, giving up two walks in her second shutout of the season, this coming against a Troy offense that entered the weekend ranked 17th in NCAA Division I in scoring. Gamecocks Krystan White and Taylor Williams both matched career bests with three-hit games, each going 3-for-4 with two RBI, with Williams hitting the two-run single that wrapped things in the sixth.

White put the Gamecocks on top 1-0 in the first with her two-out RBI single. Freshman right fielder Kennedy Clark doubled home the next Gamecock run in the third, and she scored on White’s double that hit off the Troy third baseman’s glove at the top of her jump to make it 3-0.

Freshman designated player Alexis Mack pushed the lead to 4-0 with her two-out single, scoring sophomore third baseman Kamryn Watts. South Carolina posted a four-run sixth to end the game early. Senior second baseman Lauren Masters started the scoring with her RBI single, and she scored on junior first baseman Kaylea Snaer’s single. Two more hits loaded the bases, setting up Williams for the game-winner.

Troy starter Claire Graves (5-2) took the loss, allowing four runs, three earned, on seven hits and two walks.

Game Changer:
Blue kept Troy’s offense from getting anything going, only allowing a two-out single in the first and two walks, one each in the second and fourth.

Key Stat:
South Carolina had the leadoff batter reach base in five of the six innings, two of those on Troy errors.

• With the complete game, Blue ties for 13th in Gamecock history, joining Kate Pouliot (2005-08) with 34 in her career.
• Seven different Gamecocks had hits, with six posting RBI and seven more scoring runs.
• Snaer’s third-inning double ties her with senior left fielder Alaynie Page and Shani Cannon in 17th in South Carolina’s career record book.
• That two-bagger for Snaer, her 16th of the year, ties her for eighth in a single season with five others.
• Watts scored twice and stole two bases, both career bests.
• Williams posted her first three-hit game of the season and matched her career high of three that came against LIU Brooklyn last season.
• White tied her three-hit day from earlier this year against Winthrop.
• Troy’s Hannah Day had the lone hit for the Trojans, while Amanda Winters and Ashley Rainey both drew walks.

Tweet of the Game:

Head coach Beverly Smith

That’s a tough Troy offense. Anytime we hold them to one hit and a shutout is an exciting one for Nickie and our defense. I thought everybody played really well. Nickie pitched particularly well and kept them off balance. We had the consistent pressure with the leadoff batters getting on base. We did a great job moving runners and getting those key clutch hits. Our team was really dialed in, and the offense was spread throughout the lineup. Taylor Williams had a particularly strong day for us at the plate and in her first start in left field.

Junior pitcher Nickie Blue
My drop was really working. I was really pounding the lower part of the zone, they weren’t swinging at it, and (the umpire) was calling it.

I think Taylor (Williams) did a great job in her first start in left field. She had one inning where three straight came to her, and she handled them all great. Hopefully that makes her more comfortable out there.

Up Next:
The two teams wrap up the brief two-game series on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field. Young fans wearing their Little League or Junior Gamecock Club t-shirts will receive $1 admission to the finale against the Trojans.