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May 7, 2016


Box Score

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Behind a dominant two-hit performance from junior Nickie Blue, South Carolina (35-19, 7-16 SEC) claimed a 3-1 win on Saturday afternoon at No. 16/14 Missouri (38-13, 13-10 SEC).

Blue (17-12) gave one earned run on two hits and a walk while striking out four in her 55th career win, which ties her for eighth all-time at South Carolina. She retired 14 straight after the run scored in the second, giving up a two-out hit to Amanda Sanchez in the seventh to break up the stretch.

The Gamecocks gave Blue all the support she needed in the first, loading the bases with one down on two walks to freshman Kennedy Clark and sophomore Krystan White around a hit-by-pitch to junior Kaylea Snaer. The Tigers changed pitchers, bringing on Danielle Baumgartner, and senior Ansley Ard greeted her with a single through the right side, bringing home two runs. With runners at the corners, South Carolina executed the double steal, Ard taking second and White stealing home to push the lead to 3-0.

Missouri posted its lone run in the bottom of the second on a first-and-third double-steal try. The runner at first, Rylee Pierce, purposefully got caught in a rundown, letting Kirsten Mack score after she reached on a two-out walk and moved to third on Pierce’s single.

Tiger starter Tori Finucane (0-3) took the loss, allowing all three runs in a third of an inning on the two walks and one hit-by-pitch. Baumgartner went the other 6.2 innings, giving up three hits and a walk while fanning seven.

Game Changer:
Blue’s economical approach stifled the Tigers’ offense, as she needed only 82 pitches in the complete-game win.

Key Stat:
Ard went 2-for-3 with two RBI, leading South Carolina’s offense.

• Clark, White and senior Jordan Bizzell all drew walks, while sophomore Kamryn Watts had the third Gamecock hit.
• With the start, Blue tied Jana Zimmerman (1990-92) for 11th in South Carolina history, while the win tied her with former teammate Julie Sarratt (2011-15) for eighth in career wins with 55.

Tweet of the Game:

Head coach Beverly Smith

It was an exciting day for the Gamecocks. First of all, we took advantage of a first-inning Ansley Ard single. I’m happy for her getting another game-winning hit for us. That got us started on the right foot, and Nickie (Blue) took over from there. Nickie threw a two-hitter against one of the best offenses in the conference. That tells you she can pitch against anybody in the country.

Up Next:
South Carolina and Missouri conclude the series on Sunday, with first pitch set for 1:30 p.m. EDT. The game will be a part of the SEC Network’s Bases Loaded whiparound coverage of the final day of the regular season.