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Blue Shuts Out No. 24/24 USF 2-0 to Open Tallahassee Regional
Softball  . 

Blue Shuts Out No. 24/24 USF 2-0 to Open Tallahassee Regional

May 20, 2016

Box Score | Photo Gallery media-icon-photogallery.gif

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Behind junior Nickie Blue’s controlling performance, South Carolina (37-21) shut out No. 24/24 USF 2-0 on Friday afternoon to start the 2016 NCAA Division I Softball Tournament.

Blue (19-12) scattered eight hits in her fourth shutout of the year. She contributed two double plays to her own cause while not walking a Bull.

South Carolina wasted little time getting on the board in the first. Senior left fielder Alaynie Page started the game with a single and stole second, setting up freshman centerfielder Kennedy Clark’s RBI double.

Insurance came in the sixth for the Gamecocks, as both sophomore second baseman Krystan White and senior right fielder Ansley Ard drew walks to start the frame. After an out, the duo both advanced 60 feet on a passed ball, with White scoring on freshman shortstop Kenzi Maguire’s grounder to second to make it 2-0.

USF starter Erica Nunn (27-11) took the loss, giving up two runs, one earned, on three hits and five walks.

Game Changer:
Blue’s double play in the sixth stopped USF’s best scoring opportunity, as it stranded a runner at third.

Key Stat:
For the first time this year, the Gamecock defense turned three double plays, two started by Blue on liners back to her.

• The freshmen starters Clark and Maguire both had RBI, Clark with a double.
• White walked twice, tying her career best.
• Ard reached twice on a walk and a hit-by-pitch.
• Two Bulls went 3-for-3, Astin Donovan adding a double while Lauren Evans had three singles.
• Cassidy Boyle posted a pair of doubles in her 2-for-3 day.
• Blue’s blanking of the Bulls ties her for 11th in Gamecock history with two others with 12 in her career.
• The complete game also makes Blue the fourth Gamecock pitcher to tally consecutive 200-inning seasons, last done by Megan Matthews in all four of her years. • Blue became the first Gamecock pitcher this season to toss a complete game without issuing a walk and is the first SC student to do that since Julie Sarratt did the same to Dartmouth on May 16, 2015 in an elimination game in last year’s Tallahassee Regional.

Tweet of the Game:

Head coach Beverly Smith

“I am really proud of the way we played defense. Nickie Blue did her part on the mound for us and shut them out, but the defense played fantastic behind her. It’s a great team win.”

Senior Alaynie Page
On reaching base as the lead-off batter to start the game:
“I want to be the spark for our team, so any chance that I get to get on (base) and then advance so I can get in position to score is always a plus for us.”

Junior Nickie Blue
On her performance in the circle today:
“It is all about keeping them off balance. I think that is where the communication between Coach Bev and I really comes into play. And I think the communication between her and I, and the communication between me and the defense was very good today.”

Up Next:
South Carolina faces the winner of the No. 7/7 Florida State/Florida A&M at 12 noon on Saturday.