Plese's Seventh-Inning Double Hands Gamecocks a 1-0 Win vs. Winthrop
Feb. 28, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. -- Gamecock junior Shannon Plese came through with a pinch-hit double with two outs in the seventh to lead South Carolina (14-2) to a 1-0 win in Tuesday's nightcap against Winthrop (9-7) at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field.
In her sixth at-bat in the Garnet and Black, Plese worked her way into a hitter's count, 3-1, and drove the offering to the base of the center-field wall, scoring junior pinch runner Tiara Duffy to end the pitchers' duel. Duffy ran for senior Victoria Williams, who started the frame with a double. Duffy moved into scoring position on sophomore Lex Hull's sacrifice bunt.
The late-inning heroics from Plese broke a stalemate between the two offenses, both of which managed two hits in the game before the Gamecock seventh. Neither team advanced a runner past second base until the game-winning run scored.
Gamecock senior Nickie Blue (7-0) picked up the win with two perfect innings of relief, striking out two. She came in for freshman Cayla Drotar, who twirled five shutout innings against the Eagles, scattering two hits and three walks while fanning two herself.
Winthrop's Keleigh Romine (2-2) took the loss, giving up the one earned run on four hits and two walks in 6.2 innings.
Plese's double ended the pitchers' dominance in the game.
Plese and junior Krystan White both doubled in the game, while Brooke Ellison added one for Winthrop.
The win marks the eighth shutout of the year for the Gamecocks, exactly half of the team's 16 games played thus far.
TWEET OF THE GAME
Just the 🐐 throwing out the first pitch today! Well done @GamecockSoftbll on the wins! Thanks for the hospitality today! #gamecockfamily pic.twitter.com/lKSWXexKg3
-- Coach Clark McCarthy (@mccarthy_coach) March 1, 2017
Quoting head coach Beverly Smith
I was proud we were able to pull that one out. Victoria Williams led us off with a hit. Lex Hull did a nice job putting down the sac bunt. And Plese gave us what we needed all night, which was a clutch at-bat. She gave us a big boost tonight.
On her pitcher's performances in the doubleheader:
Jake had great command in game one, throwing a no-hitter. And Drotar threw a nice five, and the great thing is you can bring in a veteran to close the game for her. I thought Cayla and Nickie combined for a nice complete game.
The Gamecocks head to the Judi Garman Classic in Fullerton, Calif., where they face two Big Ten teams first in Northwestern (Fri., 8:30 PM EST) and Indiana (Sat., 1 PM). South Carolina faces its first ranked foes of the year as well, taking on Pac-12 members No. 20/20 Arizona State (Sat., 6 PM) and No. 7/8 UCLA (Sun., 2:30 PM) before closing the trip against Long Beach State (Sun., 5 PM).