Gamecocks Come Through in Seventh, Down Virginia Tech 4-3
March 8, 2017
COLUMBIA, S.C. – The South Carolina Gamecocks (17-5) came through again in the seventh, coming from two down to take a 4-3 win over Virginia Tech (10-8) on Wednesday evening at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field.
Down 3-1, senior Taylor Williams came up with runners at first and second after senior Kaylea Snaer’s single to start the inning and sophomore Kennedy Clark’s walk. A wild pitch put both into scoring position and made the count 3-2, and Williams drove a ball deep enough to center to score Snaer from third. Two walks to senior Victoria Williams, who reached base in all four plate appearances, and junior pinch hitter Shannon Plese loaded the bases for junior centerfielder Tiara Duffy. She hit a hard grounder that went off the Hokie third baseman’s glove as she ranged far to her left, deflecting the ball into left center, which allowed both junior pinch runner Jordyn Augustus and Williams to score to give the Gamecocks the win.
Virginia Tech started the scoring in the fourth when Emma Strouth brought home Olivia Lattin after her one-out triple. The Gamecocks answered in the bottom half of the frame when junior Krystan White, with the bases loaded, laced one off Hokie starter Taylor Barnes, allowing Victoria Williams to score from third after she started the inning with a double.
The Hokies retook the lead in the fifth on a fielder’s choice, as Breanna Davenport’s grounder let Chelsea Whitcomb score from third. She singled to start the inning, stole second and took third on an errant throw behind her at second. Lauren Duff hit a solo home run in the sixth to stretch the advantage to 3-1.
South Carolina senior Jessica Elliott (7-2) picked up the win, as she struck out four in 6.2 innings of work, giving up two earned runs on three hits and four walks. Hokie reliever Carrie Eberle (4-3) took the loss, allowing three earned runs on four hits and three walks in 2.2 innings.
The Gamecocks showed composure in the final frame, drawing all three walks off Eberle in the seventh.
Williams posted a double as part of her 2-for-2, two-walk day.
Williams’ two walks moves her into a tie for 14th in Gamecock history with Laura Mendes (2008-11).
Mackenzie Boesel, the reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, continued her hot hitting with a 3-for-3 performance that included a walk.
Eight of the Gamecock starters reached base safely via hit or walk.
Four different Hokies collected their hits, while Lattin reached base three times, twice on a walk.
Quoting head coach Beverly Smith
I thought my team showed a lot of composure in the seventh inning. To be able to draw walks in those pressure moments showed that we’ve been there before. Shannon Plese coming off the bench for a pinch-hit walk was big, and Tiara Duffy coming up with the clutch hit, she just hit something hard and scored the runs for us. They were composed when they could have been pressing.
The Gamecocks start Southeastern Conference action at No. 14/13 Tennessee. Friday’s contest begins at 6 p.m. at Lee Softball Stadium on SEC Network + on Watch ESPN, while both Saturday’s and Sunday’s games have 1 p.m. first pitches to accommodate SEC Network telecasts.