COLUMBIA, S.C. South Carolina scored 5-0 and 4-1 victories over Coastal Carolina in doubleheader softball action at Beckham Field.
In the opener, South Carolina (38-16) scored all of its runs in the sixth inning on just two hits. With one out, the Gamecocks loaded the bases on back-to-back walks and an infield single. Nancy Crane scored the first run off the inning when she advanced from third on a walk to pinchhitter Tia Rogers. The next four runs scored ona fielder's choice, a hit batter, an infield single and a groundout.
The sixth inning outburst by South Carolina ended a great performance CCU pitcher Stephanie Belden. The senior righthander allowed just two hits over the first five inning of shutout work. Belden (12-5) worked 5.1 innings, allowing all four runs on four hits and four walks while striking out four. Stacey Johnson picked up the win for South Carolina with 2.0 innings of relief, allowing two hits and striking out one. USC starter Megan Matthews struck out nine through five innings, but allowed four hits and four walks before being removed.
The Lady Chanticleers (27-18) had many chances in game one to take a commanding lead, but left 10 runners on base. After leaving at least one runner on in each of the first four innings, Coastal loaded the bases with two outs in the fifth inning. Karlye Fortune grounded out to the shortstop to end the inning and the scoring threat. CCU outhit South Carolina 6-5.
Adrianna Bagetta collected a pair of hits to lead the South Carolina offense, while Kimberly Josephson (2-for-4) and Danielle Jenkins (2-for-3) to pace the Lady Chanticleers.
Coastal Carolina took a 1-0 lead in game two in the top of the fourth inning, scoring on a pair of walks and errors and a catcher's interference.
The lead was short-lived as Bagetta quickly tied the game with a leadoff homer in the bottom of the same inning. Debralee Troesh followed with a walk on four straight pitches before Meghan Cornett and Tia Rogers connected on back-to-back homeruns to open a 4-1 advantage.
After earning the win in relief in the opener, Stacey Johnson (12-8) combined with Aleca Johnson for a no-hitter. Stacey Johnson earned her second victory on the day as she walked one and struck out three in five innings. Aleca Johnson pitched the final two innings to earn her sixth save of the season.
Morgan Tolleson (1-5) took the loss for Coastal Carolina, allowing four earned runs, four hits and two walks in three innings of work. Lauren Yates allowed just one hit and struck out four in hurling the final three innings.
The doubleheader with South Carolina completes the regular season for Coastal Carolina. The Lady Chanticleers will begin play as the #1 seed at the Big South Conference Tournament in Rock Hill, South Carolina, beginning Friday, May 10, at 7:00 p.m.