Softball Wins Big! - Baseball Set For UGA Weekend

<IMG SRC= ALIGN=right HEIGHT=85 WIDTH=100>Tucson, Ariz. - The South Carolina Gamecocks (39-18) rallied to score six runs in the bottom of the seventh to shock the Princeton Tigers (24-20-1) in an 8-7 win at the NCAA Championship regional in Tucson Thursday evening ...

Down 7-2 going into the bottom of the seventh, Danielle Quinones and Meghan Cornett each hit three-run home runs to drive in the six runs. Reliever Aleca Johnson (6-4) recorded the win for Carolina while Ivy League Rookie of the Year Erin Snyder (13-9) took the loss for the Tigers.

After giving up two runs on zero outs in the third, Johnson then settled down and retired the next 12 Tigers batters. Princeton did not record another hit until the seventh inning when Kristin Lueke singled to reach base and Ivy League player of the year Melissa Finley homered to add two more runs for the Tigers, making the score 7-2.

Carolina began the battle from the top of the half inning as Jodi Fittro (2-for-4) extended her hitting streak to 11 games, led off with a double. Nancy Crane followed with a single and Debralee Troesh reached on a fielder's choice as Princeton tagged out Fittro at third. With two runners on and one out, Quinones then recorded her only hit of the game, a home run to left centerfield. Quinones home run was the 36th of the season for the Gamecocks, breaking the school record, and brought USC to within two. Following the home run, Tucson native Amber Curtis reached base on an error by Lueke and Ashley Smith singled to centerfield to give USC runners at first and second. After Kristin Hall came in to pinch run for Smith, Cornett then stepped to the plate to hit a walk-off three-run shot to right field, giving Carolina the 8-7 come back win.

Princeton had a 1-0 lead in the first inning when Fittro hit a solo shot to left field, her fifth of the season, to tie the game 1-1. The home run was Carolina's 35th of the year, tying the school record for most home runs in a single season, which was set last year. The Gamecocks took a 2-1 lead on an RBI-single by Curtis, who drove in Troesh.

The Tigers scored two in the second, before starter Melanie Henkes was replaced by Johnson. Princeton had a 3-2 lead with two outs and runners at first and second when Johnson entered the game. Carolina got out of the inning safely as Curtis made a heads up defensive catch to throw out the Tigers' Wendy Bingham.

Princeton extended its lead to three in the third inning as Kristin DelCalvo hit a two-run homer to right centerfield for a 5-3 lead. In that inning, Carolina gave up two hits, including the home run, and a walk before they recorded their first out. Johnson eventually retired the 7-8-9 batters including two strikeouts to get out of the inning.

Carolina recorded its first 1-2-3 inning in the fourth as the Tigers popped up twice and Johnson struck out Melissa Finley looking. Prior to the fourth, Princeton had scored a run in each inning.

The Gamecocks now advance to game of the NCAA Championships and will play Texas A&M at 2 p.m. on Friday.

South Carolina Baseball Hosts Georgia This Weekend

Gamecocks Look To Clinch Sole Possession Of First Place In SEC East

Columbia, S.C. - The South Carolina baseball team completes the 2003 regular season this weekend with a three-game series at Sarge Frye Field vs. Georgia. With a 35-18 overall record and a 16-11 mark in the SEC, Carolina is looking to clinch sole possession of first place in the SEC Eastern Division. One South Carolina win or one Tennessee loss will clinch the Gamecocks' fourth SEC Eastern Division title in five years. The champions of the two divisions automatically receive the first two seeds at next week's SEC Tournament in Birmingham, Ala. Georgia heads into the weekend series with a 29-23 record overall and 10-17 mark in the SEC.

Carolina senior LHP Steven Bondurant (4-3, 3.80 ERA) will make his 13th start of the season on Friday night with Bulldog freshman Michael Hyle (6-0, 3.58 ERA) taking the hill for Georgia. Friday's first pitch is set for 7 p.m. with the game being televised on CSS. Saturday's game is set for 4 p.m. with the final game of the series on Sunday scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Junior LHP David Marchbanks (11-2, 2.39 ERA) gets the start for Carolina on Saturday with Sunday's starter to be announced. Georgia's starting pitchers on Saturday and Sunday are also to be announced.

The Gamecocks have won six consecutive SEC games played and 15 of the last 20 overall games. After a 1-5 start in conference play, South Carolina is 15-6 in 21 games of its last seven SEC series. Carolina also leads the overall series with Georgia 39-34 including nine of the last 11 contests between the two teams. South Carolina swept Georgia last year in Athens to win Carolina's second SEC championship. This is the first meeting in Columbia between the two schools since the 2000 season when USC swept Georgia in a three-game series.

South Carolina will pay tribute to nine graduating seniors in a home plate ceremony before the Saturday game with Georgia. The seniors will be playing in their final regular season home series. In case of rain, the ceremony will be shifted to Sunday's game. Seniors to be recognized include pitcher Rico Bravo, first baseman/designated hitter Demetric Smith, designated hitter/outfielder Matt Riddle, outfielder Tim Seaton, pitcher Chris Hernandez, outfielder Jon Coutlangus, shortstop Justin Harris, pitcher and captain Steven Bondurant and third baseman and captain Brian Buscher.

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