Softballers bow at Carolina

Junior Stacey Johnson limited the Lady Vols to just three hits and the South Carolina offense scored nine runs in four at bats to coast to a 9-1 win on Tuesday afternoon in the first game of a doubleheader at Beckham Field in Columbia. The 13th-ranked Gamecocks (25-8/9-3 SEC) ended UT's seven-game winning streak and defeated the Orange and White for the seventh straight time. Ralph and Karen Weekly's squad fell to 31-13 overall and 4-6 in league action with the setback.

In the bottom of the first, Carolina would burst out of the gates with four straight hits off freshman Stacey Jennings (Aurora, Colo.) that translated into a 3-0 advantage. USC junior shortstop Amber Curtis ripped the first pitch of the inning into right field for a single and senior Jodi Fittro followed with a slap hit through the left side of the infield. Senior Debralee Troesh roped a base-hit up the middle to drive in Curtis with the opening run of the contest. Senior Danielle Quinones made it four hits in a row for the hosts when she doubled in both of her teammates. However, a heads-up throw by freshman catcher Kristi Durant (Placentia, Calif.) to classmate Mandie Fishback (Banks, Ore.) covering second resulted in Quinones being picked off.

The Lady Vols would load the bases in the second against Johnson but would come away empty-handed. With junior Angela Brewer (East Ridge, Tenn.) aboard with one out, Jennings punched a single for UT's initial hit. Although senior Blaine Teasley (Tucson, Ariz.) drew a two-out walk to fill the sacks, freshman Sarah Fekete (Maryville, Tenn.) would ground out to third base to halt the threat.

Jennings beaned junior Nancy Crane to start the second, ending her tenure in the circle for the time being. Freshman Christy Anch (Ashburn, Va.) came on and kept the Gamecocks off the board for the next two frames. However, the Garnet and Black reached the mercy rule with six runs on seven hits in the fourth to build a 9-0 advantage.

Tennessee averted the shutout in the fifth on a two-out single by Kristi Durant that increased her hitting streak to 11 games. Sarah Fekete had drawn a walk with two down and freshman Katherine Card laced a single into center to give Durant a runner in scoring position.

USC's top four hitters in the lineup combined to hit 8-for-12, as Curtis, Fittro, Troesh and Quinones were each 2-for-3. Jennings (17-8) allowed five hits and three runs in 1.1 innings, while Anch gave up six hits and six runs in 2.2 frames. Johnson (12-4) hurled her ninth complete game by fanning four, walking four and scattering three hits.

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