Gamecocks Clinch Series vs. LSU, Win Saturday 4-3
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COLUMBIA, S.C. (USC SID) – For the second-straight night, South Carolina’s honored seniors produced to help the Gamecocks (32-21, 8-14 SEC) claim a 4-3 win over No. 18/19 LSU (37-17, 11-12 SEC) on Saturday at Carolina Softball Stadium at Beckham Field.
After LSU took a 1-0 lead on Amanda Doyle’s RBI double in the first, the Gamecocks came back to stake a lead that they would not relinquish. Junior centerfielder Tiara Duffy started South Carolina’s offensive first with a six-pitch walk, and senior first baseman Kaylea Snaer smacked a double to left center to score Duffy and tie the game at 1-1. Three batters later, freshman second baseman Mackenzie Boesel lined a ball off LSU starter Sydney Smith (10-6), allowing Snaer to score.
Senior designated player Macey Webb helped the Gamecocks add to their 2-1 lead in the third. She singled to start the rally and took third after a misplay by the Tigers’ right fielder. Junior shortstop Krystan White followed with a single through the left side, making it 3-1. South Carolina loaded the bases with one down and called upon junior Kennedy Clark to pinch hit. She sent a fly ball deep enough to center to score White and make it a 4-1 Gamecock lead.
LSU fought back in the fourth after scoring a pair of unearned runs on a Gamecock error on a ground ball and a sacrifice fly by Constance Quinn, closing the gap to 4-3. Gamecock senior starter Nickie Blue (10-9), however, kept the Tigers in check from there, stranding two LSU runners in the fifth and one in the seventh to post a complete-game win.
Smith, who came out of the game due to the Boesel hit, took the loss, allowing two earned runs on two hits and two walks in two-thirds of an inning.
The Gamecock offense responded immediately to LSU’s run in the first, taking the lead that it would not give up.
Blue produced 12 ground-ball outs and scattered five hits and two walks, one of those an intentional free pass, in the complete-game win.
– Webb, in her second career start, went 1-for-2 with a walk.
– Blue, with the start, ties a pair of former Gamecocks in sixth with 96 career starts.
– Boesel went 2-for-2 with the RBI single and a double, while Snaer added an RBI double.
– LSU had five different players notch hits, led by Doyle’s double and Bailey Landry’s single.
– Sahvanna Jaquish scored two of LSU’s runs, going 1-for-1 with two walks, one of those coming intentionally.
– South Carolina wins its first series over LSU since 2005.
– It’s the second time in three years Beverly Smith’s Gamecocks have taken two series over ranked teams, also winning a pair in 2015 (vs. No. 9 Tennessee, at No. 14 Kentucky).
– Prior to the game, Snaer and Webb were honored on day two of Senior Weekend.
Quoting head coach Beverly Smith
What an exciting game that was. From start to finish, our team was in it. I loved the excitement in our dugout; I think it ignited our fans. This is a game that you wanted to play at home. Our fans really helped us get that last out of the game. It was an exciting game to be a part of. I thought Kennedy Clark getting that sacrifice fly in a pinch-hit situation was just a demonstration that it was an entire team effort today.
On Nickie Blue’s performance:
When Nickie’s pitching, our team has a tremendous amount of confidence. She did what she always does. She gave us a great outing, a lot of ground-ball outs and an opportunity to win the ball game. She was strong for all seven innings tonight.
On Snaer and Webb’s on their Senior Night:
I love Senior Weekend! I’m so happy for Macey Webb. She took advantage of the opportunity she had today. She’ll remember that hit today forever. She was the spark for us today. And Kaylea, on her Senior Day, she’s really done it for us for four years. I keep reminding her to keep doing her thing and be herself. It was a special day to recognize them both, and I’m thrilled they both could have big games.
The Gamecocks and Tigers end the regular season at 12 noon on Sunday. The SEC Network will televise the finale.