COLUMBIA, SC— Winthrop softball fell 4-2 at South Carolina in a non-conference midweek contest, Tuesday evening.
The Eagles fall to 22-20 overall as their winning streak ends at three games. South Carolina improves to 29-15 overall and has now won three in a row.
“It was a tune up for our next conference games,” said Winthrop head coach Mark Cooke. “It was a good softball game to be a part of. I was happy with how our players handled themselves and proud of how they composed themselves and competed against a good SEC squad.”
Senior Alex White connected for her first home run of 2014 as she hammered a shot to straight away center in the fourth inning that tied the game at 2-2. It was the 13th home run of her career.
The tie didn’t last long as a leadoff double in the fourth by Kristen Struett paid off for the Gamecocks as two batters later Chelsea Hawkins came through with a soft fly ball to right center that dropped right between three Eagle players giving chase as Struett scored on the play from second. The Gamecocks got an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth with two outs as Sarah Mooney hit a solo home run to left to make it 4-2.
South Carolina didn’t take long to respond to the Eagles taking the lead as it bounced back with two runs in the bottom of the second. Mooney reached first on a soft single in front of home plate and then was replaced by pinch-runner Brooke Barnhill, who then moved to second on a wild pitch. Hawkins walked to put runners at first and second when Codee Yeske doubled to right, scoring both base runners for a 2-1 lead. Sutton Watson came into the game at that point to get the Eagles out of the jam as the inning ended with a double play.
Winthrop grabbed the lead in the top of the second when Kelsey Ritter doubled with two outs and reached third on a muffed throw that allowed her to come all the way home for the 1-0 lead. Young moved third on the play and Paige Haley followed by walking to put runners at the corners with two outs for Sara Allen who popped out to the pitcher to end the inning.
In the fifth inning the Eagles looked like they were working on an opportunity to tie the game as Paige Haley led off with a single to left. Watson stepped in and tried to sacrifice Haley to second as her bunt was strong and sailed over the head of the third baseman and initially the call was made it hit her glove as the ball then rolled foul. That put runners at first and second with no outs, but after a protest from the South Carolina bench, the play was overturned and on the next play the Eagles hit into a double play.
Allen started the game but didn’t factor in the decision as she tossed 1.1 innings allowing two runs on two hits with two walks. Watson suffered the loss as she threw 4.2 innings of relief allowing two runs on four hits with no walks and a strikeout as she falls to 9-6 on the year.
Julie Sarratt earned the win in the pitching circle for the Gamecocks as she improved to 14-9 after allowing one earned run on five hits with a walk and five strikeouts.
Winthrop will jump back into Big South Conference action as it heads to Lynchburg, VA for a weekend series with Liberty that begins with a single game on Friday at 5:30 p.m. and the doubleheader on Saturday scheduled for 1 p.m.