The Daily Gamecock

Softball swept by Kentucky at home in weekend series

	<p>Junior Dana Hathorn reached base in all four of her at-bats in Sunday’s 5-4 loss to the Wildcats. She was hit by a pitch once.</p>
Junior Dana Hathorn reached base in all four of her at-bats in Sunday’s 5-4 loss to the Wildcats. She was hit by a pitch once.

USC unable to complete late comeback in Sunday loss

South Carolina softball had a chance to close its series against Kentucky with a win Sunday afternoon after falling in its first two weekend games.

The Gamecocks (19-17, 1-11 SEC) jumped on the board with two runs in the first inning, but two errors late in the game led to two unearned runs, helping the Wildcats to a 4-3 win and a series sweep.

“What we’ve talked to the team about is that sometimes those are the differences in a ball game,” coach Beverly Smith said. “We’re playing at a very high level, and all the teams are good. Usually it comes down to one key play. They’re always critical.”

With USC leading 3-2 in the fifth inning, an error by third baseman Codee Yeske put Kentucky’s leadoff runner at second base. An RBI single later in the inning tied the game.

The Wildcats (27-10, 8-4) took the lead in the sixth after USC first baseman Kelley Dillon misplayed a bunt attempt. After another bunt, Kentucky scored its fourth run on a sacrifice fly.

South Carolina had chances to tie the game late, with leadoff hitters reaching base in the sixth and seventh. In the final inning, senior shortstop Samie Garcia doubled and advanced to third on a bunt.

Junior Dana Hathorn was hit by a pitch and stole second to give the Gamecocks runners on second and third with one out. But a pop-up and a foul-out ended the threat.

Hathorn reached base in all four at-bats Sunday after recording two hits in Saturday’s 9-4 loss. She has now been hit by a pitch a team-leading 13 times this season, which she attributes to her batting stance. She said she tends to crowd the plate because it’s harder for the opposing pitcher to hit the inside corner.

“If I get hit, I’m glad because that means I get on base and I’m helping the team,” Hathorn said. “I don’t think I’d like to move because that’s where I feel comfortable.”

Redshirt sophomore Julie Sarratt took the loss in both weekend games. As the starter Saturday, she gave up five runs, four earned, in four innings of work. She came on to pitch Sunday in the fourth inning with one runner on.

She gave up two hits to load the bases, but after working out of the jam with a key strikeout and a groundout, she finished the game without giving up an earned run.

Sarratt leads all Gamecock pitchers in ERA despite a 3-4 record.
Smith said the game plan was for redshirt senior starter Audrey Broyles to be pulled early in Sunday’s game because she pitched Friday as well.

“Julie comes in and really offers a change of speed for us,” Smith said. “It kept the Kentucky hitters off balance.”

As the Gamecocks prepare to host a double-header against Coastal Carolina Wednesday, Hathorn said one positive thing the team took from the sweep was never giving up.

“We have the mentality to just keep fighting, so I think if we can do that every single game and get even getter at doing that, we’ll come out of here with a win,” Hathorn said.