The Gamecocks broke out the brooms while breaking in the newly renovated University Field by sweeping Alabama A&M in a double header last Wednesday.
In game one, the Bulldogs scored first. In the top of the first, Brianna Zeigler scored on a single to left field by Anisa Britt. That was the last run the Bulldogs would score on the day. AAMU led 1-0.
The Gamecocks broke into the scoring column in the bottom of the third inning thanks to base hits by Cadi Oliver and Sara Borders. Krystal Ruth lined out to center field scoring Borders on the play. JSU led 3-1.
JSU hung another three runs on the Bulldogs in the bottom of the fourth inning. Savannah Sloan scored on a passed ball. Hayden Crawford scored on a sacrifice fly to left field. Cadi Oliver scored after advancing on an illegal pitch. JSU led 6-1.
JSU put up another three spot in the bottom of the fifth inning. Casey Craig scored on a throwing error. Savannah Sloan scored on a wild pitch. The final run invoked the mercy rule. Hayden Crawford scored on a double by Sara Borders. JSU won 9-1.
Game 2 began the same way Game 1 ended.
JSU took control early with a six run first. The Gamecocks put up three runs in the bottom of the third and fourth inning.
The mercy rule took effect when Sitembli Lee grounded out to shortstop in the top of the fifth. JSU won 12-0.
Head Coach Jana McGinnis reflected on playing in a brand new stadium after the game. “It was a special day because of that,” she said. “You always want to get your first win.”
She was glad to see her team “settle in” and “play some pretty solid softball.”
McGinnis took a moment to acknowledge their opponent’s struggles.
“It’s the first game for them. I’m sure 15-games into the season they’re going to be a much better team. They struggled a bit with their pitching and walks; we took advantage of it and I’m proud of our girls for that.”
Lost in the offensive outburst by JSU are the pitching performances.
After suffering an arm injury early in 2012, senior Hilary Phillips made her season debut. She pitched for only two thirds of an inning before being relieved by junior Tiffany Harbin. Phillips allowed one earned run. Harbin pitched for four and a third innings while giving up one hit, no runs, two walks and eight strikeouts.
Harbin returned to start Game 2. She pitched three innings while giving up two hits, no runs, no walks and three strikeouts.
Casey Akenberger took over in the fourth. She gave up one hit, no runs, no walks and no strikeouts.
“We’re continuously working,” said McGinnis. “We’re not satisfied.”