South Carolina sophomore Stacey Johnson and Lady Vol junior Stephanie Humphrey locked up in a stirring pitching duel in Tuesday afternoon's nightcap at Tyson Park. Scoreless into the ninth, the Gamecocks would erupt for eight runs on six hits to complete an 8-2 victory and take the first two games of the series. USC (25-11) moved into first place in the Eastern Division with a 6-5 record, while Tennessee dropped to 31-16-1 overall and 6-9 in the SEC with its third straight defeat.
Sophomore Samantha Jennings smacked a leadoff double in the ninth before junior Danielle Quinones' fielder's choice left runners on the corners for the visitors. A sacrifice fly by junior Jodi Fittro to left brought home Jennings with the first run of the contest and Quinones took second on the relay throw. Junior Kim Evans followed with a triple to left field to plate Quinones and sophomore Amber Curtis' RBI single drove in Evans and chased Humphrey from the game with a 3-0 score.
Junior Debralee Troesh greeted Lady Vol junior reliever Carissa Roustan with a double down the left field line and sophomore Melissa Sandel then jacked a three-run homer to center field to balloon the margin to 6-0. Freshman Meghan Cornett reached on an infield error and senior Adrianna Baggetta followed with a two-run blast to increase the margin to 8-0 for head coach Joyce Compton's charges.
Tennessee answered with a pair of runs in its last at bat on RBI singles by senior Adrianna Wilson and freshman Amber Rhinehart but Johnson was able to prevent further scoring in notching an 8-2 complete-game effort. The Newton, Pa., native allowed nine hits and struck out six in improving her record to 8-5. Humphrey (21-11) was on the hook for her second loss of the day after giving up 12 hits and four runs with six K in her 8.1 innings. Roustan was tagged for four runs on three hits before senior Nicole Borg stopped the bleeding in the ninth by setting down the two batters she faced.