May 15, 2003
TUCSON -- Three-run home runs by Danielle Quinones and Meghan Cornett in the bottom of the seventh fueled a six-run rally and brought South Carolina back from a near-upset by seven-seeded Princeton in NCAA Region 1 softball action Thursday evening, 8-7.
Ivy League Player of the Year Melissa Finley hit a two-run homer for the Tigers in the top of the inning to stretch their lead to 7-2. Finley's RBI single in the top of the first inning gave Princeton (24-20-1) an early 1-0 lead.
South Carolina answered in the botton half of the frame as Jodi Fittro led off the inning with her fifth home run of the season. Following a walk and an error, the Gamecocks took a 2-1 lead on an RBI single by Amber Curtis.
Princeton came back with two runs of its own in the topof the second, taking advantage of a Gamecock error. With one out, Erin Snyder reached on an error when USC first baseman Meghan Cornett couldn't hang on to a throw from third base. Cristina Cobb-Adams followed with a single, and one out later Erin Valocsik drove Snyder home with an infield hit. Kristen Lueke capped the frame with an run-scoring single to right that plated Cobb-Adams.
In the third, the Tigers' Melissa Finley led off with a single and Kristin Del Calvo homered to make it 5-2.
An error, a double by Debralee Troesh and a walk by Danielle Quinones loaded the bases with one out for South Carolina in the bottom of the fifth, but Princeton pitcher Snyder got a pop-up and struck out Ashley Smith to end the threat.
South Carolina (39-18) rallied in the bottom of the seventh with five hits including the two homers.
USC Coach Joyce Compton:
"The early part of the game didn't go how we wanted it. We responded in the first with two runs but gave up two easy outs and could have been up 4-1. Our pitcher settled in and gave us a chance. We made one mistake that cost us a couple of runs, but we found a way to win it."
USC's Meghan Cornett
"It was really exciting to come back. I was able to contribute three runs, but the rest of the team had to contribute theirs as well. I think it was huge that we stayed up at the end, cheering just like in the beginning."
Princeton Coach Maureen Davis Baron
"It was a good ball game, but we made some mistakes. We were disappointed with the loss. We played a good game but South Carolina won it at the end."
Princeton's Melissa Finley
"Great teams know how to win. South Carolina did that. We played well in the first through six innings, we just needed that seventh inning (defense)."