May 17, 2003
TUCSON--Texas A&M battled in what amounted to the second game of a doubleheader for the Aggies and beat South Carolina, 6-3, to put itself in the NCAA Region 1 softball championship round Sunday. The Gamecocks were eliminated at 41-20 overall and 2-2 in NCAA play.
A&M junior Lindsay Wilhelmson (18-7) pitched a three-hitter but was hurt by some fielding mistakes behind her.
The Aggies dropped a tough 3-0 decision to host Arizona in the preceding game, and had to turn around and face South Carolina in do-or-die.
Texas A&M (38-21) struck for four runs in the top of the fourth. Rocky Spencer singled and an out later scored on a double by Jana James, who moved to third on a bad throw to the plate. Crystal Martin singled to drive in James, then Lindsay Wilhelmson doubled to make it 3-0. Jennifer Davis hit an RBI single to drive in Wilhelmson..
The Gamecocks cut it to 4-2 with a couple of unearned runs in the bottom of the sixth, sending six batters to the plate without a hit or a walk, helped by two A&M errors. Debralee Troesh drove in a run with a fielder's choice and Jodi Fittro crossed the bag on a passed ball.
The Aggies punctuated the game with a seventh-inning, two-out rally highlighted by Jana James two-run triple to make the score 6-2.
USC's Ashley Smith singled in the seventh to start a rally with one out. Pinch runner Samantha Jennings scored on Meghan Cornett's double to the gap in right, and Cornett moved to third on a bad relay throw to the plate.
A&M will meet Arizona at 12 noon Sunday and will have to beat the Wildcats twice to earn the region's berth in the Women's College World Series next week in Oklahoma City.
A&M Coach Jo Evans:
"It's been a long day. It feels like I've been here forever. It was a nice win. I thought we were a little flat after an emotional game against Arizona. It was nice to see our ladies put some hits together and score some runs.
A&M Pitcher Wilhemlson:
"We had a slow start, but we knew we had to win. There was no other option."
USC Coach Joyce Compton:
"I thought we did a nice job. They had to get out of the game with a great play by the second baseman (for third out in seventh). They did what they had to do, which is hit and score runs early. And we could not answer quickly enough."