Childs Leads Gamecocks in 8-7 Comeback Win over Arkansas
Senior posts second career two-homer game as South Carolina comes from five runs back to capture the win
S.C. – South Carolina (18-7, 2-1 SEC) came from behind, led by two
homers from senior third baseman Evan Childs, to capture an 8-7 win
over Arkansas (17-6, 1-4 SEC) to take the series on Sunday afternoon in
front of 514 fans at Beckham Field.
Childs posted her second
two-homer day of her career, the final one a two-run shot coming in the
seventh to launch the Gamecocks to the victory. Senior centerfielder
Lauren Lackey started the seventh by legging out an infield single.
Westfall replaced Lackey on first after the Razorbacks threw out Lackey
on the sacrifice-bunt attempt. Childs stepped up and drove the first
pitch of the at bat well over the centerfield wall for a two-run blast
to end the contest.
“The big part of the seventh was getting
Lackey on base,” said Gamecock second-year head coach Beverly Smith.
“And there was nothing more clutch than Evan’s two-run walk-off homer.
That was awesome.”
Childs, Lackey and Westfall all had two hits
on the day, with Childs driving in four runs, Lackey two and Westfall
one. Westfall and Childs both scored twice, with Lackey crossing home
The Gamecocks started the second part of the comeback bid
in the fifth when Childs followed Westfall’s two-out hit with a homer
to left, making it 7-5. Freshman Olivia Lawrence stepped up in the
sixth with a huge pinch hit, scoring sophomore second baseman Dana
Hathorn after she started the frame with a double. Lawrence fought back
from a 0-2 count to make it even before putting a solid swing on the
hit to center. That set up Childs’ seventh-inning heroics.
Lawrence’s pinch-hit RBI was huge for us in the sixth,” added Smith.
“She came up with two outs and battled with two strikes to get the
huge, clutch hit off the bench.”
Arkansas took the initial 5-0
lead in the second with two down. Chloe Oprzedek hit a three-run homer,
scoring Maddie Reese and Tori Mort after a hit batsman and a walk,
respectively. The Razorbacks continued the attack, loading the bases on
Clarisa Navarro’s bunt hit, Devon Wallace’s intentional walk and Amanda
Geile’s free pass. Sierra Bronkey took a 2-2 pitch back up the middle
to score two and make it 5-0 Arkansas.
The Gamecocks chipped
away in the third with well-placed hits to left. Singles by junior
catcher Shelby Gonzales and senior first baseman Molly Brossart set up
junior shortstop Samie Garcia’s sacrifice bunt. Lackey drove in both
runs, scored by senior pinch runners Jackie Slawson and Sam Arbaugh,
with her double that eluded the Razorback leftfielder on her running
attempt at the catch. Westfall followed with another double to left
that glanced off the glove of the leftfielder when she tried to make a
running over-the-shoulder catch, plating Lackey in the process to make
it a 5-3 game.
The Razorbacks stretched the lead back to four in
the fourth. Navarro scored from third when a wild pitch on the fourth
ball to Geile gave her the chance. Bronkey drove one deep to center for
a sacrifice fly, allowing pinch runner Hope McLemore to score the
seventh Razorback run. Oprzedek and Bronkey both had three RBI on the
day, while Navarro went 3-for-4 with two runs scored.
junior pitcher Audrey Broyles (5-2) tossed 3.2 innings in relief
without allowing a run, scattering two hits and a walk while fanning
three in the win. Chelsea Cohen (10-5) took the loss for the
Razorbacks, giving up eight earned runs on 11 hits and a walk. She
struck out four.
“I’m proud of my team,” commented Smith. “We
talk about being relentless competitors all the time. You never want to
give up five runs early, but our team kept putting runners on and
putting pressure on Arkansas, and they never gave up. That’s what we
talk about a lot; if we keep the game close, we’ve always got a shot to
win, and Evan proved that today with her big home run.”
tied the Gamecock single-game record for the second time in her career
with a two-homer day. The second homer tied her for ninth on the
Gamecocks’ career list with 14. Her seventh and eight homers of the
year, Childs is tied for fifth on South Carolina’s single-season charts
South Carolina continues its stretch of 21 games in
23 days on Tuesday, as Mississippi State comes to Columbia for a 4:30