COLUMBIA, S.C. – Behind Hannah Milks’ 3-for-4 effort on Sunday, South Carolina (7-3) defeated Michigan State (7-3), 11-3 in six innings in the final game of the Homewood Suites/Hilton Garden Inn Florida Gulf Coast Tournament.
The sophomore rightfielder Milks had a double and an RBI in the contest as well, while junior leftfielder Kaitlin Westfall went 2-for-4 with an RBI. Junior first baseman Molly Brossart added a double and two RBI. Freshman Julie Sarratt added her first career home run while also getting the win in relief.
The Gamecocks got on the board in the third with Milks’ RBI double, which scored junior centerfielder Lauren Lackey from second. Three more runs came across in the fourth, with freshman second baseman Dana Hathorn plating junior pinch runner Jackie Slawson from second. Hathorn later scored when the Spartan second baseman committed an error on a grounder to her. Another Spartan error, this one coming on a throw down from the catcher, gave junior pinch runner Kylie Morin a run to make it 4-0.
The Spartans made things interesting in the fourth, as Lindsey Hansen started the inning with a home run. Back-to-back doubles by Jayme O’Bryant and Lauren Kramer chased South Carolina starter Audrey Broyles at 4-2, three outs shy of qualifying for the win. In came Sarratt, who saw the bases load around a foul out. Sarratt buckled down and got a strikeout of a pinch hitter to get to two outs. Jessica Bracamonte hit what looked to fall in for a hit, but Hathorn dashed back and made the catch with her arm fully extended with her back to the infield to end the inning.
Sarratt pushed the lead back to four with a two-run homer to left in the fifth. Five more Gamecock runs came across in the sixth to make it 11-2 for South Carolina. RBI singles from Garcia and Westfall bookended Brossart’s two-RBI double for the big hits of the inning. Garcia also scored on a throwing error by the Spartan shortstop as well.
Michigan State got back a run in the bottom of the sixth when Brett Williams hit a homer to left, but Sarratt got three fly outs to left to end the contest.
Sarratt (3-0) gave up one earned run on three hits while fanning three during her three innings of relief work. Broyles allowed the two earned runs on five hits and a walk while getting one strikeout in three-plus innings. Cassee Layne (3-2) took the loss for the Spartans, allowing four runs, one earned, on four hits and a walk in 3.1 innings. She struck out two.
Senior catcher P.J. Fulmer joined Sarratt, Hathorn, Milks and Lackey on the all-tournament team. The Gamecocks claimed the title with a 4-1 record in the event, breaking the tie with the win over Michigan State.