Gamecocks End Redhawks Season with 6-4 Win
May 14, 2005
JACKSONVILLE, Ala. - (Friday, May 13, 2005) The Redhawks run for the 2005 O'Reilly Auto Parts Ohio Valley Conference Softball Championship came to an end in the semifinal game as the dropped a highly contested 6-4 game to host and No. 1 seed Jacksonville State Saturday morning at University Field in Jacksonville, Alabama this afternoon.
The Redhawks (27-28) played with heart and determination up to their last out of the game but unfortunately came up short to the OVC's regular season champion Gamecocks (42-15).
Using their momentum from their last two OVC tournament games the Redhawks jumped on the 2005 OVC Pitcher of the Year Carly Kellam early and knocked her out of the game in the second inning.
In the top of the first senior Kelly Birk (Huntington Beach, CA/Edison HS) took Kellam out of the park for a solo homerun for a quick 1-0 lead. The homerun by Birk was her second of the tournament and seventh of the season.
The following inning the Redhawks again struck with the long ball as second baseman Charlene Ramirez (Walnut, CA/Mt. San Antonio CC) hit a solo shot to give the Redhawks a 2-0 advantage after two innings.
Senior Amy Fahnestock (Ste. Genevieve, MO/Wabash CC) mowed through the potent Gamecocks lineup the first three innings but ran into trouble in the fourth. After giving up a lead-off walk and a single she was pulled in favor for Stephanie Huffman (Valmayer, IL/Forest Park CC). Huffman gave up two runs as the Gamecocks used two bases loaded walks to score their two runs and to knot the game at two runs apiece.
In the fifth the Gamecocks bats came alive as they became the first OVC team to figure out freshman pitcher Elaine Fisher (St. Peters, MO/Francis Howell North). 1st Team All-OVC outfielder Daniela Pappano led-off with a single bringing the 2005 OVC Player of the Year Maigin Alexander to the plate. Alexander homered to right field to score two.
Fisher wasn't out the inning yet as 2nd Team All-OVC outfielder Breanne Oleman singled and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt. Catcher Alana Hicks then homered for another two-run homer for the 6-2 lead.
The Redhawks had their chances to score before the Gamecocks four-run fifth inning. In the fourth the Redhawks had the bases loaded with no outs but Christine Pierce kept the Redhawks at bay retiring the next three batters.
In the seventh the Redhawks made it interesting as they attempted a valiant comeback. Michelle Summers (Glendale, CA/Hoover) walked to lead-off. Victoria Torrez (Garden Grove, CA/Cypress CC) followed with a single. Birk collected her third hit of the game as she singled to give the Redhawks bases loaded with no outs. OVC Freshman of the Year Megan McDonald (Cape Girardeau, MO/Cape Central) reached on a fielders choice but the Redhawks were unable to score on the groundout. Lindsay Pickering (St. Charles, MO/St. Charles West HS) then singled to plate Summers and keep the bases loaded. Ramirez plated Birk on a RBI ground out. With the tying runs on second and third with two outs Pierce struckout pinchhitter Callie Brittan (Valley Park, MO/St. Charles CC) to end the game.
The win propels the Gamecocks to the OVC Championship game to face No. 2 seed Tennessee Tech.
Pierce (13-7) picked up the win for the Gamecocks while Fisher (8-6) was collared with the loss.
Birk ended her career with a 3-4 day at the plate. She scored two runs and drove in one. For the tournament she batted .600 with two homeruns, four RBI, four runs and a 1.067 slugging percentage.
Birk ends her career ranked in the club's all-time top-ten in eight offensive career categories. She finishes one double short of career record with 39 doubles. She finished tied for third with 11 career homeruns and 59 walks.
Birk also made an appearance in the circle as she pitched one inning of relief to give her 93 career appearances which ranks fifth all-time.
Fellow senior Torrez went 2-4 and batted .429 in the tournament.
Birk, Torrez and Pickering were each named to the OVC's All Tournament team. For Pickering it is the second-straight season she has been named to the All-Tournament team.
GAME NOTES: In the tournament the Redhawks recorded a fielding percentage of .993, committing only one error in 138 chances...The Redhawks end the season with 27 wins, the most wins since the 2000 season...Fishers streak of not allowing a walk was snapped at 43 innings...Fahnestock finishes her two-year Redhawks career ranking in the top-ten in five career pitching categories, she ranks in the top-ten in four single season records...Summers 47 runs scored this season ranks second on the single season charts...The team ends the season with 38 homeruns, setting a new team record...Birk finished with 28 walks this season, second on the club's single season charts...Torrez ends her career with 15 hit by pitches, second on the career charts...Head Coach Lana Richmond finishes the season with 694 career wins