A complete game from redshirt sophomore Julie Sarratt and two big offensive innings sent South Carolina (32-22) to the SEC Tournament quarterfinals, as the Gamecocks defeated host Kentucky 6-3 overnight Wednesday and into early Thursday morning to close the first round at John Cropp Stadium.
A four-run third, led by RBI singles from senior shortstop Samie Garcia, freshman left fielder Alaynie Page and sophomore centerfielder Kristen Struett, put the Gamecocks on top for good.
In the sixth, junior right fielder Chelsea Hawkins had a two-run homer to left, sending the 3-2 pitch over the wall in left to make it 6-1.
Sarratt (11-7) pitched masterfully for the first six innings, giving up one unearned run in the complete-game win.
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The Gamecocks got its first postseason win since the 2007 regional at Beckham Field and its first SEC Tournament win since 2003.
South Carolina advances to face second-seed Tennessee at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday. The game will be televised live on ESPN.