Sellers, a freshman designated player, drove a three-run homer in the first inning of the Gamecocks' opener with Morehead State that caught the protective netting on the $70,000 board just below the "JSU" line on the inning-by-inning read out.
The blast sent the Gamecocks to an 8-0 five-inning victory. The Eagles avoided the sweep by taking the nightcap 3-2, handing JSU only its second Ohio Valley Conference loss of the season and snapping its 14-game OVC win streak.
Before the first pitch, the Gamecocks dedicated the new scoreboard, which replaced the bare-bones model that had been in left field since the soccer program used the former outfield of the old JSU baseball field. The ceremony was attended by JSU administrators, politicians and dignitaries, with the family of Tera Ross cutting the ribbon. The scoreboard, paid for by private donations, will serve as a permanent memorial to the former JSU pitcher, who was killed in a car accident in December 2003 before her senior season.
Sellers was JSU's fifth batter of the opener. Her drive to left field came after Chrissy O'Neal led off with a double and Courtney Underwood worked Morehead starter Sarah Funston for a 10-pitch, two out walk.
"It was one of the most exhilarating experiences … because it was special … to be the first one," Sellers said. "Before the game, actually Mel (pitcher Melissa Dowling) said, 'Meredith's going to be the first one to hit it over' and the first at-bat I knew I was going to do it.
"I wasn't really looking at it. I was just running. I saw that it kind of hit the side of the net and I didn't know if it hit the net and caught the side of it or actually hit the scoreboard. Pretty cool."
Dowling wasn't the only JSU player who thought the Shelby County product would be the first to hit the scoreboard.
"We had actually taken bets within the team before the game and we all bet on her being the first one to hit the scoreboard," Gamecocks first baseman Nikki Prier said. "Because that's where she always hits her home runs — right there. The same spot."
"Thank goodness for that net, right," JSU coach Jana McGinnis said. "That's what it's there for. Hopefully, we'll be hitting a lot out in that direction."
Sellers put the Gamecocks ahead in the opener, and they won it with a five-run fifth. Hillary Downs hit her sixth homer in the past 11 games to get it started. Prier, the leading candidate for OVC Player of the Year, belted a two-run homer. Allison Svoboda had an RBI double and Mary Beth Ledbetter ended it by drawing a bases-loaded walk-off walk.
Karla Pittman picked up the win, improving to 15-1, allowing two hits in five innings. She is 10-0 with a 0.47 ERA in 11 OVC appearances this year and McGinnis hinted the senior right-hander could pitch every game for the Gamecocks in next week's conference tournament and beyond.
The Gamecocks (37-11, 18-2) clinched the OVC regular-season title and the right to host the conference tournament last week, but didn't want to let down their guard. They had six hits in the nightcap, but their hitters kept getting out in front of Morehead ace Alex Gjevre's pitches and didn't adjust.
Underwood drove in both JSU runs in the nightcap. She had an RBI double in the first and a solo homer leading off the sixth that made it 3-2.
The Gamecocks had the top of their OVC-leading lineup coming up in the ninth. They got a runner on, but never hit a ball out of the infield.
Today: Morehead State at JSU
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