After a topsy-turvy conference slate, the good South Carolina Gamecocks showed up tonight in the opener of a three-game SEC series against Alabama.
Grayson Greiner and Tanner English went 3-4 with two RBI, Gene Cone delivered a game-breaking fourth-inning triple, and the #8 Gamecocks (33-10, 11-8 SEC) topped the #17 Crimson Tide, 9-3, to run its winning streak up to five and match its highest offensive output since April 8–a 9-2 win at Furman.
While the Tide (28-14, 12-7) struck first for the game’s opening run, it was some rough defense that allowed the Gamecocks to score a pair in the bottom of the first to pull ahead 2-1. But Alabama got it back two innings later as Mikey White hit his third of the year to knot it up at 2.
Then Carolina got to work. And they got it done with two outs in the fourth, as Marcus Mooney worked a bases-loaded walk to put his team ahead 3-2.
That would lead to Cone providing the biggest hit of the night.
Ahead in the count 2-1, the freshman stroked a bases-clearing triple to right field to put the Gamecocks ahead 6-2. That was more than enough as they would tack on three more in the eighth, including a leadoff homer by Greiner, to wrap up the scoring.
Jordan Montgomery more than helped his own cause on the mound, going 6.1 strong, allowing two runs and scattering eight hits while walking two and striking out eight. One concern for Montgomery was the sheer number of pitches he threw–113 in all.
Perhaps not coincidentally is the Gamecocks’ increased offensive output during their five-game winning streak. They’ve scored 30 runs during that time period–an average of six per game–while holding opponents to just 1.8 runs. During their five-game losing streak? Just 3.8 per.
Game two is tomorrow at 2pm and will be nationally televised on ESPN.