Offense wasn’t the name of the game between the South Carolina Gamecocks and the Alabama Crimson Tide after a 9-3 Gamecock win last night, but the Tide needed just two runs today.
Casey Hughston’s RBI single in the 7th gave his team the lead for good as #17 Alabama (29-14, 13-7 SEC) slipped past #8 Carolina (33-11, 11-9), 2-1, to even up the three-game weekend series at one a piece.
The Tide got on the board first for the second game in a row as Ben Moore, coming in on a torrid pace, blasted his sixth of the year to left to make it 1-0 in the first. And for the second game in a row, the Gamecocks got it back as Marcus Mooney’s sac fly in the 3rd made it 1-1. Neither team could take advantage of good opportunities with RISP throughout the middle part of the game as the Gamecocks stranded two in the 3rd and the Tide couldn’t capitalize on a leadoff double in the 5th.
Outside of that, it looked like an old-fashioned pitchers’ duel, until Jack Wynkoop got in trouble in the 7th, surrendering the go-ahead run to put Alabama up 2-1 on a Casey Hughston single to left; that made way for Taylor Widener as he got the final two outs to end what could have been a bigger inning. But Alabama erased a Gamecocks opportunity in the bottom half as Thomas Burrows spelled Justin Kamplain with two on and one out and closed the door–culminating with an inning-ending play at the plate as Grayson Greiner tried to score on a single to left.
That would prove to be the turning point of the game as Burrows would shut Carolina down the rest of the way. Outside of Widener reaching on an error in the 9th, the Gamecocks would fail to get a runner on the basepaths as they saw their five-game winning streak come to an end.
Wynkoop actually looked good outside of the first inning homer to Moore and his struggles in the 7th: 6.1 solid innings, allowing two runs and seven hits while striking out four and walking none. But Justin Kamplain was a tad better, giving up one run, striking out four and walking two in his six and a third innings of work.
The Gamecocks could only manage five hits through the contest as their 3, 4 and 5 hitters–Joey Pankake, Kyle Martin and Greiner–were just 1-11 on the day, with Greiner getting the lone hit out of the trio.
The rubber game of the series is tomorrow at 1pm and is another nationally-televised game on ESPN.