USC and Alabama battled deep into Thursday morning in an 11 inning-four hour marathon that the Gamecocks finally won 9-5. It was a 5-5 game in the top of the 11th when the Gamecocks loaded the bases with one out and broke the tie on a wild pitch by reliever Jimmy Nelson. The Gamecocks got another run on a pair of walks and then Justin Dallas drilled a two run double to the wall in left giving the Gamecocks a 9-5 lead.
Gamecock reliever Alex Farrato made it interesting in the bottom of the 11th walking three batters to load the bases with two outs. But he got Jake Smith on a comebacker to the mound to end the game.
Farrato picked up the win as the Gamecocks advance to play Vanderbilt tonight. All four lower seeded teams won in the first round. Vanderbilt 4-LSU 1…Georgia 6-Ole Miss 3 and Arkansas 8-Florida 5. The other games today are LSU against Alabama and Florida against Ole Miss in elimination games and Arkansas against Georgia.
Alabama jumped to a 3-0 lead in the first loading the bases against Blake Cooper on three straight singles including two that died on the infield grass down the third base line. Brandon May then drove in two runs with a double and Jake Smith plated the third run with a sacrifice fly. The Gamecocks finally broke thru against Del Howell in the fifth on a two out, two RBI single by DeAngelo Mack. Then Adam Matthews drove him off the mound with a three run homer to left center in the sixth that put the Gamecocks up 6-5. In the 7th Cooper gave up a game tying homer to Kent Matthes to deep centerfield, his 28th homer of the season. Parker Bangs came on in relief of Cooper and was outstanding striking out six of the eleven batters he faced.
Alabama coach Jim Wells was ejected by home plate umpire David Savage in the 10th after Savage reversed his call that Bangs had hit Brandon May with a pitch.
The Gamecocks are now 38-19. They’ve won eight games in a row and eleven of their last 12. Sam Dyson will start tonight’s game against Vanderbilt.