Alabama evened the SEC series with USC Saturday with a 2-1 win at Carolina Stadium with the Crimson Tide making the big offense and defensive plays in the seventh inning that won the game for them.
The game was tied at 1-1 going to the 7th. Wade Wass led off for Alabama with a double and was sacrificed to third. Austen Smith was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners and Casey Hughston singled thru the right side to plate the go ahead run off Gamecock starter Jack Wynkoop.
After Wynkoop gave up a single to Chance Vincent to load the bases, he was relieved by Taylor Widener who got the final two outs without further damage.
The Gamecocks had a chance to tie in the bottom of the inning. Grayson Greiner led off with a walk and one out later Elliott Caldwell also drew a walk. That was the last hitter for Alabama starter Justin Kamplain who gave way to closer Thomas Burrows. DC Arendas fled out to left field for the second out. Tanner English then laced a single to left right at Hughston whose throw to Wass was high and to the left of homeplate but in time to get the sliding Greiner for the third out.
Both teams went down in order in the 8th and Alabama stranded a runner at second in the 9th. Burrows retired the first two Gamecocks in the bottom of the 9th, but the Gamecocks got some life when shortstop Mikey White booted a ground ball from Widener. But Elliott Caldwell grounded out to second to end the game.
Wynkoop took the loss for USC to fall to 5-3. Kamplain picked up his 4th win in 6 decisions and Burrows earned his 9th save.
The loss breaks the Gamecocks five game winning streak and ends a six game winning streak against the Crimson Tide. The Gamecocks are 33-11 and 11-9 in the SEC East. With Florida’s win Saturday, the Gamecocks trail the Gators by three games. Alabama is 29-14 and a SEC West leading 13-7.
The series concludes Sunday at 1:30 PM. Freshman Wil Crowe will start for USC against senior righthander Tucker Hawley (6-4 230) of South Aiken. Hawley is replacing suspended starter Jon Keller. He’s 3-1 with a 0.68 ERA.