April 25, 2014
COLUBMIA, S.C. - In a battle between top-10 ranked teams, the eighth-ranked Alabama baseball team opened its Southeastern Conference series with a 9-3 loss to the eighth-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks on Friday night from Carolina Stadium.
Alabama (28-14, 12-7 SEC) and South Carolina (33-10, 11-8 SEC) will play game two of the series on Saturday with first pitch at 1:03 p.m. CT, from Carolina Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN and ESPN3/WatchESPN with Tom Hart and Kyle Peterson calling the action.
"Offensively I was pleased with the way we swung the bat, for the most part, but we left 12 men on base and just couldn't deliver the big hit," Gaspard said. "The big picture for us right now is to keep the ball in the strike zone and make them earn more. With a team like South Carolina you can't give them more opportunities, because they will take advantage of them."
The Gamecocks scored six of their nine runs off Alabama starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull (5-3), as the junior took the loss for the Crimson Tide. Turnbull allowed six runs (four earned) on six hits and walked another six batters while striking out two. Mitch Greer allowed three runs (two earned) on four hits in the eighth inning.
South Carolina starter Jordan Montgomery pitched with runners on base most of the night, but got outs numerous times when the Tide threatened. Montgomery (6-3) got the win after throwing 6.1 innings, allowing two runs on eight hits with two walks and eight strikeouts. Joel Seddon earned his 11th save of the season, throwing 1.1 innings, allowing a run on two hits with a pair of strikeouts.
Although Alabama notched its eighth 10-hit performance in the last nine games, the Tide struggled to get runners across as they left 12 runners on base. Four players had two hits in the game, as Ben Moore was 2-for-4 with a double to notch his seventh straight multiple-hit game.
Mikey White was 2-for-4 and hit his third home run of the season, Georgie Salem was 2-for-5 with a run scored and Kyle Overstreet was 2-for-5 with a pair of RBI. Wade Wass' nine-game hitting streak came to an end with a 0-for-4 night that included a walk.
Cone's only hit of the night was a fourth-inning three-run triple and he walked in his other three plate appearances. Grayson Greiner was 3-for-4 with a home run, two RBI and two runs scored and Tanner English was 3-for-4 with two RBI and a run scored.
"Tonight, the error in the first inning led to a two runs and we had too many free passes tonight, as Spencer walked six batters," Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "They are too good of a team to do that. They got the big hit in the fourth with the bases loaded that broke the game open."
Alabama took an early lead when Salem scored on an RBI single through the right side by Overstreet in the first inning.
The Gamecocks answered by scoring two unearned runs in the bottom of the inning. With runners on first and second, a possible inning-ending double play to third resulted in a throwing error, allowing Mooney to score. Then with runners on the corners and one out, Greiner grounded out to second for an RBI, giving the Gamecocks a 2-1 lead.
White tied the game at two with a solo shot to left field to lead off the Bama third. It was the third home run of the season for the sophomore shortstop.
The Gamecocks scored four times in the fourth inning to take a 6-2 lead. The first run scored on an infield single by English, scoring Greiner from second. After Turnbull walked the bases loaded, Cone hit a fly ball down the first field line that was just out of the reach of Bama right fielder Ben Moore who dove across the foul line to try and make the catch. The ball was called fair, allowing all three runners to score as Cone slide into third.
Trailing by four, Alabama had two runners on base with less than two outs in the fifth, sixth and seventh and had two aboard with two outs in the eighth. However, South Carolina made timely pitches to keep the Tide off the scoreboard.
Off Alabama reliever Mitch Greer, South Carolina struck for a solo home run by Greiner to lead off the eighth inning then RBI singles by DC Arendas and English extend the advantage to 9-2. Alabama got a run on an RBI single by Overstreet in the ninth inning to cap the scoring.
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