Baseball Falls 6-3 to No. 2 South Carolina
May 20, 2011
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama baseball team dropped the second game of its three game series to the No. 2-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks by a score of 6-3 on Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. With the loss, the Crimson Tide falls to 32-23 overall and 14-15 in Southeastern Conference play while USC improves to 43-12 (21-8 SEC).
Alabama pounded out 11 hits versus three different USC pitchers, but mustered just three runs on the night due in large part to stranding nine runners on base. UA junior left hander Adam Morgan (5-5) posted another strong start, pitching 7.0 innings while allowing three runs on nine hits, including four strikeouts, but took the loss for the Tide.
Junior shortstop Jared Reaves led Alabama at the plate, totaling a 2-for-5, two-double, two-run performance. Sophomore third baseman Brett Booth and freshman first baseman Austen Smith each recorded a pair of hits and a RBI, while junior left fielder Hunter Gregory added two hits for the second night in a row.
Gamecock starter Forrest Koumas (6-0) notched the victory after pitching 5.0 innings while allowing one run on five hits while striking out five. USC reliever Matt Price recorded his 14th save of the season, earning a rare three-inning save to close things out.
"I thought on our side Adam (Morgan) gave us another good start tonight," UA head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "Offensively we had a tough time getting going. Their guy (Forrest Koumas) did a nice job as a starter and then (Matt) Price is one of the better closers in the league and he showed you why when he came in there and did a nice job. Bowed down there in the eighth inning, I feel like if the game could have stayed there we had a shot to make a run as we did there in the ninth. Our guys, even down 6-1, continued to compete and fight to get the tying run up to the plate and in that situation you can't ask for more than that."
Alabama jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth on the strength of back-to-back doubles by Reaves and Smith. Reaves led off the inning with a two-base knock before Smith brought him home, ripping a sharp double to power alley in right-center field to put the Tide up 1-0.
The Gamecocks answered with two runs in the top of the fifth to take a 2-1 lead, then added one more in the seventh before exploding for three in the eighth off UA relief pitcher Adam Windsor to put the score at 6-1.
Alabama would not go away without a fight, however, scoring one run in the eighth and another in the ninth off Price to make things interesting.
Booth brought home Reaves with an RBI single in the eighth to cut the score to 6-2 before junior center fielder Taylor Dugas added an RBI double in the ninth to make it 6-3. The Tide eventually brought the tying run to the plate, but was unable to complete the comeback as Reaves grounded into a fielder's choice to end the game.
Alabama will send senior left-handed pitcher Jonathan Smart (4-1, 2.21 ERA) to the mound in the series-deciding game tomorrow. The Gamecocks will counter with sophomore righty Colby Holmes (5-2, 3.70 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 12:06 (CST) with CSS broadcasting the game.