Sunday, May 11, 2003
» Box Score
TUSCALOOSA -- The South Carolina Gamecocks clinched at least a tie of the Southeastern Conference Eastern DIvision championship with a 5-1 win over the struggling Alabama Crimson Tide Sunday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
The Gamecocks extended their overall winning streak to seven straight games by completing the three-game sweep of the Crimson Tide at the Joe. The seven-game winning streak equals the longest of the 2003 season by USC.
Alabama (32-19, 13-14 SEC), losers of five consecutive games, suffered only its second home sweep in the Jim Wells era. The Crimson Tide was also swept at home by LSU during the 2001 season.
The Crimson Tide's current five-game losing streak is its longest losing streak under Wells, while the five-game SEC losing streak is the longest since an eight-game conference losing skid in 2001.
South Carolina (34-17, 16-11 SEC) scored all the runs its would need in the first two innings off losing pitcher Seth Johnson.
In the first inning, Justin Harris reached on an infield single, stole second base and scored on Landon Powell's two-out single up the middle.
USC extended its lead to 3-0 in the second inning on Jon Coutlangus' RBI single to left field with the bases loaded, scoring Bryan Triplett. The Gamecocks were 4-for-6 with seven RBI in the series with the bases loaded.
Kevin Melillo followed with a sacrifice fly to left field to score Michael Campbell with the three-run lead.
The three-run cushion was more than enough for sophomore left-hander Matt Campbell, who held the Crimson Tide to just one run and four hits in eight innings of work. Campbell (4-3) added two strikeouts and walked five batters.
After allowing a two-out single to Zac Welch in the first inning, Campbell retired the next 14 batters in order before facing senior center fielder Travis Garner in the sixth.
Garner ripped a 1-1 pitch over the left field fence to cut the UA deficit to 3-1 with one out in the sixth to break up Campbell's streak. It was Garner's second home run of the season and eighth of his career. Of his eight career home runs, three have come against South Carolina.
Garner ended the day with three hits of UA's four hits and in the process extended his hitting streak to 15 consecutive games, his second longest streak of the 2003 season.
Zac Welch's first inning single was the only other hit for Alabama.
The Gamecocks added two more runs in the seventh inning to chase Johnson. Harris' safety squeeze bunt scored Coutlangus from third base and Brian Buscher added an RBI single to score Melillo.
Johnson (6-4) allowed five runs and 11 hits as he suffered his second straight loss and fourth in his last five starts.
Powell, Coutlangus and Steven Tolleson had two hits each for the Gamecocks.
Alabama will host Jacksonville State in its final non-conference game of the 2003 season Tuesday, May 13 at 6:30 p,m, at the Joe.
Alabama will wrap up the regular-season next weekend at Miss. State as it fights for its post-season life. The Crimson Tide is in a three-way tie for sixth place with Tennessee and Arkansas, while Floria is 1 1/2 games and Vanderbilt is two games off the pace for the last playoff spot.
South Carolina wraps up the season next weekend at home against Georgia and needs one win or one Tennessee loss to clinch the SEC East.