South Carolina Uses Two Big Innings for 9-6 Win


Saturday, May 10, 2003

Beau Hearod

» Box Score

TUSCALOOSA -- Matt Riddle and Michael Campbell had two hits and three RBI each to lead the South Carolina Gamecocks to a 9-6 come-from-behind win over the Alabama Crimson Tide Saturday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

The win gives the Gamecocks their first-ever series win over the Crimson Tide here in Tuscaloosa.  USC entered the series having lost five of its last six games in Tuscaloosa, including a series sweep in 2001.

The Gamecocks go for the sweep on Sunday at 2 p.m.  USC lefty Matt Campbell (3-3, 4.61 ERA) is expected to take the mound against Alabama right-hander Seth Johnson (6-3, 3.28), who looks to snap the Crimson Tide's four-game SEC losing streak.

Alabama has only been swept at home once under Jim Wells and that was to LSU during the 2001 season.  The Crimson Tide has also lost three straight home games for the second time this year.

USC won the series opener 2-1 in a real pitcher's duel between Steven Boundurant and Brent Carter.  Today's game was a complete contrast as the two teams slugged it out for nine innings with neither starting pitcher looking sharp.

South Carolina (34-17, 15, 11 SEC) used two big innings to post its second straight win over Alabama.

USC batted around in the fifth inning to knock out  Alabama starter Taylor Tankerlsey, after scoring five runs on five hits to take a 5-3 lead.

Jon Coutlangous, who hit one of the two solo home runs in Friday's 2-1 win for USC, started the fifth inning with a single to right.  Michael Campbell followed with an RBI triple into the right field corner to put the Gamecocks on the board. 

Justin Harris' one-out single to left field scoring Campbell to cut the UA lead to 3-2. Brian Buscher followed with a base hit, sending Campbell to third.  Landon Powell's hard hit ground ball to third baseman Nathan Meiners, who did not elect to make a throw home with Harris running from third base, plated Harris with the tying run.

Tanklersley further complicated matters when he issued back-to-back walks to Bryan Triplett and Kevin Melillo to load the bases.

Brian Reed replaced Tanklersley, who struggled for the second week in a row, and allowed a two-run, pinch-hit single to left-hand hiiter Matt Riddle to give USC a 5-3 lead.

Tankerlsley was touched for five runs on six hits in 4 2/3 innings, with three walks and three strikeouts. He threw 37 pitches in the fifth inning in failing to retire the Gamecocks.

The Crimson Tide sliced the lead to 5-4 in the bottom of the inning to chase starter David Marchbanks, who allowed four runs and 11 hits in 4 2/3 innings.  Marchbanks entered the game with a glistening 11-2 record and led the SEC in wins, innings pitched and ERA (2.13).

Al Hecklinski drew a one-out walk and scored on a double into the right-center field gap by Meiners, who fouled of six pitches before collecting the RBI on the 11th pitch of the at-bat.  Meiners tried to stretch the double into a triple, but was gunned down at third base in an attempt to stretch the double into a triple.

The base running mistake proved costly as Charlie Lyons followed with a double off the left field wall that would have easily scored Meiners from second base with one out. 

Alabama regained the lead in the bottom of the sixth inning when Travis Garner reached on an single and later scored on Adam Pavkovich's ground out.  Beau Hearod followed with his second home run of the game to give Alabama a 6-5 lead.

The lead was short-lived as the Gamecocks scored four more runs on four hits in the seventh inning off Reed to regain the lead at 9-6.

Riddle collected his second hit and third RBI off Reed in the game when he slapped a bases-loaded single to left field.  Campbell followed with a two-out, two-run single to give the Gamecocks an 8-6 lead.  Riddle scored the final run as he crossed the plate on a wild pitch.

Chris Hernandez (4-4) picked up the win in relief for USC, allowing only the two runs in the sixth inning.  Aarow Rawl, who earned the win on Friday night, picked up the save as he escpaed a bases loaded jam in the ninth by getting Allen Rice to pop up to the left fielder to end the game. 

Reed (2-2), who was charged with the loss, allowed four runs on five hits in 4 1/3 innings out of the pen.  He also allowed two of three inherited runners to score in a five-run fifth inning.

Alabama (32-18, 13-13 SEC) took a 1-0 lead in the second inning on a two-out double by Rice.  Al Hecklinski, who collected one of UA's three hits in the inning, scored on the play.

The inning could have been much more productive for Alabama, who settled for just the one run.  Zac Welch appeared to score from third base on a safety squeeze bunt by Charlie Lyons, but was called out on a close play at the plate.  The Crimson Tide later loaded the bases before Brandon Avalos hit a slow roller to third base to end the inning.

Alabama scored two more runs in the third when Pavkovich singled and scored on Hearod's two-run home run to left field.  It was Hearod's first home run in nine games, dating back to Arpil 23 against UAB.

Welch and Hecklinski followed Hearod's blast with base hits, but the inning ended without further damage.  Meiners struck out looking after failing to lay down a sacrifice bunt on two attempts, and Lyons fouled out and Rice grounded out to strand two more runners.

Hearod finished the game with three hits, including two home runs and three RBI.  The two home runs gives him 18 this season, tying Arkansas' Ryan Fox for the SEC lead.