Alabama Baseball Comes up Short, 4-2, at No. 7 South Carolina on Sunday

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Alabama baseball fell short on Sunday, suffering a 4-2 loss to seventh-ranked South Carolina. The Gamecocks earned the series win, 2-1, while the Tide moves to 12-12 overall on the season.

The two teams kept it close all day, as Alabama and South Carolina broke even twice on the afternoon before the Gamecocks plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh to secure the win and the series victory. Both starting pitchers were dealing on Sunday, but it was the relievers who factored into the decision with South Carolina’s John Parke (1-1) getting the win and Colie Bowers collecting his third save of the season for the Gamecocks.

Alabama got an impressive performance from its starter, Nick Eicholtz. The senior kept the ball down in the zone all day, striking out only two but inducing three double plays and recording 14 of his 17 outs by way of the ground ball. Eicholtz tossed 104 pitches in the start, his longest outing of the season and the second-most pitches in a game for his career. His career-long came during his freshman year, a 109-pitch performance at Troy on March 25, 2014.

The offense received a pair of solo home runs from Gene Wood and Cody Henry, with Henry finishing 2-for-3 on the day, while adding an RBI and a run scored. Connor Short continued his hot hitting, going 1-for-3 to move his streak to nine games with at least one hit, the longest by any member of the Crimson Tide this season.

The Gamecocks struck first on Sunday, scoring the game’s first run in the bottom of the second. A leadoff walk followed by a one-out single and another walk loaded the bases for SC. The next hitter took four straight balls to walk in the first tally, making it 1-0 after two full.

Alabama evened things up in the top of the sixth, with Wood knocking his first career home run, a solo shot, deep to right field and out of the park to make it 1-1. South Carolina came right back to regain the lead, scoring one. A two-out walk proved costly, as the very next Gamecock hitter sent a double to the warning track in left-center, plating the go-ahead run and ending Eicholtz’ day.

The Crimson Tide got its second solo homer of the contest in the top of the seventh, as Henry went deep to right for his second roundtripper of the weekend to even things up at 2-2. South Carolina came right back with two runs after the stretch. The leadoff man doubled before a throwing error on a sacrifice bunt allowed the man from second to come across to make it 3-2. The Gamecocks used another sacrifice bunt to move a man to third before a sac fly to center crossed the second run of the inning and increased the lead to 4-2, the eventual final.

Next up for Alabama is a Tuesday non-conference matchup with in-state rival Auburn. The Crimson Tide and Tigers are scheduled for a 7 p.m. CT first pitch in the MAX Capital City Classic at Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery, Ala. Fans can catch all the action nationally on ESPNU.