*Courtesy Alabama Media Relations*
COLUBMIA, S.C. – The eighth-ranked University of Alabama baseball team posted a 2-1 victory over nationally ranked South Carolina in front of a sold-out crowd at Carolina Stadium, to even the Southeastern Conference series.
The Crimson Tide got a solid pitching performance from Justin Kamplain, and Casey Hughston delivered the game-winning RBI and threw a runner out at the plate to help preserve the victory.
Alabama (29-14, 13-7 SEC) and South Carolina (33-11, 11-9 SEC) will play game three of the series on Sunday with first pitch at 12:03 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.
With the score tied at 1-1 and runners on the corners with one out in the seventh inning, Hughston singled through the right side off Carolina starting and losing pitcher Jack Wynkoop (5-3) to drive in Wade Wass for the game-winning run. In the bottom of the seventh inning, Hughston provided the defensive play of the game, as he threw out Grayson Greiner at the plate as he tried to score from second base on a Tanner English single to left field.
Alabama starter Justin Kamplain (4-2) got the win in a quality start, going 6.1 innings, allowing one run on four hits with four strikeouts, and his two walks came in the seventh inning. After two runners were aboard in the South Carolina seventh, Kamplain turned the ball over to Thomas Burrows, who got the final eight outs to record his ninth save of the season. Burrows finished the day with 2.2 scoreless innings, allowing a hit with three strikeouts.
Ben Moore continued his hot hitting, going 2-for-4 to produce his eighth straight multiple-hit performance. Moore started the day with a his sixth home run of the season, hitting a solo shot to left field with two outs in the first inning, then adding a single in the fourth. After hitting .500 (17-for-34) with four doubles, three home runs, a triple, 10 RBI and 11 runs scored over the last eight games, Moore is second on the team with a .318 average.
Hughston was 1-for-3 with an RBI and extended his hitting streak to nine games, Chance Vincent was 2-for-4 and Wass was 1-for-4 with his team-leading 16th double of the season and a run scored.
The win snapped a three-game Alabama losing streak, while ending a six-game losing streak to South Carolina, which dated back to the 2011 season.
Alabama got on the board early when Moore hit a 1-1 pitch off Wynkoop over the wall in left field for a 1-0 lead. The Moore home run tied Austen Smith for the team lead, and it’s the 30th home run for the Tide this season.
South Carolina manufactured a run in the third to even the score at 1-1. After DC Arendas doubled to open the inning, a sac bunt by English set up a sac fly by Marcus Mooney to drive in the first Gamecocks only run of the game.
In the seventh inning, Alabama got a leadoff double by Wass and after a sac bunt by Kyle Overstreet moved him to third, Smith was hit by a pitch to put runners on the corners with one out. Hughston then singled on a 2-2 pitch to drive in Wass, for what ended up being the game-winning run.
In the South Carolina seventh, Kamplain walked two of the first three batters before giving way to Burrows. After Burrows got Arendas to fly out, English singled to left field, but aggressive base running by the Gamecocks did not pay dividends, as Hughston made a strong throw home to gun down Greiner at the plate to maintain the one-run Alabama edge.
From there, Burrows retired the next five batters before a two-out fielding error extended the Carolina ninth. But, Elliott Caldwell grounded out to second to end the game with the Tide posting the 2-1 victory.
The 2-1 result marked the 17th one-run game of the season for Alabama, as the Tide holds a 9-8 record in one-run games. It’s also the Tide’s first victory in a game with a 2-1 final score, as Alabama is 1-6 in games that end with a 2-1 score.
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