Tide Baseball Does Everything But Win

Alabama had a tough assignment going to Columbia, S.C., to take on the fourth-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks for a Southeastern Conference series this weekend. Bama allowed only one run in the first game and scored 11 runs in the second game. The result was Bama losing a pair of heart-breakers.

In both games, Alabama relief pitching failed to deliver. Alabama freshmen Spencer Turnbull pitched seven innings of no-hit ball in the opener that started on Thursday night. The game was suspended at the start of the eighth inning because of weather. When the game was resumed on Friday, Bama relief pitcher Jon Keller's first pitch went for a home run, the only hit for South Carolina and the only run of the game.

Following that, the Gamecocks scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to walk off with a 12-11 win over the Alabama in front of a sellout crowd of 8,242 fans at Carolina Stadium on Friday night. With the loss, the Tide falls to 17-27 overall and 6-14 in SEC play. The Gamecocks improve to 32-11 overall and 13-7 in conference action.

Alabama and South Carolina complete the series on Saturday with first pitch at 12:30 p.m. CT from Carolina Stadium. The Tide will throw freshman left hander Justin Kamplain (1-3, 3.58). The Gamecocks have not announced a starter after Colby Holmes was injured in Wednesday's practice.

Alabama seemed to be in good shape to even the series when James Tullidge delivered an RBI single in the ninth to give the Tide an 11-9 lead. South Carolina, however, scored three times on four hits with one UA error in the bottom of the inning - all coming with one out - to pull out the come-from-behind victory.

After Jon Keller (1-4) struck out Evan Marzilli to open the inning, a one-out double by Christian Walker and a single by Grayson Greiner to cut the Tide lead to 11-10. T.J. Costen doubled to the corner in left to put runners on second and third, then Keller intentionally walked LB Dantzler to load the bases.

UA closer Jake Hubbard's first pitch to Sean Sullivan was a bloop single to left center, which fell between three Tide players, allowing Greiner to score. The ball was not handled cleanly by the Bama outfield, and Costen was waved in, and the throw home was not in time to prevent the winning run from scoring.

SC reliever Nolan Belcher did not even retire a batter, but picked up the win to improve to 3-2 on the season. Keller took the loss after allowing three runs on three hits in 1. 2/3innings.

Alabama matched its season-high with 14 hits in the game, as eight of the nine starters had at least one hit in the game. The 11-run performance marked the third time this season the Tide reached double-digits in runs.

Taylor Dugas and Tullidge led the Tide with three hits each, and Hunter Gregory and Josh Rosecrans added two hits each. Dugas was 3-for-5 with two runs scored, Tullidge was 3-for-4 with a run and an RBI, Gregory was 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBI, and Austen Smith was 1-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI.

After being shutout, 1-0, in the opening game of the series, Alabama wasted little time getting on the scoreboard in game two, scoring four times on four hits in the opening frame. A single by Smith drove in two, a Rosecrans double plated Ben Moore, and a ground out by Brett Booth allowed Rosecrans to score the fourth run of the inning.

After South Carolina got a two-run home run by Christian in the bottom of the first, Alabama answered with three straight hits to start the second to score two runs. After Tullidge singled and Dugas doubled, Gregory followed with a single up the middle to score both runners, extending the Tide lead to 6-2.

The Gamecocks answered with two runs in the second, the first coming on a 400-foot shot to left center by Adam Matthews to open the inning. Tanner English followed with a triple, then scored on a sacrifice fly by Chase Vergason. UA got a run back in the top of the third thanks to singles by Booth and Tullidge and a South Carolina fielding error.

SC cut the Bama lead to 7-5 with a run in the third, before scoring four times in the fourth to take a 9-7 lead. The big blow came on a three-run, two-out home run by Greiner. The Tide got a run back in the top of the fifth on an RBI groundout by Kenny Roberts, then took a 10-9 lead in the sixth when Moore singled to center field to drive in Dugas and Gregory.

Alabama starting pitcher Taylor Guilbeau lasted just two innings, allowing five runs (all earned) on four hits with a walk and a strikeout. Trey Pilkington gave Bama 4 2/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on five hits. South Carolina starter Jordan Montgomery allowed 10 runs (six earned) on 11 hits in five innings. Reliever Evan Beal gave up one run on three hits in 3 2/3 innings.

After severe weather in Columbia delayed the conclusion of game one of the series to Friday, South Carolina got an eighth inning, opposite field home run from Adam Matthews for a 1-0 victory over Alabama. The lead-off home run by Matthews was the only hit of the game for the Gamecocks.

Tyler Webb (4-0) entered the game to pitch for the Gamecocks and retired the only three batters he faced in the eighth inning to get the win.

Following the one-run South Carolina eighth, closer Matt Price entered for the ninth and retired all three batters he faced for his fifth save of the season.

Alabama collected four hits, with two coming from Brett Booth and one each from Hunter Gregory and Ben Moore.

Turnbull had five strikeouts, while allowing four walks and hit one batter. South Carolina starting pitcher Michael Roth did not factor into the decision after throwing seven innings, allowing four hits with two walks and three strikeouts.

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