Alabama Baseball Runs Out Of Fight

For two days in Columbia, S.C., the struggling Alabama baseball team scratched and clawed and just missed a couple of wins over the fourth-ranked South Carolina Gamecocks. On the third day, however, it could safely be said that the Crimson Tide had no fight.

Alabama managed only five hits against three South Carolina pitchers. Bama's lone run scored as the Tide hit into a double play with the bases loaded.

It was over in a hurry as the Gamecocks coasted to a 9-1 victory and a sweep of the series. It is the fourth time this season Bama has been swept in a three-game SEC series.

Before another sellout of over 8,000 in Carolina Stadium, the Gamecocks improved to 33-11 overall and 14-7 in Southeastern Conference games. The three losses left Bama at 17-28 overall and 6-15 in SEC games. Alabama has not won an SEC road game this season.

Alabama starting pitcher Justin Kamplain (1-4) took the loss as he lasted just 3 2/3 innings, giving up seven runs (six earned) on eight hits with three walks, a hit batter and one strikeout. South Carolina reliever Nolan Belcher (4-2) picked up the win, after throwing 3 1/3 innings, allowing no runs on one hit with four strikeouts. SC starter Patrick Sullivan lasted four innings, allowing one run on four hits with four walks.

South Carolina scored its nine runs on nine hits against four Alabama pitchers. Charley Sullivan, who pitched the sixth and seventh innings, retired all six batters he faced and Jake Hubbard retired all three hitters he faced in the eighth.

The Crimson Tide had just five hits against three different Gamecock pitchers. Austen Smith and Josh Rosecrans combined for four of the hits, as Smith was 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored and Rosecrans was 2-for-4 with a pair of singles.

For South Carolina, Grayson Greiner was 2-for-5 with an RBI and two runs scored, Joey Pankake was 2-for-4 with two RBI and Christian Walker was 1-for-1 with a run, an RBI and two walks.

The Gamecocks jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first, scoring two runs on back-to-back RBI doubles by Greiner and Pankake. In the UA second, Smith and Rosecrans singled and Brett Booth followed with a walk to open the inning. Kenny Roberts grounded into a double play, which allowed Smith to score from third for Alabama's lone run of the game.

SC loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the second and a sacrifice fly plated a run for a 3-1 lead. After an intentional pass to Walker reloaded the bases, Greiner grounded out to third to end the threat.

South Carolina extended its lead to 4-1 when LB Dantzler hit a solo home run to right center with one out in the third. SC tacked three more runs in the fifth on RBI singles by Walker and Pankake and a sac fly by Dantzler. After loading the bases with no out in the fifth, the Gamecocks got runs on a ground out and a sac fly for a 9-1 lead after five.

Alabama will not play a mid-week game next week and returns to SEC play on Friday when it hosts Mississippi State at 6:35 p.m. from Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

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