Series Even Going To Sunday

South Carolina had too much Arik Hempy for the University of Alabama baseball team as the junior left-hander held the Crimson Tide to one run and seven hits in a season-high seven-plus innings as the No.4 Gamecocks evened the series with a 4-1 win Saturday afternoon.

Hempy (4-1), who is coming off Tommy John surgery that forced him to miss most of the 2006 season, turned in his finest outing of the season against the Crimson Tide. Hempy allowed only one run and seven hits -- all singles -- in 7 1/3 innings with two walks and seven strikeouts.

His counterpart, Alabama sophomore left-hander Miers Quigley was equally as tough, but the Gamecocks managed a little more offense than the Crimson Tide to even the series.

"Hempy was very good today," Alabama Coach Jim Wells said. Quigley, on the other hand, I thought pitched his best game of the season. He had good command of all of his pitches. He did leave a few balls up, but that was his best today."

Quigley (4-4) recorded a career-high nine strikeouts in eight innings of work. He allowed four runs - three earned -- and nine hits. The tough luck continued for Quigley, who has not won since beating Tennessee on March 16. In three of his last four starts, Alabama has managed two total runs against Vanderbilt (0), Georgia (1) and South Carolina (1).

Alabama (24-20, 9-11 SEC) missed out on its best scoring opportunity in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Crimson Tide had runners at second and third with one out, but did not score.

Sophomore second baseman Jeff Texada and senior shortstop Greg Paiml reached on back-to-back singles and moved into scoring position when senior left fielder Brandon Belcher laid down a sacrifice bunt to put two runners in scoring position with one out.

Sophomore catcher Kyle Moore then lined out to third on the next pitch and senior center fielder Emeel Salem drew a four-pitch walk before freshman second baseman Brandon May popped up to first baseman Justin Smoak, leaving the bases loaded.

The Gamecocks (33-12, 11-9 SEC) hit two solo home runs and used a two-run sixth inning to build a 3-1 lead.

South Carolina scored an unearned run in the top of the second inning to take a 1-0 lead. Smoak reached on a throwing error by Alabama third baseman Jake Smith and moved to second on a wild pitch by Quigley. Trent Kline ripped a one-out double past Smith down the left field line to score Smoak with the first run of the game.

Alabama answered with a run in the bottom of the fourth inning when first baseman Matt Bentley delivered the game-tying run with a sacrifice fly to left field. May started the inning with single up the middle and took third on sophomore right fielder Kent Matthes' one-out single to center.

South Carolina scored twice in the sixth inning to take a 3-1 lead. Andrew Crisp led off the inning with a solo home run to left field. It was Crisp's fourth home run of the season. The Gamecocks added another run in the sixth when Smoak ripped a double to center field and later scored on Kline's RBI groundout to give the Gamecocks a two-run lead.

The Gamecocks added an insurance run in the eighth inning as James Darnell's 14th home run of the year made it a 4-1.

Alabama and South Carolina wrap up this three-game series Sunday at 2 p.m. (CDT). The Crimson Tide is expected to send sophomore right-hander Austin Hyatt (4-1, 1.80 ERA). South Carolina did not announce a starter for the series finale.

GAME NOTES

*Alabama and South Carolina have split the first two games of the series. The Crimson Tide won 10-5 on Friday night, while the Gamecocks evened the series with a 4-1 win on Saturday. Alabama will be playing its fourth rubber game in an SEC series this season on Sunday. The Crimson Tide is 1-2 in previous three rubber games, with win over Georgia and losses to Ole Miss and LSU.

*Sophomore LHP Miers Quigley (Roswell, Ga.) matched his career high with nine strikeouts against South Carolina. He also had nine strikeouts earlier this season against McNeese State (March 2) and Tennessee (March 16).

*Quigley extended his personal losing streak to four games with Saturday's tough-luck loss. He has not won since beating Tennessee in the 2007 SEC opener March 16. The Crimson Tide has managed just seven runs in those four losses and scored just two total runs in losses to Vanderbilt (0), Georgia (1) and South Carolina (1).

*Sophomore RF Kent Matthes (Orlando, Fla.) has recorded back-to-back two hit games for the first time since March 24-25 at Ole Miss. He is 4-for-7 in the South Carolina series with three RBI.

*Freshman 2B Brandon May (Marietta, Ga.) extended his hitting streak to three games with a fourth-inning single on Saturday. He scored the Tide's lone run in the 4-1 loss to South Carolina.

*South Carolina SS Reese Havens was 0-for-4 on Saturday and struck out four times.


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