Gamecocks Sweep! Magic Number Is 1!!!!!!!

Tuscaloosa, Ala. - Sophomore left-hander Matt Campbell held Alabama to four hits over eight innings Sunday, only two of them after the first inning , and South Carolina won 5-1 to sweep a three game Southeastern Conference baseball series ...

Campbell walked Zac Welch to open the Alabama ninth inning and was relieved by Aaron Rawl, making his third appearance out of the bullpen in the series. Rawl coaxed Al Hecklinski to hit into a double play and retired Evan Bush on a pop fly to second baseman Kevin Melillo to end the game. Since the South Carolina lead was four runs Rawl did not qualify for a save.

Campbell improved his record to 4-3 as South Carolina won its seventh game in a row to raise its record to 35-17 overall and 16-11 in the Southeastern Conference. Campbell struck out two and walked five.

South Carolina moved closer to clinching the SEC Eastern Division championship for the third time in four years. The Gamecocks end conference play next weekend against Georgia in Columbia.

Seth Johnson, 6-4, was charged with the loss. He gave up 11 hits, all singles, and five earned runs in 6 2/3 innings. The loss was Alabama's fifth straight in conference action.

South Carolina scored one run in the first and two in the second inning to take an early 3-0 lead. Justin Harris beat out an infield hit, stole second and scored on a hit by Landon Powell in the first inning. In the second, three hits and a walk produced two runs. Jon Coutlangus drove in one with the first of his two hits and the other scored on a sacrifice fly by Melillo.

Travis Garner cut the lead to 3-1 with a solo home run in the sixth inning, his second of the season. Garner also had two infield hits to account for three fourths of the Alabama offense. The other Crimson Tide hit was a first inning single by Welch. Garner had led off the Alabama first with his first infield hit but was out attempting to steal second base on a throw by Powell, the Gamecock catcher.

Four base hits plated two Gamecock insurance runs in the seventh innings and knocked Johnson out of the game. Coutlangus, Melillo, Brian Buscher and Powell had hits in the inning. Justin Harris executed s perfect suicide squeeze bunt to drive in Coutlangus and the hit by Buscher drove in Melillo.

Powell, Coutlangus and Steven Tolleson had two hits each for South Carolina. Both of Tolleson's hits were bunt singles.


-- The South Carolina Gamecocks clinched at least a tie of the Southeastern Conference Eastern Division championship with a 5-1 win over the struggling Alabama Crimson Tide Sunday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

The Gamecocks extended their overall winning streak to seven straight games by completing the three-game sweep of the Crimson Tide at the Joe. The seven-game winning streak equals the longest of the 2003 season by USC.

Alabama (32-19, 13-14 SEC), losers of five consecutive games, suffered only its second home sweep in the Jim Wells era. The Crimson Tide was also swept at home by LSU during the 2001 season.

The Crimson Tide's current five-game losing streak is its longest losing streak under Wells, while the five-game SEC losing streak is the longest since an eight-game conference losing skid in 2001.

South Carolina (34-17, 16-11 SEC) scored all the runs its would need in the first two innings off losing pitcher Seth Johnson.

In the first inning, Justin Harris reached on an infield single, stole second base and scored on Landon Powell's two-out single up the middle.

USC extended its lead to 3-0 in the second inning on Jon Coutlangus' RBI single to left field with the bases loaded, scoring Bryan Triplett. The Gamecocks were 4-for-6 with seven RBI in the series with the bases loaded.

Kevin Melillo followed with a sacrifice fly to left field to score Michael Campbell with the three-run lead.

The three-run cushion was more than enough for sophomore left-hander Matt Campbell, who held the Crimson Tide to just one run and four hits in eight innings of work. Campbell (4-3) added two strikeouts and walked five batters.

After allowing a two-out single to Zac Welch in the first inning, Campbell retired the next 14 batters in order before facing senior center fielder Travis Garner in the sixth.

Garner ripped a 1-1 pitch over the left field fence to cut the UA deficit to 3-1 with one out in the sixth to break up Campbell's streak. It was Garner's second home run of the season and eighth of his career. Of his eight career home runs, three have come against South Carolina.

Garner ended the day with three hits of UA's four hits and in the process extended his hitting streak to 15 consecutive games, his second longest streak of the 2003 season.

Zac Welch's first inning single was the only other hit for Alabama.

The Gamecocks added two more runs in the seventh inning to chase Johnson. Harris' safety squeeze bunt scored Coutlangus from third base and Brian Buscher added an RBI single to score Melillo.

Johnson (6-4) allowed five runs and 11 hits as he suffered his second straight loss and fourth in his last five starts.

Powell, Coutlangus and Steven Tolleson had two hits each for the Gamecocks.

Alabama will host Jacksonville State in its final non-conference game of the 2003 season Tuesday, May 13 at 6:30 p,m, at the Joe.

Alabama will wrap up the regular-season next weekend at Miss. State as it fights for its post-season life. The Crimson Tide is in a three-way tie for sixth place with Tennessee and Arkansas, while Floria is 1 1/2 games and Vanderbilt is two games off the pace for the last playoff spot.

South Carolina wraps up the season next weekend at home against Georgia and needs one win or one Tennessee loss to clinch the SEC East.

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