Gamecocks Drop Opener To Tide

Ray Tanner opened the post game press conference by saying, "I knew going into today that it would be difficult to beat Alabama for the fourth time. After the fourth inning, I felt good but to their credit they were able to muster some big hits. It was anybody's game, but we just weren't good enough to win." ...

I thought (our pitching staff) might carry us. Our pitching staff has done their job all season long. Alabama did a great job of battling back and they made the pitches when they needed.

(Matt Riddle) was a little bit too aggressive (in the seventh when he was picked off second). It was probably a catchable ball but maybe the wind carried it. But the ball didn't roll, he picked it up on two bounces. Matt was a little bit too far off the bag in this situation.

We'll go with Marchbanks tomorrow. Rawl didn't throw many pitches. We still have Lalor, Reeves, and some more arms.

I really don't know quite honestly (what we have to do to host a regional or super). Quite honestly, I have no idea. Skip Bertman or Hal Baird would probabl y know a lot better than me and have a better feel. I was thinking if we came in here and won a couple then we'd host, but I'm honestly not sure.

Aaron Rawl

I felt fine, made a mistake, and left a curve ball up. I made some good pitches but they swung the bat well. There's not much you can do about that when they hit the ball well.

They swung the bat well. They hit our pitches, and our mistakes. You gotta give them credit, I thought they battled well and ended up with a win.

By: USC Sports Information

Hoover, Ala. - The first three in Alabama's batting order had seven hits, scored five runs and drove in four Thursday and the Crimson Tide survived a bases loaded bottom of the ninth inning to upset second seed South Carolina 9-7 in the opening round of the Southeastern Conference baseball tournament.

South Carolina dropped into the loser's bracket and will meet Vanderbilt at 11 a. m., Eastern time, Friday at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in a survival game. Alabama will meet Auburn in the second Friday game. Auburn defeated Vanderbilt 3-1 Thursday.

Brian Reed, 3-0, pitched the final three innings for Alabama to claim the win despite giving up four hits as South Carolina out hit the Crimson Tide 15-10. Aaron Rawl, who relieved Gamecock starter Steven Bondurant in the sixth inning and failed to retire a batter, was charged with the loss to drop his record to 6-3.

Rawl gave up back to back doubles to pinch hitter Ryan Beagle and Zac Welch and an RBI single to Brandon Avelos as Alabama scored five times in the sixth inning.

Travis Garner singled and Adam Pavkovich doubled him to third to start the game and Garner scored on a sacrifice fly by Beau Hearod to give Alabama a 1-0 first inning lead.

South Carolina took the lead with five hits and four runs in the bottom of the fourth. Brian Buscher blooped a double to left, Bryan Triplett singled with one out to score Buscher. Matt Riddle reached on an error and Jon Coutlangus and Steven Tolleson followed with singles, driving in a run apiece. With two out Kevin Melillo's single drove in the fourth run of the inning.

Alabama countered with its five run sixth to regain the lead at 6-4. Evan Busch walked to start the inning and scored on a double by Garner. With one out Hearod was walked intentionally. Rawl relieved Bondurant and gave up three consecutive hits before retiring in favor of Chris Hernandez.

After South Carolina pulled to within a run with a score in the sixth two Alabama runs made the score 8-5 in the seventh. A walk to Garner and singles by Adam Pavkovich and Hearod did the damage.

The Gamecocks again cut the deficit to one with two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Justin Harris singled, Buscher tripled to drive him home and Buscher scored on a sacrifice fly by Bryan Triplett. A walk, an Alabama error and the third hit of the game by Coutlangus continued the rally but Riddle, who reached on the error, over ran second base on the hit by Coutlangus and was tagged out.

Alabama added an unearned insurance run in the top of the ninth on a Gamecock error and two hits. In the bottom of the ninth singles by Landon Powell and Triplett and a walk loaded the bases but pinch hitter Jared Greenwood struck out and Michael Campbell hit into a fielder's choice to end the game.

Garner had two hits, scored three runs and drove in one, Pavkovich had three hits and scored a run, and Hearod drove in three with a pair of hits and a sacrifice fly and scored once to pace the Alabama offense. The top three had seven of the 10 Alabama hits.

Coutlangus had three hits for South Carolina, scored twice and drove in one. Buscher had a double and a triple, scored twice and drove in one. Triplett had two hits and two RBI. Harris and Campbell also had two hits.

South Carolina swept its regular season three game series at Alabama two weeks ago and Gamecock Coach Rah Tanner said "I knew going into today's game it was going to be difficult to beat Alabama for a fourth time this year. Look, up to the fifth inning we were in pretty good shape to do so. To their credit they were able to muster some hits after the leadoff walk and they hit the ball pretty good."

Tanner added, "they got some pretty good rips off Aaron. They battled back and we battled back and was anyone game but we were not good enough to win it at the end."

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