April 7, 2006
Columbia, S.C. - Freshman Reese Havens doubled down the left field line with two outs in the 11th inning Friday night to drive in freshman James Darnell and South Carolina edged Alabama 7-6 in the first of a three game series between nationally ranked Southeastern Conference division leaders.
Number one ranked South Carolina improved to 27-4 overall, 9-1 in the Eastern Division and 10th ranked Alabama slipped to 23-10, 7-3 in the Western Division. The second game is scheduled for 4 p.m., ET Saturday with junior left-hander Forrest Beverly, 5-1, pitching for South Carolina and junior right-hander Bernard Robert, 4-1, going for Alabama.
Sophomore right-hander Wynn Pelzer pitched three hitless innings to improve his record to 3-0. In four appearances against Southeastern Conference opponents Pelzer has worked 14 innings, allowed no runs on two hits with three victories and one save.
Freshman first baseman Justin Smoak doubled down the right field line with two outs in the bottom of the 11th inning and Darnell went in to run for him. Havens, who had two RBI singles earlier in the game, hit a drive into the left field corner to plate Darnell with the winning run.
Alabama relief pitcher David Robertson, 2-3, who pitched out of a bases loaded no outs jam in the 10th inning, gave up the back to back 11th inning doubles and was charged with the loss.
Two walks and an error on a sacrifice bunt loaded the bases for South Carolina in the 10th inning but Robertson turned a 1-2-3 double play when Cheyne Hurst bounced back to the mound. Robertson then hit Chris Brown with a pitch to again load the bases but Michael Campbell grounded out to end the threat.
Alabama ace left-hander Wade LeBlanc pitched 7 2/3 innings, allowed seven hits and struck out seven but was charged with six earned runs. LeBlanc, who had a 6-0 record and had walked only nine in 61 2/3 innings, issued six bases on balls Friday night.
South Carolina starter, freshman right-hander Mike Cisco, pitched four shutout innings but couldn't hold a l-0 lead as Alabama knocked him out with three runs in the fifth after South Carolina had scored a run in the fourth inning. Four hits and a walk did the damage for the Crimson Tide.
South Carolina scored single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings and the score was tied until Alabama erupted for two runs in the eighth on a walk and back to back doubles by Kody Valverde and Alex Avila to lead 5-3.
Greg Paiml sent the game into extra innings when he led off the Alabama ninth with his first home run of the season. He had two infield hits earlier to lead Alabama's 10 hit attack with three hits. Pelzer replaced Andrew Cruse after the tying home run. He retired nine of the 10 batters he faced, issuing only an 11th inning walk.
Havens' three hits and three RBI led South Carolina's 11 hit evening. Robbie Grinestaff had two hits, including a double, and scored three runs. They were the only Gamecocks with more than one hit.
Valverde and Brandon Belcher had two hits along with the three hits by Paiml.
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