April 23, 2004
Columbia, S.C. - South Carolina scored six unearned runs in the second inning on only two hits, one of them a grand slam home run by Landon Powell, Friday night to take a 6-3 win over Alabama in the first of a three game Southeastern Conference baseball series.
Aaron Rawl pitched 6 1/3 innings to improve his record to 8-2. He started in place of Billy Buckner who was diagnosed with mononucleosis earlier in the day. Chad Blackwell came on when Rawl faltered in the seventh inning and retired eight consecutive batters, five of them by strikeouts. Blackwell earned his 10th save.
Wade LeBlanc pitched a complete game for Alabama but suffered his fourth loss. He has won five. South Carolina improved its record to 28-10 and evened its Southeastern Conference record at 8-8. Alabama fell to 23-17, 5-11 in the SEC. The second game is scheduled for 4 p.m., Saturday and will be the SEC television game of the week on Fox Sports Net South.
In the second inning Alabama committed two errors, one by LeBlanc who mishandled a sacrifice bunt. Michael Campbell led off the inning with the first of his four hits. An error and a sacrifice fly by Hank Parks produced one run. A walk followed by another sacrifice fly produced another and another walk loaded the bases for Powell.
He worked the count to three balls and two strikes and then launched a long drive over the left field fence for his 12th home run of the season. That was all of the scoring for South Carolina.
Alabama cut the Gamecock lead to 6-1 when Gabe Scott led off the fourth inning with his fourth home run. The other Crimson Tide runs scored in the seventh inning before Blackwell relieved Rawl. A hit batter and infield hit set up a two RBI double to cut the lead to 6-3 and Rawl then hit Allen Rice with a pitch, the third Alabama hit batter of the night. Blackwell came on to end the threat with two strikeouts.
Campbell singled to lead off the bottom of the second inning and scored the first Gamecock run. He singled in the third, doubled in the fifth and singled in the eighth for a perfect night at the plate and accounted for four of seven hits by the Gamecocks.
Alabama also had seven hits, two of them by Carlos Sosa. Mark Haske had a double.
Nick Richardson, Alabama's starting catcher, left the game with a leg injury after the second inning following a collision as Steve Pearce scored on a close play at the plate on the sacrifice fly by Gregg.
The illness by Buckner that moved Rawl up to the Friday night start placed the remainder of South Carolina's weekend pitching rotation in question.
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