April 24, 2004
Columbia, S.C. - Alabama rallied with a six run ninth inning Sunday, including a grand slam by Mark Haske followed by a solo homer by Carlos Sosa, to defeat South Carolina 7-4 and even a Southeastern Conference baseball series at one game apiece.
The rubber game is scheduled for 1:30 p.m., Sunday at Sarge Frye Field. Brent Carter, 6-3, picked up the win and Chad Blackwell, who retired eight consecutive Alabama batters to save South Carolina's 6-3 Friday win, was the victim of the ninth inning Crimson Tide uprising and took the loss. His record dropped to 2-3.
Alabama improved to 24-17 overall. 6-11 in the SEC. South Carolina dropped to 28-11, 8-9. The game drew a crowd of 4,121.
South Carolina freshman left-hander Arik Hempy took a 4-0 shutout into the seventh inning in his first collegiate start . He had a 2-1 record in 15 relief appearances. Hempy allowed a run in the seventh and left with a 4-1 lead. Blackwell relieved Cliff Donald and retired the first two batters he faced to pitch out of an eighth inning jam but the roof fell in on him in the ninth.
Allen Rice singled to open the fateful Tide ninth inning and moved to second on a ground out by Michael McCallister. Rice scored on a single by Zac Welch to cut the South Carolina lead to 4-2. Pinch hitter Ryan Beagle walked and an infield hit by pinch hitter Matt Grooms loaded the bases. Haske cleared them with his first career home run and Sosa followed with his fourth of the season to complete the six run rally.
South Carolina led 4-0 on a first inning sacrifice fly by Landon Powell, a fielder's choice RBI in the fourth that drove in Powell, who had doubled, and a two run sixth inning home run by Brendan Winn, his 11th.
Alabama finished with 13 hits, five of them in the ninth inning. Haske, Sosa, McCallister and Zac Welch had two each. South Carolina had nine hits, two by Powell. Bryan Triplett and Michael Campbell.
Left-hander Brandon Belcher, the Alabama starter, worked six innings before being relieved by Carter, who allowed only one hit over the final three innings. Belcher allowed eight hits and all four South Carolina runs.
There were several outstanding plays by the South Carolina defense. In the first inning Eva Bush doubled with two outs and Gabe Scott singled but Campbell, the Gamecock left fielder, threw Bush out attempting to score on the play. In the fourth inning Powell, the Gamecock catcher, picked Greg Paiml off second base. In the eighth Powell completed a strikeout, throw out double play when Bush struck out and Haske was out attempting to steal third base.
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