Gamecocks Fall To Crimson Tide 10-5|
April 27, 2007
Tuscaloosa, Ala. - Alabama erupted for eight runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to break a 2-2 tie on its way to a 10-5 win over South Carolina on Friday evening in game one of a three-game SEC baseball series. The Crimson Tide improves to 24-19 and 9-10 in league play while the loss drops Carolina to 32-12 and 10-9 in the conference. Both teams meet for game two of the series on Saturday with first pitch scheduled for 5 pm ET.
Alabama starting pitcher Tommy Hunter earned the win to improve to 5-3 on the year. He worked 6.1 innings and allowed five runs on six hits and had five strikeouts to six walks allowed. Carolina starting pitcher Harris Honeycutt worked five-plus innings and allowed four runs on five hits to suffer a loss. He is now 7-3 on the year. He struck out five batters while walking two in the game.
With the score tied at two apiece in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Crimson Tide sent 12 batters to the plate and tallied seven hits and eight runs against three Gamecock pitchers. Alex Avila led off the frame with a single to right field and would advance to second base on an infield single by Kent Matthes down the third base line. With a pair of runners on base, the Gamecocks brought in reliever Will Atwood for Honeycutt. Atwood would walk Matt Bentley to load the bases with no outs. Still tied at two apiece, the Crimson Tide took the lead on a first pitch RBI single up the middle from Brandon May that scored a pair of runners. After a sacrifice bunt, Greg Paiml drove in the third run of the inning for Bama with a single to right field against a drawn in infield for Carolina. The Tide went ahead 6-2 then on Kyle Moore's RBI squeeze bunt. Emeel Salem continued the Crimson Tide's scoring then with a two-out RBI single. The bases would then load again for the Tide as Brandon Belcher doubled followed by a hit by pitch to Avila. With reliever Curtis Johnson in the ballgame with the bases loaded, Matthes delivered again for the Crimson Tide with a double to right center scoring all three runners and giving Bama a commanding eight-run lead.
South Carolina bounced back in the top of the seventh and looked to mount a rally against Hunter. The Gamecocks got a leadoff single from Phil Disher and one-out walks to Cheyne Hurst and Reese Havens to load the bases. Carolina scored their first run of the inning with a RBI walk issued to pinch hitter Robbie Grinestaff. Hunter would continue to have control problems as he hit Travis Jones to give Carolina its second run of the inning. South Carolina put its third run across then on another walk, this one to James Darnell that ended the night for Hunter. With the bases still loaded and one out, the Crimson Tide summoned left-handed reliever Will Stroup to the hill to face Carolina's cleanup hitter Justin Smoak. Stroup was able to get Smoak to pop out to the third baseman Jake Smith and then got a groundout against Trent Kline to limit the damage and keep the Crimson Tide ahead by five runs. Stroup would end up working 2.2 scoreless innings allowing just one hit to pick up a save, his second of the year.
Alex Avila, Kent Matthes and Greg Paiml each had two hits to lead the Crimson Tide who finished with a 10-7 hit advantage. Jones and Andrew Crisp each had two hits to lead Carolina at the plate. Jones also had a pair of RBI. South Carolina has gone seven straight games with less than 10 hits at the plate.
South Carolina had an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Jones and James Darnell each singled and Justin Smoak walked to load the bases with one out. Trent Kline drove in Carolina's first run of the game with a sacrifice fly to right field to score Jones.
The Crimson Tide tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the third inning. After retiring the first six batters of the game, Honeycutt allowed a leadoff walk to Jake Smith and Greg Paiml bunted for a base hit to give Alabama a pair of runners with no outs. After a sacrifice bunt, the Tide tied the game on a sacrifice fly from Emeel Salem. Alabama went ahead 2-1 in the bottom of the fourth inning on a solo home run from Alex Avila to right field. It was Avila's eighth of the season. The Gamecocks would tie the game in the top of the sixth on a solo homer from Jones, his 12th of the season.
Live audio broadcast and live stats are available at uscsports.com and the Gamecock Radio Network with Tommy Moody and Tom Price calling the action.