Eighth-ranked South Carolina belted out 17 hits on the way to a 9-3 victory over eighth-ranked Alabama on Sunday afternoon at Carolina Stadium. The 17 hits are the most the Gamecocks have had in an SEC game this season. The win lifts South Carolina to 34-11 and 12-9 in the league while the loss drops Alabama to 29-15 and 13-8 in SEC play.
Kyle Martin led the Gamecocks at the plate, finishing the game 4-for 5 with a pair of RBI and a run scored. Eight of nine position starters recorded at least one hit with Marcus Mooney and Jordan Gore accounting for three apiece.
Junior right-hander Cody Mincey earned the win in relief and is now 4-0 on the year. Mincey worked 1.2 scoreless innings, allowing just one hit and striking out one batter. Joel Seddon added 2.1 scoreless innings to earn his 12th save of the season. Nick Eicholtz suffers the loss for the Crimson Tide after pitching 3.2 innings of relief and falls to 2-1 on the year.
South Carolina got on the board first with two runs in the first inning. Marcus Mooney opened the frame with a base hit and was sacrificed over to second by Gene Cone. With a runner in scoring position, Joey Pankake knocked a 0-1 pitch to deep right-center for a double and brought home Mooney. Kyle Martin followed with a RBI single to right field that scored Pankake.
The Gamecocks increased their lead to 3-0 in the bottom of the fourth. Taylor Widener drew a leadoff walk, advanced to second on DC Arendas’ groundout and scored on Jordan Gore’s single up the middle.
Alabama evened the score with a three-run fifth inning. Kyle Overstreet and Austen Smith began the inning with a single and a double, respectively and a one-out walk to Mitch Greer loaded the bases. Chance Vincent reached base on a fielder’s choice, driving in Overstreet and Mikey White followed with a single up the middle to score Smith. Georgie Salem drove in Vincent for the final run of the inning with a single through the left side.
The Gamecocks broke the tie with three runs in the sixth inning. Arendas led off with a walk and English reached base with one out on a hit by pitch. With two outs and runners on second and third, Gene Cone ripped a two-out single to center field scoring both runners. Pankake then drew a walk, moving Cone to second and Martin would bring Cone home with a RBI single to center field.
Four consecutive base hits with a RBI from Mooney pushed across another run for the Garnet and Black in the bottom of the seventh, increasing the Gamecocks’ lead to 7-3.
South Carolina plated two more runs, taking a 9-3 lead in the eighth inning. After Martin singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch, Grayson Greiner drove him in crushing a 2-2 pitch to right center for a double. Greiner continued to third on Widener’s sacrifice bunt and came home off Arendas’ RBI single.
“That was a big win for us and obviously this was an important game,” said South Carolina head coach Chad Holbrook. “I don’t know if I could be more proud of my team than I am right now. We have had some adversity and we have kept battling and competing. I think we played our best baseball of the year today in our biggest game of the year. When you do those things, you make your coach proud. I think our biggest hit of the game was Gene Cone’s two-out single. We played so well through the first four innings then Alabama punched us in the gut, sucked the energy out of our dugout and we thought, ‘here we go again.’ Then that big three run sixth inning was huge for us. Gene with the big hit there with runners on second and third, that hit put us in a great position to win. Wil Crowe was really good for four innings; I think he was bringing his best stuff of the year. Then that darn fifth inning for young pitchers is sometimes a big hurdle to get over but we left him in there and he got through it. When he walked that first batter in the sixth inning on four pitches, I thought we would turn it over to our bullpen and they were fresh since we did not have to use them too much yesterday. It was a big win for our team and I am proud of my them.”
The Gamecocks return to action Friday, May 2 as they travel to Georgia for a three-game SEC series with the Bulldogs. First pitch for the opener is set for 7 p.m. at Foley Field. The game is available on the Gamecock IMG Network including flagship station, 107.5 FM, “The Game.”