Standout Pitching Paired with Two Homers Power Alabama Baseball Past No. 7 South Carolina, 4-2
Alabama baseball used a standout pitching performance paired with two home runs to secure the 4-2, series-opening win over seventh-ranked South Carolina at Founders Park on Friday evening. The victory was the Crimson Tide’s first in conference play this season and moves the overall record to 12-10.
"I’m just really proud of the way our team came out and played on the road against the No. 7 team in the country,” said Alabama head coach Greg Goff. “Our guys were resilient and competed all evening to put together a complete game across all 27 outs for the win.”
The Tide pitching duo of starter Jake Walters (4-2) and reliever Garrett Suchey tag-teamed for the Alabama win on Friday, while Cody Henry and Chandler Taylor each homered to give UA three of the team’s four runs in the victory.
SC recorded just two hits over the final eight innings after notching four to start the day in the first. Walters grinded through 5.1 innings of two-run baseball, allowing five hits and issuing six walks while striking out four Gamecock hitters across 108 pitches. The Tide starter allowed four of five hits and both of his runs in the first inning without recording an out, but went on to throw 5.1 scoreless frames, giving up just one hit the rest of his night. Suchey followed with 3.2 scoreless, allowing one hit while striking out five for his second save of the season.
Alabama’s offense was highlighted by a pair of home runs from Henry and Taylor. Henry tallied a solo homer, his fourth of the season, in the top of the third inning, as part of his 2-for-3 night with an RBI and a run scored. The two-run shot from Taylor in the fourth put the Crimson Tide in front for good. Taylor’s home run was his first of conference play and his team-high sixth on the season.
South Carolina staked itself to an early 2-0 lead with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first on Friday. The leadoff man singled to start the game before moving all the way to third on a wild pitch. A walk in the next at-bat put runners on the corners for SC, before a single to right scored the game’s first run. One more single followed to push the lead to two runs after one full.
The Crimson Tide used a pair of home runs across the third and fourth innings to take a 3-2 lead. Henry provided Alabama’s first run of the night, sending a solo home run to left in the top of the third to make it a 2-1 contest. In the next inning, a two-out single from Tanner DeVinny placed one on for Chandler Taylor, who went deep to right and over the wall to move Alabama in front, 3-2.
Alabama’s arms continued to shut down the SC offense from that point on. The tandem of Walters and Suchey allowed just four walks and one single from the fourth inning on. UA added an insurance run in the top of the ninth, starting with Gene Wood reaching on an error. Wood then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Kyle Kaufman followed with his third hit of the night, a single to right, scoring Wood from third to make it a 4-2 game. Kaufman led the Tide in hits on Friday, finishing a career-best 3-for-4 with an RBI.
The two teams square off for game two of the series tomorrow at 3 p.m. CT at Founders Park. Alabama is scheduled to throw sophomore left-hander Dylan Duarte while the Gamecocks look to junior righty Wil Crowe. The game can be seen live on SEC Network+.