Alabama Baseball Falls to No. 10 South Carolina on Friday, 4-2
Alabama baseball suffered a 4-2 loss to 10th-ranked South Carolina on Friday evening at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Gamecocks took the series with the win and the Crimson Tide moved to 31-23 on the season and 15-14 in conference play.
“Other than (the home runs), I thought Jake was as solid as he’s been all year,” said Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard. “He was around plate. He had a pretty nice pitch count in the middle part of the game, and he wasn’t laboring at all. He did a nice job. That’s just the typical SEC game, you’ve got really good arms out there, and it’s kind of who can scratch for some runs. Certainly, if you can leave the yard a couple times, you’ve got a real advantage to win the game.”
Alabama starter Jake Walters worked 7.0 innings and allowed four runs on eight hits, two of which were home runs. The homers were Walters’ first two allowed during conference play and his first since Feb. 20 against Maryland. Outside of the pair of homers, Walters was sharp, striking out six and allowing only one walk. He has now recorded at least five strikeouts in 11 of his 13 starts this season.
South Carolina started the night’s scoring, using three straight two-out singles to make it a 1-0 game after the top of the first. The Tide bounced right back with one of its own in the bottom of the frame thanks to a Georgie Salem home run, his fifth of the season. The homer also marked the sixth consecutive game Alabama has recorded at least one home run, its longest stretch of the season.
Walters retired 10 straight after the two-out single to score the game’s first run, but South Carolina would add a pair in the fifth. A leadoff walk was followed by a two-run home run, the first homer in conference play that Walters has issued all season, to make it a 3-1 advantage for SC. The Gamecocks homered a second time, this one a solo shot, in the top of the sixth to extend the lead to 4-1.
Alabama made it a 4-2 game with one run in the bottom of the eighth. A leadoff double and then a one-out walk put two on. One out later, pinch-hitter Connor Short drew a walk to load the bases and then senior Ryan Blanchard followed with a walk of his own to bring one across. The Tide was unable to cross any more in the eighth, and a two-out single in the bottom of the ninth did no damage as Gamecock closer Tyler Johnson locked down his eighth save of the season after recording the final out.
The two teams will close out the regular season tomorrow with a 2 p.m. CT game. Alabama is scheduled to throw senior left-hander Jon Keller, while South Carolina will counter with freshman righty Adam Hill. The game can be seen on SECN+.