Alabama fell to South Carolina in Sunday’s series rubber match, dropping a 2-0 decision to take its first series loss in conference play this season.

Alabama (38-4, 8-4 SEC) struggled offensively for the second-straight game, going scoreless for the first time this season while leaving 11 runners on base. South Carolina (28-11, 5-9 SEC) scored its two runs in the first inning on a two-run home run. Junior Sarah Cornell (15-1) took the loss in the start, throwing 1.1 innings, but junior Krystal Goodman held the Gamecock offense in check with a stellar relief effort behind her, throwing 4.2 shutout innings with just one hit allowed and six strikeouts.

South Carolina took the first lead of the game on a two-run home run from Jana Johns in the bottom of the first. Alabama loaded the bases in the next half-inning, with a potential grand slam dying on the warning track just feet in front of the wall for the final out. A one-out double from the Gamecocks in the bottom of the second prompted a pitching change as junior Krystal Goodman entered in the early relief opportunity. A walk put two on base but a fly out and strikeout got the Tide out of the inning still facing a two-run deficit.

The pitching and defense took over from that point on, with neither team able to scratch a run across. In the top of the sixth, senior Reagan Dykes drew a leadoff walk and starting designated player Cayla Drotar moved in to pitch for the Gamecocks. With freshman pinch-runner Kloyee Anderson at first for Dykes, sophomore Maddie Morgan found the gap in left field for a double as the Tide now had two runners in scoring position with nobody out. Alabama couldn’t capitalize on the opportunity however, as a pair of groundouts and a strikeout stranded them at second and third.

South Carolina couldn’t add to its 2-0 lead in the bottom of the sixth and Alabama would bring the potential tying run to the plate in the top of the seventh but could not score as the Gamecocks held on for the shutout victory and the series win.

Next up, Alabama plays four games at home next week starting Wednesday, April 10 against Georgia State at 6 p.m. CT.

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