It took 12 innings and some luck, but South Carolina avoided being swept on Saturday in Tuscaloosa with a narrow victory over Alabama.
The Gamecocks got on the board first, taking a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Noah Campbell led off with a base hit, then scored when TJ Hopkins singled with one out and the Crimson Tide made a two-base error. Hopkins then came home on an RBI single by Luke Berryhill.
USC added two more runs in the next inning. Chris Cullen doubled to start things off, Brady Allen followed with a single but was out on a steal attempt, and Campbell walked to put two on with two outs. George Callil and Hopkins then both came through with an RBI base hit to make it 4-0.
Alabama ended the shutout in the third inning with a two-run double from Keith Holcombe that made the score 4-2. Both teams had a few scoring chances throughout the middle and late innings, but that score held until the top of the 12th inning, when the Gamecocks got a little help from the Tide. With one out, Hopkins walked, stole second, and advanced on a wild pitch. Jacob Olson walked after that and another wild pitch advanced them both, bringing Hopkins home, and the Tide had no answer in the bottom of the inning.
South Carolina starter Cam Tringali worked 4.1 innings and allowed four hits and four runs. He walked one batter and struck out two. TJ Shook and Brett Kerry combined to go the rest of the way, and Kerry earned the win, making him 3-1. Alabama reliever Deacon Medders took the loss and is now 2-2. To the Crimson Tide’s pitching staff’s credit, they didn’t give up a hit after the fourth inning. Fortunately for the Gamecocks, Alabama’s pitchers did give up walks and wild pitches and hit multiple batters. Also fortunate for USC was a stellar play made in the field by Callil in the 10th inning which, if he hadn’t made it, probably would’ve allowed the Tide to win.
The Gamecocks improve to 19-13 overall and 3-9 in conference play, while Alabama is now 22-11 overall and 4-8 in the SEC. South Carolina will be back in action on Tuesday, when they host Charlotte. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Founders Park.