Wild pitch leads Alabama to 4-3 win over South Carolina

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A 3-3 tie was broken up in the bottom of the eighth on a wild pitch to score Evan Sleight and put Alabama ahead 4-3. (UA Athletics)

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama baseball clawed back from an early deficit for a 4-3 win over 10th-ranked South Carolina on Thursday evening at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. With the victory, the 15th-ranked Crimson Tide improves to 20-6 overall and 3-4 in Southeastern Conference play.

South Carolina gained the early advantage with a two-run first. The Tide was able to cut the lead in half with a single tally in the fifth, only to be answered by SC with one run in the top of the seventh to move the lead back to two. Following the stretch, Alabama evened things up with a two-run seventh, highlighted by a game-tying RBI-double from TJ McCants. The Crimson Tide then took the lead for good in the eighth, when a two-out wild pitch with runners on the corners brought Evan Sleight across for the go-ahead and eventual game-winning run.

Alton Davis II (2-1) got the win, entering in the eighth and getting out of a bases-loaded jam before recording the final three outs in the ninth. He allowed one hit and issued a walk while striking out a pair in his 1.1 innings of work. Prior to Davis II, the Tide used a trio of freshman arms in Zane Adams, Matthew Heiberger and Tyler Fay. Adams highlighted the group, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks with four strikeouts across 4.0 innings of work in his first SEC start of the season.

Alabama’s offense posted 10 hits, led by 2-for-4 showings from Ian Petrutz, Justin Lebron and Kade Snell. Snell added a double and a run scored to his line.

From Head Coach Rob Vaughn

“It wasn’t the prettiest win, but they don’t all have to be. It’s about being gritty. I told the boys after that game that I want to be the grittiest and toughest group on the field, and I thought we showed a lot of toughness and resiliency out there tonight. It was a great start to the weekend, but we got two more big games ahead of us.”

How It Happened

  • T1 | A pair of doubles and a walk led to two runs for the Gamecocks. (2-0, South Carolina)
  • B5 | Kade Snell split the gap in right for a leadoff double. After a single and groundout advanced him all the way to third, the Tide’s designated hitter scored on a wild pitch. (2-1, South Carolina)
  • T7 | Gavin Casas hit a solo homer to right to add to the lead for SC. (3-1, South Carolina)
  • B7 | William Hamiter started the rally with a pinch-hit double to left. After a flyout advanced him to third, a Mac Guscette groundout scored Hamiter and cut the deficit to one. With two away in the inning, Gage Miller drew his second walk of the day to set the stage for TJ McCants, who delivered with an RBI-double off the wall in right. (3-3)
  • B8 | Evan Sleight led off the inning with a single through the right side. After back-to-back singles from Justin Lebron and Snell moved Sleight to third, the Tide’s captain came in to score on a wild pitch. (4-3, Alabama)

Postgame Notes

  • The Crimson Tide posted its ninth comeback win of the season.
  • The Tide pitching staff tallied 10 strikeouts and has notched double-digit punchouts in 13 games this season.
  • Alabama totaled 10 hits and has recorded double-digit hits in 19 of 26 contests, including four SEC matchups.
  • With his 2-for-4 night, Kade Snell has now recorded a hit in six consecutive games. Over that streak, the junior is batting .429 (9-21) with a double, three home runs, eight RBI, six runs scored and a pair of walks.
  • Gage Miller has reached base safely in all 25 games that he has played in.
  • Ian Petrutz has reached base in 14 consecutive games.
  • ATTENDANCE: 3,750

Alabama and South Carolina will meet for game two of the series on Friday evening at The Joe. The Crimson Tide will call on junior right-hander Ben Hess while the Gamecocks counter with redshirt junior Dylan Eskew, also a righty. Game two is set for a 6 p.m. CT start with the contest airing on SEC Network+.