Tide scratches out Game 2 victory

One inning is all it takes for Alabama as starting pitcher handcuffs USC's bats

Special to The StateMay 1, 2010 

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Starting pitcher No. 20 Sam Dyson throws during the top of the first inning.

RICH GLICKSTEIN/RGLICKSTEIN@THESTATE.COM

In his past two starts, Sam Dyson had not given up an earned run over 13 1/3 innings.

He could have extended that streak if not for a disastrous second inning in the Gamecocks' 6-4 loss to Alabama on Saturday at Carolina Stadium.

The junior right-hander only allowed one hard-hit ball in the inning, but the Crimson Tide was able to get six hits and five runs on the board.

"They were just putting the bat on the ball," said Dyson, who had a season-high 10 strikeouts. "I was making pretty good pitches. I'd rather get hit hard (than give up dink hits)."

No. 7 South Carolina (33-9, 15-5) will try to extend their SEC series victory streak to seven in today's game at 1:30 p.m. Jay Brown (2-0, 4.22) will throw for the Gamecocks. Alabama (28-16, 9-11) has yet to name a starter.

Alabama's second-inning rally started with one out. Jake Smith and Andrew Miller singled before Cody Trotter doubled off the wall in right-center to score Smith.

Cal Tinsley followed with a bloop single that fell between three USC players to score Miller. Taylor Dugas followed with a RBI single to leftfield to score Trotter, and Josh Rutledge hit a bloop two-run single into right field that scored Dugas and Tinsley.

"I think you have to give credit to Alabama," USC coach Ray Tanner said. "They found a way to get some hits in that inning. A couple of them weren't hit that well, but they look line drives in the book."

South Carolina jumped to a 2-0 lead in the first. Whit Merrifield and Christian Walker reached on infield singles before Parker Bangs drove both home with a double down the left-field line.

The Gamecocks had a chance to score in the third on another double by Bangs off the wall in center. Walker tried to score from first. but the relay beat Walker to the plate for the third out.

"We were taking a chance of maybe getting a bad throw," Tanner said. "Dugas really got that ball off the wall. It came right back to him."

Bangs and Walker were the only USC hitters that could solve Alabama starter Adam Morgan. Bangs hit three doubles, becoming the 22nd player in school history to accomplish the feat, and Walker went 3-for-4 with a two-run homer in the eighth.

The left-handed Morgan held the USC left-handed hitters to a 0-for-14 performance.

"He was keeping everybody off-balance," Bangs said. "He was keeping the ball low and mixing up his pitches. He was locating pretty well with all three so when somebody is doing that, it's tough to get to a guy that is locating three pitches at the same time."

Tanner thought both pitchers pitched well, but Morgan proved to be the difference.

"We got the two runs early and he kind of stuffed us in the middle innings," Tanner said. "It was a well-pitched game by both guys with the exception of one inning each."

Alabama coach Mitch Gaspard was impressed with Morgan as well.

"The number one thing for him was command and his last two or three starts, his command has been shaky," Gaspard said. "He really kept them off balance and cruised from fourth through the seventh inning."

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