TUSCALOOSA, Ala. | An error in the bottom of the first along with a complete game from Alabama’s Nathan Kilcrease proved to be the difference as No. 3 South Carolina dropped a 2-1 decision to Alabama on Thursday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
Alabama’s Brock Bennett laid down a bunt to help move Taylor Dugas to second but a throwing error by Gamecocks pitcher Michael Roth left both runners on base.
“He had in his mind that he would get a force at second, so he was a little bit over-anxious and created an error,” South Carolina coach Ray Tanner said.
The lefty then walked a batter and, with the bases loaded, Crimson Tide third baseman Brett Booth knocked in two runners with a double.
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“I think that the fact that they scored two runs in the first, you get a little dejected,” Tanner said. “That’s part of baseball. You have to bounce back from that. You get a little frustrated at times, but that’s what this game will do to you. “
Roth went 5 2/3 innings, giving up no earned runs and striking out four.
The Gamecocks came away with one run in the fifth inning after loading the bases. First baseman Christian Walker hit the ball off the wall to bring in Steven Neff, but Peter Mooney was thrown out at the plate.
“It was a tough play,” Tanner said. “Walker hits the daylights out of one and it comes right off the wall to the left-fielder for the relay. That’s baseball. I think Mooney actually did what he was supposed to, which was go halfway. That’s part of the game.”
Walker finished with two of South Carolina’s five hits. The Gamecocks had many more that looked to be heading out of the park before dropping in the Crimson Tide outfielders’ gloves.
“If you hit it in the corner, you got a pretty good chance,” Tanner said. “If you hit it out in the alleys and toward center, you have to really juice it or it’s going to stay in.”
Adrian Morales went 0-for-4 on Thursday but said what the team will have to do to bounce back is simple.
“We just got to come out swinging and battle harder than we did today,” he said. “I’m sure they’ve got a good guy going for them and we got one of our guys going for us, so we just have to compete and put some runs on the board.”
South Carolina will also look to make up ground in the jumbled SEC East Division. The Gamecocks (42-12, 20-8) sit in second place after Florida took a 9-6 win over Kentucky and Vanderbilt dropped a 5-4 decision to Georgia.
Game two of the series is at 7:35 p.m. EST Friday. Scheduled starters are USC's Forrest Koumas (5-0, 3.17) and Alabama's Adam Morgan (5-4, 3.89).