USC Gamecocks Baseball

Gamecocks battle for walk-off win

Gamecocks coach Chad Holbrook talks walk-off win over Alabama

'We willed our way to this one,' Chad Holbrook says after win over Alabama.
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'We willed our way to this one,' Chad Holbrook says after win over Alabama.

South Carolina infielder Justin Row never had a walk-off hit in his baseball career when he stepped to the plate in the 10th inning of a tie game against Alabama Saturday night.

The junior college transfer picked a good time for his first.

With the bases loaded and one out, Row singled to left to score Hunter Taylor and lift the Gamecocks to a 6-5 win over Alabama in front of a sellout crowd of 8,242 fans at Founders Park.

The win by No. 7 USC (16-6, 4-1 SEC) ties the series at a game apiece with Game 3 slated for Sunday at noon.

“We found a way to win a huge, huge game and we’ll live to fight another day,” Gamecocks coach Chad Holbrook said. “I can’t say enough for Justin Row. … That was really, really good to see him step up in such a big moment for himself and for our team. I’m just thrilled that we found a way to win.”

Before getting an opportunity to be the hero, Row didn’t have an at-bat since March 11. He entered the game in the top of the 10th inning as a defensive replacement.

Ahead in the count, the California native lined the third pitch he saw just out of the reach of Crimson Tide left fielder Logan Carey, who made a diving attempt but was unable to come up with the ball.

“When it got to 2-0, I kind of figured with the bases loaded he was going to have to throw one in there,” Row said. “I saw it up and got a good swing on it and it got out there. … When he dove I was just making sure that he missed it. I turned around and saw the joy on everybody’s faces. It was awesome.”

It didn’t appear the Gamecocks would need any late heroics as South Carolina led 4-0 entering the top of the seventh inning. The Crimson Tide cut USC’s lead to 4-2 in the seventh and chased Carolina starter Wil Crowe from the game in the process.

Crowe threw 6 1/3 innings and allowed a pair of runs with five strikeouts before giving way to Josh Reagan. The USC lefty finished off the game, going the final 3 2/3 innings, but not without some tough stretches.

A sac fly in the eighth inning cut USC’s lead to 4-3 and Alabama tied the game in the ninth on a solo homer by Chandler Taylor.

Later in the frame, the Crimson Tide took a 5-4 lead as Chandler Avant bounced into a double play with runners on the corners and no outs and allowed the go-ahead run to score.

South Carolina tied the game in the bottom half of the ninth, rallying with two outs. After Bride drew a lead-off walk, the next two batters were retired before Bride advanced to second on a wild pitch and Danny Blair came in to pinch run.

Blair then advanced to third on a wild pitch and later scored on another wild pitch.

TJ Hopkins drove in a pair of runs for the Gamecocks, while LT Tolbert added three hits. Reagan improved to 3-0 despite allowing three runs.

USC will start ace Clarke Schmidt on the mound with a chance to win the series. This will be Schmidt’s first start since March 10 against Michigan State as he has been out with an oblique strain.

“I think he’s healthy and ready, and I think he’s very anxious to pitch and we’re anxious to put him out there,” Holbrook said, adding that there are no plans to limit his pitch count. “We’re just going to watch him and see. We’re not going in there saying he’s going to throw this amount of pitches. If he’s at 75 pitches and feels great we’re going to keep him in there. If he tells me at 35 or 40 that he’s a little tight we’ll get him out.”

South Carolina's Justin Row singled in the bottom of the 10th to lift USC to 6-5 win

Alabama

ab

r

h

rbi

bb

k

Avant ss

5

1

1

0

0

1

Kaufman dh

5

0

1

0

0

0

Vance 2b

2

0

0

0

2

0

Henry 1b

3

1

1

1

1

1

DeVinny c

3

0

1

0

1

1

Alexander rf

4

1

2

1

0

2

Carey lf

1

0

0

0

0

1

Taylor lf-rf

4

1

2

1

0

1

Short 3b

3

1

1

1

0

0

Wood cf

4

0

2

0

0

1

TOTALS

34

5

11

4

4

8

South Carolina

ab

r

h

rbi

bb

k

Hopkins cf

3

0

1

2

2

0

Bride 3b

3

0

0

0

2

0

Blair pr

0

1

0

0

0

0

Row 3b

1

0

1

1

0

0

Williams 1b

3

0

1

0

1

1

Destino lf

5

0

1

0

0

1

Cullen dh

2

1

1

0

2

0

Olson rf

5

2

1

0

0

2

Taylor c

4

2

1

1

1

1

Tolbert 2b

5

0

3

0

0

0

Stokes ss

4

0

0

1

1

1

TOTALS

35

6

10

5

9

6

Alabama

000

000

212

0

5

USC

000

301

001

1

6

E—Avant. DP—USC 2. LOB—Alabama 7; USC 13. 2B—Taylor; Short. HR—Taylor. HBP—Williams. SH—Vance; Webb; Cullen. SF—Henry; Short; Hopkins. SB—Hopkins 2; Cortes. CS—Hopkins; Stokes.

Alabama

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Duarte

5 1/3

7

4

2

3

2

Finnerty

2 1/3

1

0

0

2

1

Oczypok

 1/3

0

0

0

0

0

Vainer, L 0-2

1 1/3

2

2

2

4

3

USC

1P

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Crowe

6 1/3

5

2

2

2

5

Reagan, W 3-0

3 2/3

6

3

3

2

3

Umpires— HP: Scott Kennedy 1B: David Wiley 2B: Mayhue Edwards 3B: Jason Bradley.

T—3:50. A—8,242.

LATE FRIDAY

Alabama

ab

r

h

rbi

bb

k

Avant ss

5

0

0

0

0

1

Kaufman c

4

0

3

1

1

0

Vance 2b

4

0

1

0

1

0

Alexander rf

3

0

0

0

0

3

Carey lf

2

0

1

0

0

0

DeVinny dh

3

1

1

0

1

1

Trousdale ph

1

0

0

0

0

0

Taylor lf-rf

5

1

1

2

0

3

Short 3b

3

0

1

0

0

2

Henry 1b

3

1

2

1

1

0

Wood cf

4

1

0

0

0

2

TOTALS

37

4

10

4

4

12

South Carolina

ab

r

h

rbi

bb

k

Hopkins cf

5

1

2

0

0

1

Williams 1b

2

1

0

0

3

1

Destino lf

4

0

1

1

0

0

Cullen dh

4

0

1

1

0

2

Bride 3b

3

0

1

0

1

1

Olson rf

4

0

1

0

0

0

Tolbert 2b

4

0

0

0

0

1

Stokes ss

3

0

0

0

1

2

Taylor c

3

0

0

0

1

1

TOTALS

32

2

6

2

6

9

Alabama

001

200

001

4

USC

200

000

000

2

E—Williams. DP—Alabama 1. LOB—Alabama 11; USC 9. HR—Taylor; Henry. HBP—Short. SB—Wright; Wood. CS—Henry.

Alabama

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Waters, W 4-2

5 1/3

5

2

2

6

4

Suchey, S 2

3 2/3

1

0

0

0

5

USC

1P

H

R

ER

BB

SO

Hill, L 1-3

6

8

3

3

1

9

Scott

1 1/3

0

0

0

2

1

Bowers

1 2/3

2

1

0

1

2

Umpires— HP: Jason Bradley 1B: Scott Kennedy 2B: David Wiley 3B: Mayhue Edwards.

T—3:22. A—6,727.

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