TUSCALOOSA, AL (WIS) - Nathan Kilcrease hurled a complete game five-hitter and a two-run single by Brett Booth scored a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the first as Alabama held on for a 2-1 win over second ranked South Carolina on Thursday evening in game one of a three-game SEC baseball series at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Carolina is now 42-12 and 20-8 in the SEC with Alabama improving to 32-22 and 14-14 in league play.
Both Kilcrease and Gamecock starter Michael Roth were solid in their starts. After giving up the first two runs in the top of the first, Roth held the Crimson Tide in check the rest of the way. He would end up going 5.2 innings allowing six hits while striking out four batters and walking four as well. He is now 10-3 on the year. Kilcrease allowed one run, unearned, on five hits with five strikeouts and three walks. He is now 6-4 for the season.
Alabama would get both unearned runs in the bottom of the first inning. Taylor Dugas singled, Brock Bennett reached base then as Roth misplayed Bennett's sacrifice bunt and Brett Whitaker walked with two outs to load the bases. Roth With the bags full and a 2-0 pitch, Brett Booth knocked a RBI double into the gap in right-center scoring a pair of runners.
It remained that way until the fifth inning when Carolina made a move on the Crimson Tide. Steven Neff would reach base on a one-out error by Alabama first baseman Austen Smith. A walk to Peter Mooney and a single by Scott Wingo loaded the bases. On a 0-1 pitch, Christian Walker drilled Kilcrease offering to deep left field and just missed a grand slam as the ball bounced off the wall in left field on the fly. On the play, Neff scored but the ball took a perfect bounce off the wall into the hands of left fielder Hunter Gregory who was able to get a relay into the shortstop Jared Reaves, who threw home and gunned down Peter Mooney at home plate to hold the Gamecocks from tying the game up. A Brady Thomas fly out to center field would end the inning and the Carolina threat.
Carolina threatened two more times with runners in scoring position as they had runners on first and second with two outs in the sixth, but Kilcrease worked out of it with a strikeout on Neff. In the eighth inning, Jake Williams was hit by a pitch and made it to second base but Kilcrease battled and struck out Evan Marzilli to keep the Crimson Tide ahead by a run. He would work a perfect ninth inning to seal Alabama's win over the Gamecocks.
Walker was 2-for-4 with a RBI to lead Carolina at the plate. Dugas went 2-for-2 and Gregory had two hits as well to lead the Crimson Tide.