No. 5 Gamecocks sweep series from Crimson Tide

No. 5 South Carolina scored at least one run each of the first five innings with Evan Marzilli, Joey Pankake and LB Dantzler all driving in two runs apiece as the Gamecocks defeated Alabama 9-1 on Saturday afternoon to sweep a three-game SEC series in front of a sellout crowd or 8,242 fans at Carolina Stadium.

The Gamecocks are 33-11 and 14-7 in league play with Alabama dropping to 17-28 and 6-15 in the conference. South Carolina has won five consecutive SEC series as well as 11 straight conference games.

South Carolina received a good start from junior right-hander Patrick Sullivan, who allowed just one run on four hits in four-plus innings of work in his first start of the season. Junior left-hander Nolan Belcher followed with 3.1 scoreless innings of relief to pick up his second win of the series and improve to 4-2 for the year. He struck out four batters.

Junior right-hander Hunter Privette closed the game out with 1.2 perfect innings with two strikeouts. Alabama starter Justin Kamplain suffered the loss and is now 1-4 for the season. He allowed seven runs, six earned, on eight hits in 3.2 innings with three walks and a strikeout.

The Gamecocks broke ahead 2-0 in the bottom of the first inning. After Christian Walker reached base on a walk, Grayson Greiner roped a double to deep left-center scoring Walker from first base. Pankake ripped another double down the third base line scoring Greiner as the Gamecocks took an early two-run lead.

Both teams traded runs in the second inning. Sullivan escaped major damage with the bases loaded and no outs as he induced a 6-4-3 double play to limit the Crimson Tide to just one run. South Carolina also loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the second inning. Marzilli would tally a sacrifice fly to score a run for the Gamecocks and give the Gamecocks a 3-1 lead.

The Gamecocks increased the lead to 4-1 in the bottom of the third inning as LB Dantzler stepped in and slammed a home run to deep right-center, continuing his solid hitting from last weekend. The home run was Dantzler’s eight of the season that ties him for the team lead with Walker.

Carolina extended the advantage to 7-1 in the fourth inning. With one out, Marzilli stole second base and reached third on a throwing error by Alabama catcher Brett Booth. Walker belted a RBI single down the third base line to score Marzilli. Pankake would add a RBI single and Dantzler drove in a run with a sac fly giving the Gamecocks a six-run cushion.

South Carolina scored twice more in the fifth inning as Marzilli knocked in a run with a RBI fielder’s choice with Martin collecting his first RBI with the Gamecocks’ third sacrifice fly for the afternoon.

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