The Crimson Tide baseball team evened their season record at 25-25 with a thrilling, walk-off victory over Jacksonville State on Tuesday night. The win broke a three-game losing streak versus the Gamecocks covering the 2017 and 2018 seasons. ‘Bama finished the non conference portion of their schedule with a 19-7 record, including 9-4 in midweek contests. Against in-state teams the record is even at 7 up and 7 down.
Mason Duke got the start on the mound and after a scoreless first inning was staked to a 5-0 lead by his teammates. A three run double from John Trousdale, an RBI single by Matt Malkin, and a JSU error plated the runs for the Tide. Sam Praytor and Chandler Avant added singles in the inning.
The Gamecocks jumped right back into the game in the top of the second, sending nine men to the plate and scoring four times. Chase Robinson’s two-run home run was the big blow, and the ‘Cocks took advantage of some sloppy defense by the home team to draw within one run.
The Tide built on the lead in the third with two runs. Praytor led off with his third home run of the season. Keith Holcombe was hit by a pitch with one out, and advanced to third on another double by Trousdale. Matt Malkin hit a sacrifice fly to left to score Holcombe, but the inning ended as Trousdale was thrown out trying to get back to second base.
JSU responded in the top of the fourth with two runs on a triple and two singles off of Dylan Duarte, who replaced Duke to start the inning. The triple by Chase Robinson was a routine single, but Hunter Alexander slipped down in right field and the ball made it all the way to the fence.
The Gamecocks made it all the way back in the sixth, scoring twice off of Brock Guffey to take the lead. Jacksonville used a lead off single, a balk, a fielder’s choice, and a single that caromed off of Avant at second base to score their two runs.
Austin Brewster and Christian Edwards did yeomen work out of the bullpen for the visitors, going 5.2 hitless innings, allowing only four walks to Bama from the end of the second inning through the end of the eighth inning. Closer Trent Simpson came on in the ninth to try and give the Gamecocks the season sweep of the Tide.
After a pop out for out one, Cobie Vance singled for the first Bama hit since the second inning. Jeaux Breaux walked to put the winning run on base. A strikeout of Chandler Avant brought Praytor to the plate as the Tide’s last chance. On a 1-1 pitch the freshman catcher lined a ball just inside the third base bag, easily scoring Vance and sending a sprinting Breaux sliding home to beat the throw and take the 9-8 win.
The Tide collected eight hits, walked six times, got hit by two pitches. struck out six times, and stranded five runners. The Gamecocks had 12 hits, walked three times, struck out 14 times and stranding nine runners. Praytor had three hits and three runs driven in, while Trousdale had two hits and three RBI. Malkin drove in two runs. Sam Gardner pitched a perfect ninth inning and was the winning pitcher, running his record to 3-2 on the year.
As has been their MO all season the Tide had peaks and valleys throughout the game, starting fast, then going dormant, before finishing fast. One thing, however, they never give up, fighting until the end. The season hasn’t gone as they wished, but they come to the park ready to play every day. With 25 wins overall the team has long surpassed last year’s 19 wins, and with six SEC wins they have bested the 2017 team’s five conference wins.
Who Did What ?
- Sam Praytor 3-5, Home run (3), double, two runs, three RBI, game winning hit. Since moving to the cleanup spot 7 games ago, the Tide catcher has hit .400 (10-25) with 2 home runs and 5 RBI.
- John Trousdale 2-3, two doubles, three RBI, BB, Run
- Matt Malkin 1-2, two RBI, SF, BB
- Davis Vainer 2 IP, 1 hit, 0 BB, 5 strikeouts
What’s Next ?
Two SEC series left. The team travels to Baton Rouge this weekend and then hosts Ole Miss to finish out the year. This weekend the games are Friday at 7 p.m. on SEC Network Plus, Saturday at 7 p.m. on The SEC Network, and Sunday at 2 p.m on SEC Network Plus.
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