Row the hero as Gamecocks walk-off against Alabama

Collyn Taylor, GamecockCentral.com
Gamecock Central

Off the bench as a pinch runner, inserted into a tie game after not playing all weekend and Justin Row delivered.

After the Gamecocks squandered a four-run lead only to rallying in the ninth, Row gave the Gamecocks a 6-5 win Saturday, lacing a walk-off, bases-loaded single to left to even the series heading into Sunday.

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Trailing 4-0 with one out in the sixth, Alabama plated two runs on a RBI single before cutting the lead to 4-2 on a sac fly.

After a sac fly cut the lead to one, the Tide used a mammoth solo home run from Chandler Taylor to tie the game and a run-scoring double play to take the lead, both off reliever Josh Reagan.

It would be short-lived, as the Gamecocks, down to their final out, would score a run on a wild pitch to tie the game at five and force extras.

In extras, Reagan would bow his neck getting a big-time pickoff and strikeout to end the inning, leaving the field after a massive fist pump.

He was only outdone by Row as he Gamecocks (16-6, 4-1 SEC) get their first walk-off win this season.

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Scorless after three innings, the Gamecocks started it with a single and fielder’s choice and fielding error before a Hunter Taylor single drove in the first run of the day before a fielder’s choice and sacrifice fly plated the others.

They would load the bases again in the sixth inning with one out, would scoring a run on a TJ Hopkins fielder’s choice.

Bama would try and mount their comeback in the seventh, getting on the board with a RBI single and putting two runners in scoring position. That chased starter Wil Crowe from the game after he pitched a shutout through six innings.

The junior confused hitters through the first six frames, giving up no runs on three hits before entering the sixth inning. Of the 19 outs he recorded, 11 were on ground balls. He struck out five and walked two.

He improves to 3-1 on the year with his season ERA at 2.75.

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Josh Reagan came in to relieve him with two runners in scoring position and gave up one run, charged to Crowe, on a sacrifice fly, but struck out Gene Wood to limit the damage to just two runs.

The Gamecocks had a chance to add some insurance in the seventh, putting two runners in scoring position with one out, but a pop up and a check-swing strikeout ended the threat.

Bama would capitalize on the momentum swing the next half inning, cutting it to a one-run game on a sac fly with one out. Reagan would put two on with two outs but bowed his neck to strikeout Hunter Alexander.

He couldn't continue his get-out-of trouble success, giving up the tying and go-ahead runs in the ninth.

Row would bail him out, however, and the Gamecocks have a chance to win their second straight SEC series.

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Up Next: Sunday’s rubber match will be at noon on SEC Network Plus. It was moved up to accommodate the men’s basketball team’s Elite Eight game at 2:20 p.m. The Gamecocks will start Clarke Schmidt, who missed his last start due to an upper body injury.

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