College of Charleston (5-5) managed just three hits in the game, while South Alabama (10-1) made nine hits but did not score until the eighth inning.
Jaguars' ace Jacob Noble (3-0) pitched 7.1 innings and allowed just three hits while striking out eight and allowing just one walk. Cougars' starter Jake Zokan was just as impressive, working out of several jams and striking out a career-high nine batters and walking just one.
Reliever Drew Freie (2-1) gave up the game-winning run in the eighth inning as South Alabama tallied three hits with two outs. Ryan West allowed two runs in the ninth on two walks and a double from Bud Collura and sacrifice fly to Jeff DeBlieux.
Collura finished with three hits and an RBI and Graham Oden had two hits and a run scored for South Alabama.
Gunnar Heidt had two hits for the Cougars, and Alex Pastorius had one base knock.
The Jaguars posed threats in the third, fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh innings with runners in scoring position but Zokan was able to work out of each one. His nine strikeouts were a career high and three of them ended innings with runners on.
Freie had two quick outs in the eighth inning with none on, but Jordan Patterson and Nolan Earley each hit seeing-eye singles through the right side to put runners on first and third. Cofield lined the game-winning hit over the outstretched glove of Bradley Goodson and Patterson came home to score and give the visitors a 1-0 lead.
South Alabama led off the ninth with two walks and a double from Collura and sacrifice fly from DeBlieux put the Jaguars up 3-0.
USA closer Kyle Bartsch struck out the CofC side in the ninth inning for his second save of the season.
The rubber game of the series will be on Sunday, March 3 at Patriots Point. First pitch will be at 1 p.m.