Bama off to a 4-0 start - Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports
Booth,Guilbeau lead Tide to victory over Southern Miss
Alabama charged out to a 7-1 lead and held on for a 10-8 win over 21st ranked Southern Miss on Tuesday at Sewell Thomas Field. The Eagles swept Missouri in a three-game series this past weekend.
Senior catcher Brett Booth continued his torrid start to the 2013 season by going 3-3 with a home run, double, single a walk and two RBIs. Senior Kenny Roberts had a triple and scored a run. Georgie Salem and Ryan Blanchard had RBI doubles and each scored a run. Kyle Overstreet had a double and drove in two runs.
Sophomore left-hander Taylor Guilbeau had an outstanding start on the mound, becoming the first 'Bama starter to last five innings. Guilbeau pitched five innings allowing 3 hits, 2 walks and striking out seven, and handed over a 6-1 lead to the bullpen. Guilbeau looks much more relaxed and confident on the mound this season and with better command is able to pitch to spots and not just zones. This will be an excellent start to build on for him.
The Tide, as has been the norm thus far this year, being retired three up and three down in the first three innings. Freshman right-hander Jake Winston seemed to be on cruise control before Overstreet doubled in White, who had been hit by a pitch, in the bottom of the fourth. The lead was stretched to 6-1 by 'Bama scoring 5 runs on only two hits in the fifth inning. Booth doubled and Baxter was hit by a pitch then Austen Smith hit a fly ball to right field that was dropped by Mason Robbins. Salem drove in a run with a fielder’s choice grounder, and then White drilled a two run single to center. Overstreet's ground ball scored the fifth run of the inning.
'Bama increased the lead in the sixth as Roberts lead off with a stand up triple to straight away center field and scored on Booth's single. Although his batting average doesn't show it, Roberts has hit almost every ball on the nose, all be it right at an enemy defender most of the time.
Southern Miss bounced back with two runs in each of the seventh and eighth innings. Ray Castillo relieved in the sixth and went 1 and 2/3 innings, giving way to freshman Mitch Greer, who gave way to fellow freshman Keaton Haack with 1 out in the eighth.
In the bottom of the eighth Booth launched his home run off of the scoreboard in left center field. Blanchard and Salem added their run scoring doubles. Salem, a left-handed hitter, had his first extra-base hit of his career, with his hit down the left field line. Salem and White are tied for the SEC lead in stolen bases with three.
Closer Justin Kamplain entered in the ninth inning with a 10-5 lead, and allowed three unearned runs before shutting it down with a called strike three with the tying run at the plate.
A crisply played game got a little sloppy in the mid to late innings. Southern Miss committed three errors and the Tide two. Three 'Bama players were hit by pitches and two Golden Eagles were also.
Through four games Booth is leading the team with a .636 batting average, six RBIs, 11 total bases, five walks, eight runs and a .706 on base percentage. Baxter is sporting a .500 average and White is at .467. As a team the Tide is hitting .299 and has stolen 10 bases in 10 attempts.
Alabama is set to fly to Boca Raton Florida Thursday to play a three-game series against Florida Atlantic Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday's first pitch is at 5:30 pm CT, Saturday's is at 3pm and Sunday's is at noon.
If the Tide can win this series it would go a long way to show this team that they can have a successful season. Last season’s inability to win road games is well documented and a big shot of confidence right out of the gate would bode well down the road for the men in crimson.
Roll Tide Y'all Roger