The Alabama baseball team rode three hits from freshman phenom Mikey White and clutch relief pitching from freshman Mitch Greer and sophomore Justin Kamplian to a 5-4 victory over the Samford Bulldogs Tuesday night. Alabama improved to 7-1 on the young season while Samford dropped to 5-4. After a fantastic season last year Samford lost 9 players to the major league draft and appears to be in rebuilding mode. They still have All American center fielder Phillip Ervin, who also doubles as a relief pitcher.
As has been their M.O. this year the Tide fell behind early 3-0 after three innings. A four spot in the fifth inning gave 'Bama the lead and one more run in the seventh provided the eventual winning margin. Sophomore lefty Taylor Guilbeau started on the mound and lasted 4 1/3 innings, allowing seven hits, walked four and struck out four and gave up three runs, all earned. Guilbeau's pitch count rose quickly and hit night ended after throwing 93 pitches.
Greer came in after Ervin walked, and he promptly picked him off first base for the second out and struck out Drew McWhorter for the third out. Kamplain was called on with one out in the seventh and stranded the one runner he inherited.
'Bama's run in the fifth came in part due to sloppy Bulldog fielding, who committed three errors on the night. Freshman Kyle Overstreet had the big blow with a two out, two RBI single to center. In the seventh inning Austen Smith, who had two hits, drove in White for the Tide's final run of the night.
Kamplain surrendered a long eighth inning home run to Christiaan Durdaller to close the gap to 5-4. Durdaller's bomb was the first allowed by 'Bama pitchers this season. In the ninth Kamplain sandwiched a fly ball out to right around a pair of strikeouts to end the game. Greer earned his first career victory and Kamplain secured his second save of the year.
On a cold, windy night with the Alabama Basketball team taking on arch rival Auburn at the exact same time just a few yards away in Coleman Coliseum, the crowd was small but enthusiastic. Hopefully someone in the Athletic Department's marketing division will come up with a way to not continually put baseball in a bind by having scheduling conflicts with other events. Whenever gymnastics, basketball or every graduation overlaps the baseball crowd has no access to parking in the Coliseum lot. Also there are a number of fans that would often like to attend both events. Already this year in five home games there has been three conflicts, basketball twice and gymnastics once.
Brett Booth is leading the squad in hitting with a .375 average. Salem and White are both hitting .333. Junior Tucker Hawley and sophomore Jon Keller lead the team with two victories each, while Kamplian and fellow sophomore Jake Hubbard both have two saves.
'Bama continues to get good pitching, great defense and timely hitting. They will need to find more consistent hitting and more power as the season progresses. The infusion for young, talented players and the leadership and improved play of veterans such as Booth, Roberts and Smith has the Tide on the right path.
The Tide hosts the Tulane Green Wave this weekend in a three-game series. Friday's game time is 6:05p.m. ,Saturdays first pitch is 2:05p.m. and Sunday's is 1:05p.m. Senior Charley Sullivan, Keller and sophomore Spencer Turnbull will be the starting pitchers for the series. Everyone come out this weekend and get behind this exciting Tide team.
Roll Tide Ya'll Roger_RBR