Bama Baseball wins series vs The Barn

Ezra Shaw

Sullivan, Turnbull dominate on the mound

Alabama is quickly putting the dismal 2012 season behind them, claiming their second SEC road series of the season after not winning a single road GAME last year. After defeating Auburn in two out of three this weekend the Tide's record stands at 17--11, 7-2 in the SEC and 5-1 in SEC road games.

'Bama won the Thursday night game 6-2, dropped Friday's second game 6-3 and won the rubber match Saturday 2-0. With this being Easter weekend, and the Tide being on spring break, the teams agreed to play the Thursday, Friday, Saturday format so they would have Easter Sunday off.

Friday's game one was highlighted by Charley Sullivan's dominant performance. Sullivan pitched eight outstanding innings, allowing five hits, walking one and striking out seven. By the time he allowed a seventh inning, two out, home run to Tiger catcher Blake Austin, the Tide was ahead 6-0.

'Bama's Austen Smith crushed a second inning solo home run over the Auburn version of the Green Monster to stake the Tide to an early lead. In the second inning 'Bama busted the game wide open by scoring four runs. Chance Vincent, inserted in the DH spot this weekend, opened the inning with a walk. After one out Georgie Salem also walked, followed by Kenny Roberts reaching on an error. Ben Moore lifted an RBI sacrifice fly to right, scoring Vincent. Brett Booth then laced a double, scoring two runs. Smith then singled, scoring Booth for a 5-0 lead. The Tide stretched the lead in the fifth when Moore hit a triple, and scored on Kyle Overstreet's single.

Sullivan left after eight innings with a comfortable 6-1 lead, giving way to freshman Mitch Greer. Greer had been out for a couple of weeks with a strained shoulder, and it seemed a good time to get him some game action. However the game got exciting.After striking out the leadoff batter Greer allowed a double, followed by a fly ball out. Down to their last strike the Tiger's battled, getting and RBI single and two walks, loading the bases and bringing the tying run to the plate. At that point Coach Mitch Gaspard called on his bullpen freshman assassin Ray Castillo who promptly struck out Ryan Tella to end the game, and earn his fifth save of the season.

Smith led the offense with his 3-5 night with two RBI's. Overstreet was 2-4 with an RBI, Roberts 2-5 with a run scored, Booth 1-5 with a double and two RBI's, Moore 1-4 with a triple, sacrifice fly, RBI and run scored. Lead off hitter Georgie Salem did his job superbly, reaching base four times on a single and three walks, and scoring a run. Vincent had a productive night with a walk, single, sacrifice bunt and run scored.

The difference in the game boiled down to defense, as 'Bama made all the plays the needed to and Auburn did not. Four of the Tide's six runs were unearned.

In Friday's game two although 'Bama jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first on Moore's single and Booth's RBI double, the lead was short lived. Starting, and losing, pitcher Jon Keller was victimized by a third inning lead off walk, and a long home run by number nine hitter Ryan Kelley, for a 2-1 Auburn lead. Auburn finished their scoring in the fifth on two walks, two singles, and a long three run home run to grab a 6-1 lead. 'Bama had a few scoring chances squandered in the middle innings. Overstreet reached third base in the fifth after a single, but was stranded. Moore hit his second triple of the series with two outs in the sixth, but again was stranded. Mikey White reached second with a two out single and passed ball in the seventh, but again he was stranded. Finally in the eighth the Tide got to winning pitcher Michael O'Neal. Salem and Roberts drilled one out singles and Moore reached on an error, brining Booth to the plate as the tying run. Booth hit a towering drive to the deepest part of the park, coming o so close to a grand slam. Instead the drive became a sacrifice fly, scoring Salem. Smith then singled in Roberts to cut the lead to the final margin of 6-2, before reliever Terrance Dedrick, a Tuscaloosa native, Hillcrest High alum, and former Shelton State pitcher, replaced O'Neal and coaxed the last out of the inning. The Tide went out with out a threat in the ninth, giving Auburn their first SEC win of the year.

Moore and White lead the offense with two hits each. Salem, Roberts,Booth, Smith and Overstreet had the one hit each for the game. Keaton Haack relieved Keller and pitched three scoreless innings.

The rubber game of the series was played Saturday and was televised by CSS, and starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull clearly enjoyed the spot light, pitching a complete game, four hit, shut out. In a game predicated by pitching and defense, the Tide was victorious 2-0 despite only collecting two hits on the day. After Salem led off the game with a sharp single, 'Bama did not get another hit until Vincent's perfect hit and run single in the seventh.

Alabama got the only run it would need in the third when Vincent opened the inning with a walk, and was sacrificed to second by Andrew Miller. With two outs Roberts smoked a ball past the third baseman scoring Vincent. Although many felt it should have been scored a double, the score keeper called it an error. Vincent was instrumental in the Tide's insurance run in the seventh. White was hit by a pitch, and as he took off to steal, Vincent grounded a single through the hole as the second baseman moved to cover the bag. White advanced to third and scored when Miller laid down a perfect safety squeeze bunt. This was the epitome of creating a run.

Turnbull was clearly dominant, but was helped out by four double plays turned by his outstanding infielders, Roberts, Overstreet and White. The Tide now has 33 double plays on the season. Turnbull allowed four hits, walked three and struck out four, and is beginning to look like the dominant starter the coaching staff expected when the season opened. He now has thrown 22 and 2/3 straight scoreless innings in SEC play.

Smith was the leading hitter for the series with his 4-11 mark. Salem, Moore, Roberts and Overstreet all had three hits. Moore had two triples, Booth two doubles and Smith the Tide's sixth home run of the season. After a slow start, Moore is now leading the team with a .317 average, followed by Booth at .311, Smith .299, Roberts .287, Salem .284 and Overstreet at .276. Roberts leads the team with a .402 on base percentage, Moore, Booth and Smith have two home runs each. Booth leads the RBI parade with 21, followed closely by Moore and Overstreet with 20 each. Tucker Hawley leads in victories with four, followed by Sullivan and Keller with three each. Castillo has five saves and 1.74 ERA, and has allowed opposing teams to hit only .169 off of him.

This weeks slate features a Tuesday night home game against S.E. Louisiana at 6:05 p.m., followed by another Thursday, Friday, Saturday key three-game series against Arkansas at The Joe. Thursday's TV game will be played at 7:05 p.m. followed by a 6:35 p.m. Friday game and a 1:05 p.m. Saturday closing game.

After seven games away from home that the Tide won five of, it will be good to get home for seven straight games. S.E. Louisiana comes in with a 21-8 record. Arkansas is 20-8, 5-3 in the SEC going into Sunday's game against Ole Miss. The Razorbacks are ranked 12th in the country.

'Bama continues to receive outstanding pitching and high light worthy defense. White and Overstreet in the middle of the infield have simply stated been amazing. Roberts has made every play at third base, and Smith has been above solid at first base. Miller and Blanchard have been very good in left field, as well as Moore in right. To use an old cliche, two thirds of the earth is covered by water and the other third is covered by Georgie Salem. Salem already has a ESPN top three play, and several other outstanding catches in this, his freshman season.

This team shows a lot of heart and never seems to give up. The mixture of exciting young players and veterans that are stepping up gives the team a great chemistry. They all seem to like each other and pull for the team to do well. Get behind these guys when they come home and help give them a true home field advantage. Fill The Joe!

After seven games away from home that the Tide won five of, it will be good to get home for seven straight games. S.E. Louisiana comes in with a 21-8 record. Arkansas is 20-8, 5-3 in the SEC going into Sunday's game against Ole Miss. The Razorbacks are ranked 12th in the country.

'Bama continues to receive outstanding pitching and high light worthy defense. White and Overstreet in the middle of the infield have simply stated been amazing. Roberts has made every play at third base, and Smith has been above solid at first base. Miller and Blanchard have been very good in left field, as well as Moore in right. To use an old cliche, two thirds of the earth is covered by water and the other third is covered by Georgie Salem. Salem already has a ESPN top three play, and several other outstanding catches in this, his freshman season.

This team shows a lot of heart and never seems to give up. The mixture of exciting young players and veterans that are stepping up gives the team a great chemistry. They all seem to like each other and pull for the team to do well. Get behind these guys when they come home and help give them a true home field advantage. Fill The Joe!

Bama Baseball Fever...Catch it!

Roll Tide Ya'll Roger Roll Tide Ya'll Roger

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