Alabama had their backs against the wall in Sunday's game three against Missouri but scored three times in the bottom of the ninth to win the game and the series. 'Bama won Friday nights opener, dropped Saturday's game and bounced back from the brink to win on Sunday. The Tide now has an overall record of 31-22 and a SEC mark of 13-13.
Friday night starting pitcher Charley Sullivan made his last Sewell-Thomas Stadium appearance a memorable one, pitching seven outstanding shut out innings. Sullivan allowed five hits, walked two and struck out six in claiming his team leading fifth victory of the year. Kenny Roberts lead off the first inning for 'Bama with his fourth home run of the year to stake the Tide to an early 1-0 lead. Georgie Salem followed Roberts with a single, but was caught stealing, Kyle Overstreet and Ben Moore singled and Brett Booth walked to load the bases. Mikey White drew another free pass to drive in the teams second run.
Sullivan was on cruise control and the Tide looked ready to coast to victory when they scored seven times in the seventh inning. 'Bama batted around with the big blow being a two run blast by Booth into the netting over the scoreboard. Andrew Miller had a walk and a single in the inning, and Overstreet had a two RBI single. Moore doubled a run in an Austen Smith singled in another.
Having a seemingly insurmontable lead Coach Mitch Gaspard called on his bull pen, a strength for the Tide for most of the season. The eighth inning saw Missouri score five times off of two 'Bama relief pitchers. Freshman closer Ray Castillo was called on in the ninth with the bases loaded and no outs. Things got a little dicey as Castillo walked two, with two runs coming in, but struck out the side, to earn his ninth save of the year.
Overstreet led the offense with three hits and two RBI's. Salem, Moore, Smith and White all had two hits. Roberts, Booth and Miller added one each.
'Bama was riding the momentum of a three game winning streak into Saturday's contest, and was looking for a much needed sweep. Spencer Turnbull was on the hill for the Tide and he was looking to bounce back from a bad outing at Mississippi State last week. Missouri struck first by scoring one run on two hits in the first inning. Salem answered with his first career home run in the bottom of the first to tie the game. Turnbull struggled with his command and allowed single runs in the second, third and fourth innings before being puller with one out in the fourth. Jay Shaw relieved and was able to keep things close. Turnbull pitched 3 and 1/3 innnings allowing four hits and four runs with one walk and two hit batters. Shaw pitched three innings, allowed five hits and one run.
'Bama cut their 4-1 deficit in half when White lined his second home run of the year over the left field wall to lead off the fifth inning. White doubled home another run in the sixth to bring the Tide within one run at 4-3. Shaw allowed two singles to lead off the seventh and was relieved by Taylor Guilbeau. Guilbeau hit two batters in a row to force in a run and make the Tiger lead 5-3. Missouri added two more runs in the top of the ninth to stretch the lead to 7-3 and 'Bama could not mount a rally.
White led the offense with three hits, including a double and home run. Roberts, Moore and Salem had two hits each, and Overstreet, Booth and Vincent added one each. The Tide had 12 hits with two home runs, but was only able to plate three runs in the 7-3 loss.
Sunday's game became a must win, must win game after Saturday's loss. Justin Kamplain drew the starting nod and did his job admirably. Kamplian pitched 6 and 2/3 strong innings, throwing 120 pitches, allowing eight hits and striking out 10 Tiger hitters. 'Bama struck first when Overstreet singled Roberts in, who had reached on an error and stole second base to get into scoring position. Missouri tied the game in the fourth on two singles and a sacrifice fly.
The Tide seemed to put the game out of reach in the fifth by scoring three runs and taking a 4-1 lead. Overstreet drove in the first run with a long sacrifice fly to right field, followed by Moore's fourth home run, a two run shot, that scored Salem in front of him. Kamplain remained sharp,despite entering the sixth inning having thrown 94 pitches. The sophomore lefty had a quick, sharp sixth inning striking out two. Kamplain got two the first two batters in the seventh before running into trouble. Lead off man Dillion Everette stroked a triple to right and scored on a single by former little league World Series hero Josh Lester. Castillo relieved Kamplain and struggled, allowing three hits and walking a batter with out recording a out. Mitch Greer came on and struck out the tenth batter of the inning for the third out. The five runs gave the Tiger's a 6-3 lead.
'Bama threatened in the seventh as Roberts and Overstreet both singled, but were stranded. Greer pitched an uneventful eighth and ninth inning for the Tide. Down to their final three outs, 'Bama came out swinging in the bottom of the ninth.Chance Vincent led off with a single, and was replaced with pinch runner Riley Colburn. Roberts ripped a ball at third baseman Shane Sergovia that he could not handle and was safe at first. Salem was called on to sacrifice bunt, but when he failed on strike one and strike two, lifted a single in the left center gap, loading the bases. Overstreet hit his second sacrifice fly, to right field, scoring Colburn and bringing the Tide within one run. Moore dropped a single into left field to tie the score, bringing Austen Smith to the plate. Smith roped a double down the left field line scoring Salem and setting off a big celebration on the field.
Greer was credited with the win, his second of the season.Miller led the offense with three singles. White, Moore and Overstreet all had two hits. Roberts, Salem, Vincent and Smith added one each, none bigger than Smith's game winner. White was the big stick for the weekend, tallying a 7-11 weekend, Overstreet was 6-11, Moore 6-14 and Salem 5-14. Miller put a 4-11 weekend in the books.
Moore is now hitting .298 to lead the team. Salem is at .287 and Overstreet checks in at .286. Smith and Booth are the home run leaders with six each. Moore has 38 RBI's, followed by Smith and Overstreet with 34 each. Sullivan has five wins, and Castillo nine saves and both marks lead the team.
The Tide really needed to sweep this series, but considering it looked as if they would lose two of three, the comeback win Sunday was huge. The next test is to go to Nashville and take on the 2nd ranked Vanderbilt Commodores and their stable of soon to be major league pitchers. The three game series is slated for Thursday, Friday and Saturday. Vandy has a gaudy 45-6 overall record, and is 24-2 in the SEC. Thursday and Friday's games are both scheduled for 6:30 p.m. starts, and Saturday's first pitch is 1:00 p.m.'
'Bama faces a tough obstacle this week, and would boost their post season resume with even a single win in Nashville. Vanderbilt is gunning to set a SEC record for victories and will be the toughest foe the Tide has faced this season. The bullpen, which has been a strength for 'Bama this season, will have to right itself for the team to have a chance. Starting pitching has been strong for the most part, and the hitting, particularly power wise, has come on in the late season. Turnbull needs to return to form, as does Hawley, Haack and Castillo. Tighten up that area and this team could do special things.
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Roll Tide Y'all Roger