Any momentum Alabama gathered in Tuesday's opening day victory over Auburn in the SEC tournament was quickly stymied by LSU left handed pitcher Cody Glenn. Glenn pitched seven scoreless innings on the way to the Tigers defeating the Tide 3-0. The loss sends 'Bama to a 9:30 a.m. game Wednesday against Ole Miss. Alabama's record is now 33-25 and LSU sports a 49-8 mark.
If the Tigers had not scratched for three runs in the first, this game might still be scoreless. Tide senior righty Charley Sullivan saved the team's bull pen, pitching all eight innings, while throwing 113 pitches. Sean McMullen led off the first inning with a single for the Tigers and advanced to third when his ball was misplayed in left field. Mark Laird hit a ground ball to score McMullen. Freshman phenom Alex Bregman roped a one out double, followed by Mason Katz walking. Raph Rhymes dribbled a ball in between Sullivan and catcher Brett Booth, and with the plate left uncovered, Bregman motored home from second base. Christian Ibarra then singled to score Katz, and end the scoring for the game.
After his first inning struggles, Sullivan settled in and most likely pitched the best game of his Alabama career, against the nation's second ranked team. Sullivan allowed eight hits with only two walks and three strikeouts. The three runs he allowed were all earned. 'Bama never could get in an offensive rhythm and hit very few balls solidly. Kyle Overstreet had an infield single in the first, and the Tide didn't get another hit until Georgie Salem dove into first base to just beat the throw for the team's second hit. Booth lined a solid single to center with two outs in the fifth, but was stranded. Chance Vincent had an infield single in the sixth to lead off, but he was left on first base.
'Bama never got a base runner as far as second base until the seventh inning. Austen Smith was hit by a pitch with two outs, and advanced as Booth had his second solid single. Both runners were left on base. Kenny Roberts singled with one out in the eighth, and Salem reached on an error, giving 'Bama only their second base runner in scoring position. Overstreet and Ben Moore were retired to end the threat. LSU's Glenn pitched seven innings, allowing only five singles, and two hit batters. He walked no one and threw 93 pitches. Nick Rumbelow pitched the eighth inning, allowing one hit, and Chris Cotton pitched a perfect ninth inning to earn his 13th save. The three Tiger pitchers combined to allow six hits and did not walk any batters. Glenn is LSU's third pitcher, behind star Aaron Nolan and Ryan Eades.
Booth was the only Tider to record two hits, and Roberts, Vincent, Salem and Overstreet had one hit each.
Alabama will try to gain a measure of revenge when they play Ole Miss on Thursday morning. The Tide was swept earlier this season in Oxford, losing twice in extra innings. Ole Miss lost to Arkansas on Wednesday 2-1 in a 10 inning low scoring affair. 'Bama will send big righty Spencer Turnbull to the mound to try to prolong their stay in Hoover. Ole Miss will counter with their big right hander Jacob Waguespack, who has only pitched nine innings this season.
Although 'Bama was swept by the Rebels earlier, the teams are not that far apart. With a good start from Turnbull and an aggressive approach at the plate the Tide can get back on the right track. The Hoover Met is a very large park so throwing strikes and forcing the opposition to put the ball in play is a big key. When Turnbull works ahead in pitchers counts and allows his defense to do their job, he can be very dominating. 'Bama hitters need to apply pressure to the Ole Miss defense and try to jump out to an early lead. Turnbull needs to go deep and then Coach Mitch Gaspard can call on Tucker Hawley, Taylor Guilbeau and Ray Castillo in the back end of the game, and for most of the season that has meant victory for the Tide.
If 'Bama takes care of business against Ole Miss on Thursday, their next game will be on Friday at 3:00 p.m. With a loss, it will then be a waiting game until Sunday, when the NCAA Tournament field will be announced. Everyone feels Alabama is safely in, and now it will just be the question of being a two seed or a three seed, and where they will be sent.
'Bama Baseball Fever, Catch it!
Roll Tide Ya'll, Roger