Alabama ran into to two things that haven't been kind to them this season, the state of Mississippi and extra-inning games. The Tide was swept in the three-game series vs. Mississippi State, twice in extra frames. Those two games ran the team's record to 1-6 in bonus inning games and 0-6 vs. the state of Mississippi's two SEC teams. Earlier this year, in being swept by Ole Miss, the Tide also lost twice in extra innings.
Friday night's opener was cancelled due to inclement weather, pushing Saturday's play to be a double header. Spencer Turnbull had been moved by the staff from Sunday starter to Friday starter, so he drew the first game assignment. The Madison Mississippi native was treated rudely, and was roughed up for the loss. State exploded for seven runs in the second inning, and one in the third before the boys from Tuscaloosa could get on the board.
Facing an eight to nothing hole, the Tide began to battle back in the fourth. Kyle Overstreet lined a one out single and Austen Smith then mashed a two out mammoth home run to left field. The Tide crept within striking distant in the top half of the fifth inning. Andrew Miller singled, followed by a Kenny Roberts walk. Georgie Salem then lined a double down the right field line, and both runners scored. Overstreet singled to score Salem and after Ben Moore reached on a fielder's choice, he scored on Smith's single.
With the lead cut to 8-6 State bounced back with two runs in the bottom of the fifth on Trey Porter's double. Turnbull came out after five innings, having thrown 104 pitches, allowing 10 hits and 10 runs, nine of which were earned. The big right-hander walked two and struck out three. Taylor Guilbeau pitched the final three innings for the Tide and was impressive, allowing only a walk and striking out four. No further runs were scored in the game, leaving a 10-6 final.
Smith led the offense with his 2-4 day, including his home run and three RBI's. Booth was 2-4 and Overstreet was 2-4 with an RBI. Miller, Roberts and Salem added a single each.
Charley Sullivan started game two for the Crimson Tide and kept the team in the game, giving them a chance to win. Sullivan threw 6 and 1/3 innings, allowing eight hits, walked no one and struck out five. The senior right hander allowed three runs, all earned. The Bulldog's jumped out early scoring twice in the first on three straight two out hits. Wes Rea delivered the big blow with a two run double. 'Bama tied the score in the third after Miller and Steven Cole, little used, but inserted as DH in this game, both singled. Salem singled to score both runners. State took the lead back in the bottom of the third as SEC player of the year candidate Hunter Renfroe crushed his 15th home run of the season.
'Bama tied the game in the fourth when Moore singled, Booth walked, and Mikey White lined a scoring single. Sullivan cruised through the fourth, fifth and sixth innings, allowing only two hits. Smith cracked his second home run of the day, and team leading fifth of the year, with two outs in the sixth to give 'Bama a 4-3 lead. Jon Keller relieved Sullivan with one out and one on in the seventh and recorded the last two outs. Ben Bracewell and Chad Girodo relieved starter Kendall Graveman after the sixth for the Bulldog's, and shut out the Tide the rest of the way. Tide closer Ray Castillo was called on to start the eighth inning and walked the leadoff hitter. Pinch hitter Brett Pirtle singled in the tying run.
'Bama threatened in the 10th when Miller singled and was sacrificed to second by Cole and reached third on a passed ball, where he was stranded. State pushed the winning run across in the bottom of the tenth on a walk, two bunts and left fielder Jacob Robson's walk off single.
Miller led the team offensively with two hits. Smith home run was his only hit of game two. Salem, Overstreet, Moore, Booth, White and Cole all had one hit. Salem drove in two and White one. Castillo was tagged with his second loss of the year.
Sunday the Tide turned to Justin Kamplain to try and right the ship. Kamplain pitched five innings and left the game with a 6-3 lead, after throwing 100 pitches. The sophomore lefty allowed three hits, walked five, hit two and struck out five. Three runs were scored off of Kamplain, two being earned.
Once again the Bulldog's jumped out to a two to nothing first inning lead. 'Bama struck for one run in the third. Cole singled and Roberts reached as both runners were safe on a fielder's choice. Salem bunted, and beat it out for a single and to load the bases. Overstreet bounced into a double play, scoring Cole. The fourth inning saw the Tide close the gap but blow a big chance to break the game wide open. Smith, Booth and White all singled to open the inning, loading the bases with no outs. Miller drew a bases loaded walk to drive in Smith, and leaving the bases still jammed. Cole hit a come-backer to the mound that the Bulldog's turned into a home to first double play. Roberts walked to re-load the bags, and Salem seemed to draw a walk on a very questionable call; however the 3-1 pitch, which appeared to be shoulder high, was called a strike. Salem then grounded out to end the inning.
'Bama rode a two out rally in the fifth to a 5-3 lead. Smith doubled in the left center gap and Booth walked. White then lined his first home run of the season. State got one run back in the bottom of the fifth without the benefit of a hit, using a walk, a hit batter and a wild pitch to score. Alabama stretched the lead in the sixth. Cole reached on an error and was sacrificed to second by Roberts. Salem walked and Moore singled to score Cole.
Tucker Hawley relieved Kamplain in the sixth. The seventh inning saw State score three runs to tie the game. Keller relieved Hawley with two outs in the seventh. Robson dribbled a slow roller that turned into a hit, tying the game. 'Bama had the go ahead run reach second in the ninth. Overstreet singled and Daniel Cucjen was brought in to pinch run. Moore sacrificed the runner to second. Booth was hit by a pitch, but both runners were stranded. Keller escaped the ninth and tenth innings, but couldn't get through the 11th. Renfroe singled, advanced after a hit batter and scored on C.T. Bradford's fourth hit of the game.
'Bama struck out 13 times in the game, including six times in the final three innings. 'Bama pitchers allowed 11 hits, walked seven and hit three batters.
With the extra inning loss, 'Bama fell to 1-6 in extended games. In the seven games, spanning, 19 innings, the Tide has scored exactly one run, on Overstreet's 10th inning single against LSU. This lack of offense puts extraordinary pressure on the pitching staff.
White was the offensive leader, with three hits and three RBI's. Smith and Overstreet had two hits each. Salem, Moore, Booth and Cole had one hit each.
'Bama plays five home games this week, and they have become almost must win. Tuesday night at 5:05 p.m. vs. Mississippi Valley State. Troy comes to The Joe on Wednesday for a 6:05 first pitch. Missouri arrives for the weekend series. Friday at 6:35 p.m., Saturday at 1:05 p.m. and Sunday at 1:05 p.m.