Alabama beat Southern Miss 7 to 4 Tuesday night in Hattiesburg to improve their record to 25-18. The Tide collected 11 hits and received outstanding relief pitching to grab the victory. 'Bama scored first as Kenny Roberts lead off the first inning with a walk, and scored when Georgie Salem's sacrifice bunt was thrown away. Salem was out at third on the play. The Tide added to the lead in the second when Austen Smith, Mikey White and Andrew Miller all singled to open the inning. Poised to strike with a big inning, 'Bama was only able to plate one run, on Chance Vincent's fielder's choice ground ball.
The Eagle's grabbed the lead in the second, chasing starting pitcher Jon Keller from the game. Jay Shaw came in to pitch with two in and two outs and induced a fly ball to center to squelch the rally.Keller pitched 1 2/3 innings allowing five hits and four runs. 'Bama tied the game in the sixth by scoring twice. Kyle Overstreet walked and Ben Moore doubled before Smith singled, scoring both runners.
'Bama took the lead for good in the eighth, scoring three times on four hits. Overstreet opened the frame with a single and scored on Moore's second double of the night. Smith doubled to score Moore, and followed him home on Miller's RBI single.
From their the outstanding bullpen locked the game down. Shaw pitched 3 1/3 hitless innings, walking one and hitting one with one strikeout. Shaw's outstanding outing was the longest of his career. Taylor Guilbeau followed Shaw and threw two scoreless innings, allowing two hits with two strikeouts. Keaton Haack pitched a scoreless eighth inning and allowed one hit. Tucker Hawley earned his first save of the year by pitching the ninth inning, allowing one harmless single. Guilbeau was credited with the victory, running his record to 3 to 1.
Smith was the leader on offense, going 3-4 with a double and three RBI's. Moore was 2-4 with two doubles and the go ahead RBI. Miller was 2-4 with an RBI. Salem, Overstreet, Booth and White all had singles, as every batter in the lineup contributed. Roberts drew two walks and scored a run and Vincent drove in a run with his groundout.
Despite running itself out of several run scoring opportunities 'Bama was able to pull out the victory, giving them a 16-9 out of conference record and a 10-3 mark in midweek games.
The Tide is lead in hitting by Salem and his .283 average. Moore and Smith are both hitting .276. The team average sits at a disturbing .247. Spencer Turnbull lead the pitching staff with a 4-1 record and a 2.26 ERA. Hawley also has four wins, and Ray Castillo leads the team with six saves. The team ERA is 3.17. Defensively 'Bama has turned 48 double plays, mostly by the superb freshmen keystone combo of White and Overstreet. Salem has covered centerfield like a gold glover, and Roberts has been outstanding at third base. Booth has thrown out an amazing 32 of 61 runners attempting not steal, as well picking five more runners off base.
This weekend Texas A&M come to town for a three game series. Friday night the festivities begin with a 5 p.m.concert by the group Whiskey River, First pitch is set for 6:35 p.m. Saturday the game begins at 6:05 p.m and Sunday's third game is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.
This is a key series for the Tide as their conference record is 9-9. Two wins would go a long way toward not only putting the team in the SEC tournament, but the NCAA one as well. Expect Charley Sullivan and Turnbull to start two of the three games. Justin Kamplain, Hawley and Guilbeau remain candidates for the other start.
Bama Baseball Fever, Catch It!
Roll Tide Y'all Roger