The Alabama baseball team opened up their series with Arkansas on Friday night on a roll, having won 11 or their last 12 games. Despite an hour rain delay that cost the team star pitcher Spencer Turnbull after three innings for the second time this year, the Tide was able to pour on runs like the rain in a 17-9 victory over the Hogs. Showing how baseball truly is a funny game, the Razorbacks bounced back to win 2-1 on Saturday and 1-0 on Sunday, winning the series 2 games to 1, and dropping the Tide to 15-8 overall and 3-3 in SEC play.
Game One, Friday, won 17-9
Spencer Turnbull started for the Tide, and despite not having his sharpest control, kept Arkansas scoreless through three innings before lightning and rain brought the game to a halt. Turnbull walked the bases loaded in the first, but worked his way out of the jam.Over three innings the right-hander allowed three hits, walked three, hit a batter and struck out three.
After the weather delay, 'Bama came out swinging and scored three runs in the top of the fourth inning. Ben Moore singled and was brought home on an RBI double by Wade Wass. Austen Smith walked and with two outs Chance Vincent doubled in both runners.
Geoffrey Bramblett replaced Turnbull in the fourth and quickly surrendered the lead, allowing a single, a walk, a hit batter, and a grand slam to Tyler Spoon, giving Arkansas a 4-3 lead.
The Tide bounced back in the fifth by scoring five times. Vincent lead off with a walk and Georgie Salem singled. With one out Ben Moore was hit by a pitch, loading the bases. Kyle Overstreet hit a potential double play ground ball, but the ball was booted, scoring two runs. Wade Wass then launched a three run home run in the right center power alley for a 8-4 lead.
In the bottom of the fifth, Bramblett walked the first batter and allowed a double to the second batter, bringing Jay Shaw to the mound. A bloop single scored two runs, charged to Bramblett, before Shaw retired the next three batters.
In the sixth inning, 'Bama batted around for the second inning in a row, and scored six runs. Salem led off with a single, and with one out, Moore was hit by a pitch again. Overstreet drove both runs in with a triple to right field. Wass was then hit by a pitch, followed by a long three run home run from Smith, his third of the year. Vincent and Casey Hughston both walked, and were driven in by Salem's double lined down the right field line.
Shaw pitched the sixth, seventh and eighth with no trouble, recording four scoreless innings, allowing two hits with one walk and one strikeout.
The Tide added to the lead in the ninth by scoring two runs. Mikey White and Overstreet singled and Smith drove in a run with a bases loaded hit-by-pitch.
Mitch Greer entered in the ninth, with a 17-6 lead. Arkansas scored three times on one walk and three hits to close the final margin to 17-9.
- Salem had three hits, a double and two RBI's.
- White had two hits, including a double.
- Moore had two hits, got hit twice, and scored three runs.
- Overstreet had two hits, with a triple, and drove in three runs.
- Wass had a double, home run, two walks,got hit by a pitch, and drove in four runs.
- Smith also had a double and home run, got hit, walked, and drove in four runs of his own.
- Vincent had a single and double, a walk, and two runs driven in.
- Hughston walked, and scored, twice.
Overall, this was the most complete offensive game of the year for the Tide against a team known for their pitching. 'Bama recorded five doubles, a triple, two home runs, and reached 11 times either by walk or hit by pitch. Shaw was the winning pitcher in his longest stint of the year.
Saturday Game Two, Lost 2-1
Alabama's Justin Kamplain and Arkansas' Trey Killian locked up in a classic pitchers dual on Saturday, in contrast to Friday nights game.
'Bama scored first in the third inning when Chance Vincent lead off with a single and was sacrificed to second on a bung by Georgie Salem. With two outs Ben Moore blooped a single to right, just out of the reach of second basemen Brian Anderson, scoring Vincent.
Kamplain did his best to make that pat run stand up, cruising through six innings with no trouble. After two quick outs in the seventh three straight singles gave the Hogs the tying run. When Kamplain walked his only batter of the game Coach Mitch Gaspard called on freshman Thomas Burrows with the bases loaded. Burrows got the third out, sending the game to the eighth inning, tied 1-1.
Burrows walked the lead off batter in the bottom of the eighth, which turned out to be the winning run. Tyler Spoon sacrificed Brian Anderson to second. Burrows intentionally walked Wise to set up the double play, but pinch hitter Fisher spoiled that plan by singling Anderson in. Nick Eicholtz replaced Burrows and got an unorthodox double play on his second pitch: Moore caught a fly ball in right, and on a throw to catcher Will Haynie nailed the runner at the plate.
Killian got the Tide in order in the ninth, gaining the complete game victory, throwing 115 pitches.
- Burrows, who allowed his first run of the season, suffered the loss.
- Kamplain pitched 6 2/3 brilliant innings, allowing five singles, with one walk and three strikeouts.
- Offensively the Tide was held to four hits, with two walks and one on base via hit by pitch.
- Wade Wass had a double and Moore, Kyle Overstreet and Casey Hughston each had singles.
The loss was the teams fourth 2-1 loss on the season, setting up Sunday's rubber game.
Game Three, Sunday, Lost 1-0
Jon Keller drew the Sunday start for Alabama and Chris Oliver got the nod for Arkansas, and it was a shame for either one to record a loss.
Oliver was in complete control, pitching seven innings, allowing four singles and two walks. Oliver and reliever Michael Gunn did not allow a single Tide runner to reach second base. Oliver struck out seven, and in his two perfect innings, Gunn fanned three.
Keller was equally effective, but allowing one run in the second inning was enough to beat him. Wilkerson laced a one out triple, just over the out stretched glove of left fielder Casey Hughston, and scored on a ground ball out by Wernes. Keller lasted 5 1/3 innings, only allowing four hits and no walks. Keller hit, and struck out two.
Ray Castillo replaced Keller after a one out double in the sixth. Castillo walked two to load the bases, but got two ground outs to end the threat. Castillo pitched the final two innings and held the Razorbacks at bay, allowing only a single with a hit batter.
Gunn replaced Oliver in the eighth and retired all six 'Bama hitters that he faced. As close fought as a 1-0 game is, the Tide never had a chance, and never threatened in this game.
- Mikey White, Georgie Salem, Wade Wass and Kyle Overstreet had singles for Alabama.
- Ben Moore and White drew the only walks in the game.
- Keller was the hard luck loser, dropping his record to 4-1 on the season.
The Tide now has a 15-8 record on the season, 3-3 in SEC play. In the eight losses, the team has scored a total of seven runs. There has been four losses by a 2-1 score, one 2-0, one 1-0, one by a 6-0 score and one by the score of 7-2. Conversely, when scoring at least three runs in a game 'Bama has a 15-0 mark.
The pitching continues to be outstanding, and even though there have been flashes of offense, it is still too inconsistent and puts immense pressure on the pitching staff and defense.
The Tide is back in action Tuesday night at 6:30 pm CT against Troy in Pensacola at the Vince J. Whibbs Jr. Community Maritime Park. Wade Wass and Austen Smith will get to play in front of family and friends as they are both from the Pensacola area. The game will be televised on Cox Sports TV, and ESPN3. Ole Miss will come to T-town Friday for a three game set.
Bama Baseball Fever, catch it!
Roll Tide Y'all. Roger