The Alabama baseball team welcomed the ninth ranked Ole Miss Rebels to town this weekend, and treated their guests rudely, sweeping them by scores of 7-6, 6-5 in 10 innings and 3-1. The sweep gave Alabama an all time record of 202-141-1 against Mississippi. Coach Mitch Gaspard improved his record to 11-8 vs the Rebels.
Game One, Friday, Won 7-6
No one got what they expected in Fridays game one of the series. Not the teams, not the 4,000 fans, and not the 37 MLB scouts in attendance to see Alabama's Spencer Turnbull and Ole Miss's Chris Ellis square off in an expected pitchers duel. Coming into the game Turnbull had allowed only one earned run all season, and Ellis was almost as stingy having allowed only three earned runs. Turnbull walked the second batter of the game, then gave up his first extra base hit of the year, a home run off the bat of Austin Anderson, giving the Rebels a quick 2-0 lead. Ben Moore answered in the bottom of the first by blasting his third home run, a solo job, cutting the deficit to 2-1.
The Tide rocked Ellis in the second when Wade Wass hit a long double, followed by an RBI double from Casey Hughston. Will Haynie singled and then Chance Vincent bombed his first home run of his college career for a 5-2 lead. In the top of the third Ole Miss used three singles and a double to score two runs, cutting the margin to 5-4. In the bottom half of the inning Moore led off with a single and scored on a double by Kyle Overstreet, which chased Ellis from the game after only two full innings. Scott Weatherby relieved for the Rebel's and shut the door on the Tide, setting them down in order in the third, fourth and fifth innings. Ole Miss tied the game at six in the fourth inning on a triple by Will Jamison and a single by Braxton Lee. Turnbull settled in and kept the Rebel's at bay through the fifth and sixth innings. 'Bama finally got to Weatherby in the bottom of the sixth inning. Wass hit his second double of the game, advanced on a single by Austen Smith, and scored on a ground out by Hughston.
The run turned out to be the wining run. Turnbull allowed a lead off single in the seventh, then got two quick outs before being relieved by freshman Thomas Burrows. Lee tried to steal third and Haynie gunned him out to end the inning. Burrows pitched the final 2 1/3 innings, striking out four and allowing only one single. Turnbull got the victory, making his record 3-1 and Burrows earned his second save. Turnbull survived 6 2/3 innings despite allowing 10 hits and surrendering six earned runs, walking one and striking out four. After being on the wrong end of a couple of 2-1 losses, Turnbull gutted out this victory without his best stuff. It was big that he went as far as he did, saving the bull pen for the weekend. Burrows continued his stellar season.
>> Ben Moore had three hits, including his third home run, and scored twice.
>> Wade Wass was 2-4 with two doubles, and scored two runs
>> Chance Vincent was 1-3 with a two run home run
>> Casey Hughston was 1-4 with a double and two runs driven in
>> Will Haynie and Kyle Overstreet each had a hit and an RBI, and Austen Smith added on hit.
Game Two, Saturday, Won 6-5 in 10 Innings.
In a sloppy, but exciting game two, 'Bama was able to pull off two late rallies to secure the victory. Alabama's Justin Kamplain and Ole Miss's Christian Trent matched up in a pitching duel that was expected on Friday night. The Tide jumped out early, scoring two quick first inning runs. With two outs Ben Moore singled, and scored on a long double to center field by Kyle Overstreet. Wade Wass reached on an error to keep the inning alive, and Austen Smith rifled a double to score Overstreet. Ole Miss scratched a run across in the fifth in an unfortunate turn of events for Kamplain. After two quick outs, Will Jamison hit a short pop up that the wind blew away from SS Mikey White, landing for a single. Another single and a wild pitch scored the run. That was all the scoring in the game until the seventh inning, as Kamplain completely baffled the Rebel's until two were out in the seventh. Kamplain racked up strikeouts 10 and 11 to start the inning before freshman J.B. Woodman singled and and Auston Bousfield walked. Braxton Lee singled to score two runs, and chasing Kamplain from the game.
Ray Castillo replaced him and got a fly ball to left to seemingly end the inning. However Casey Hughston dropped the sure third out, allowing the third run of the inning, and giving the Rebel's a 4-2 lead. 'Bama answered with two runs in the eighth. Georgie Salem reached on an error, followed by a Mikey White single. Ben Moore attempted to sacrifice bunt the runners over, but Josh Laxer couldn't find the plate and issued a walk, loading the bases with no outs. Overstreet drew a walk, driving in a run, cutting the lead to 4-3. Wass lifted a fly ball to center for a sacrifice fly, and the game tying run. Smith then hit a hard line drive that appeared to be headed into the left field corner. However third baseman Austin Anderson leaped and snared the drive, and doubled Overstreet off of first base to end the inning.
Ole Miss threatened in the ninth, but Castillo stranded two runners, giving 'Bama a ninth inning chance. Hunter Webb led off with a walk, but was gunned out at second by catcher Will Allen after a pitched bounced a short way away from him. Webb would more than make up for the base running gaffe in the 10th inning. Taylor Poe worked a walk, but was stranded, putting the game into extra innings. Castillo allowed an infield single, and when he misplayed the ball, the runner reached second base with no outs. Castillo struck out the next batter and was replaced by left hander Taylor Guilbeau. Sikes Orvis singled to score the go ahead run, and when Guilbeau walked the next batter he was replaced by freshman Geoffrey Bramblett. With a strikeout and a ground out, Bramblett stranded the bases loaded.
Facing a one run deficit the Tide was able to have White reach on a lead off walk. Moore attempted to sac bunt him to second, but was hit by a pitch, giving the Tide two base runners with no outs. Overstreet executed a perfect sac bunt to put the tying run at third base, and the winning run at second base. Wass was intentionally walked, loading the bases, and setting up a potential double play. Smith then hit a long fly ball to right, for a sacrifice fly, and scoring the tying run. Webb came to the plate and quickly fell into a 0-2 hole, but after a ball and a foul off, lined a single to left, and a hustling Moore barreled around third and scored on a head first slide, giving the Tide their fourth walk off win of the season. Bramblett was the winning pitcher, pitching 2/3 of an inning, making his record 2-0 on the season.
Kamplain was magnificent, pitching 6 2/3 innings, allow seven hits,walking three and striking out 11. Three of the four runs he allowed were earned. Castillo did a good job holding the Rebel's at bay in his 2 2/3 innings, allowing two hits, with two walks and two strikeouts. The run he allowed was unearned.
>>Kyle Overstreet was 2-3, with a double and two RBIs, giving him a 10 game hitting streak
>> Hunter Webb was 1-1 with a walk and the winning run driven in
>>Mikey White, Ben Moore, Wade Wass, and Austen Smith added one hit each
Sunday, Game Three, Won 3-1
The story of the game Sunday was simple put, left handed pitcher, junior Jonathan Keller. Keller tossed the first complete game for 'Bama since Spencer Turnbull's went the distance against Auburn on March 30, 2013, exactly one year ago. Keller allowed seven hits, all singles, walked three and struck out eight, all in 118 pitches. Keller finished stronger than he started, as he was in trouble in the first and second innings. Ole Miss loaded the bases in the first inning on a walk and two singles, but Keller got a ground ball double play ball to Mikey White at short, who tossed to Kyle Overstreet at second, and over to Austen Smith at first, to end the inning. In the second the Rebel's used a walk, a single and another double play to score their one run. Ole Miss pitcher Sam Smith cruised through the first three innings before running into trouble in the fourth. White slammed a one-one pitch just over the left field wall for his second home run of the season, tying the game.
Ben Moore followed with a single, and advanced to third on a double by Overstreet. Wade Wass singled Moore in and Smith's groundout scored Overstreet with the third inning of the inning, and the last run of the game. From that point forward it was all pitching and defense, as neither team had a real scoring threat the rest of the way. Smith lasted 6 2/3 innings, allowing eight hits with three strikeouts and no walks. Aaron Greenwood went the last 1 and 1/3 inning and only allowed a walk. Keller got stronger and stronger as the game went on and ended the game in the ninth with two strikeouts. Keller improved his record to 5-1 and lowered his ERA to 1.50.
>> Kyle Overstreet was 2-4 with a double, giving him an 11 game hitting streak
>> Ben Moore was 2-4, and had six hits for the weekend series
>> Mikey White was 1-4 with his second home run of the season
>> Wade Wass was 1-3 with a walk and a RBI, increasing his hitting streak to 9 games
>> Casey Hughston and Hunter Webb were both 1-3 on the game
With the sweep of the Rebel's the Tide is now 19-0 when scoring at least three runs in a game this season. This was the highest ranked opponent Alabama has swept in a series under Coach Mitch Gaspard. 'Bama is in action again on Tuesday night in a home game against Louisiana-Monroe at 6:05 p.m., before traveling to College Station to face the Texas A@M Aggies next weekend. The games will beat 6:35 on Friday, 2:05 on Saturday and 1:05 on Sunday. The games Friday and Saturday will be televised on FSNSW (Fox Sports Net Southwest.) The rotation for the week will remain the same, Nick Eicholtz on Tuesday, Spencer Turnbull on Friday, Justin Kamplain on Saturday and Jonathan Keller on Sunday.
This team remains a fun, exciting team to watch and should resurface in the top 25 this week. The pitching and defense are still what they hang their hat on, but there has been some timely hitting in building the 19-8 record. If the hitting continues to come around, the Tide could do some special things this season.
Bama Baseball Fever, Catch it!
Roll Tide Y'all Roger
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