The 8th ranked Alabama Crimson Tide went on the road to take on the 29th ranked Tennessee Vols this weekend and came away with two victories to take the series. The Tide won the first game 8-5, took Saturday's game 7-6 in dramatic fashion, and lost on Sunday after letting a big lead slip away 10-9. Spencer Turnbull and Jay Shaw got victories, and Thomas Burrows recorded two saves. Kyle Overstreet suffered the loss on Sunday. The series featured a big come back win for each team.
Game One, Friday, Won 8-5
Ace pitcher Spencer Turnbull started for the Tide against Nick Williams in the first game of the weekend. 'Bama jumped on Williams in the third inning, scoring four runs. Mikey White lead off with a double, and when Georgie Salem bunted and beat it out for a hit, scored on an overthrow of first base. Ben Moore and Wade Wass both singled to load the bases,and after a balk scored the second run, Casey Hughston looped a single to left, scoring two more. 'Bama built the lead to 8-0 with one in the fourth and three in the fifth. In the fourth Will Haynie walked, was sacrificed to second by White, and scored on Moore's RBI single. In the fifth Kyle Overstreet lead off with a walk and Austen Smith singled. After a wild pitch advanced the runners, Chance Vincent lifted a sacrifice fly to score Overstreet. Another wild pitch allowed Smith to score, and with the bases clear Haynie hit an opposite field blast to right for his third home run of the season.
Turnbull was mowing down the Vols through five innings, having allowed only one hit. However in the bottom for the sixth Will Maddox lead off with a solo home run to put UT on the board. Tennessee made it interesting in the seventh, chasing Turnbull from the game after 6 1/3 innings. After getting the first batter out Turnbull walked, and hit the next two batters. Vincent Jackson doubled in one run, which brought Taylor Guilbeau in from the bull pen. Two singles scored two more runs, cutting the lead in half at 8-4. Mitch Greer started the bottom of the eighth inning for 'Bama, and could only record one out. A lead off double followed by an out, and two walks, caused Coach Mitch Gaspard to call on freshman closer Thomas Burrows, in a game where he didn't think he would be needed. Burrows got the next two batters on a fly ball and strike out, and then had a very easy ninth inning with two strikeouts and a weak ground ball. The win was Turnbull's fifth of the year, and the save was Burrows' seventh.
* Casey Hughston was 2-4 with two RBIs
* Ben Moore was 2-5 with an RBI and a run scored
* Georgie Salem was 2-5
* Will Haynie was 1-3 with a walk, home run and two runs scored
* Austen Smith was 1-3 with a run scored
* Mikey White was 1-5 with a run scored
Game Two, Saturday, Won 7-6
Justin Kamplain started the game on the mound for 'Bama, fresh off of being named SEC pitcher of the week for his performance against Auburn last weekend. Kamplain struggled with his command and only lasted three innings in the game. 'Bama started off the game by scoring in the first inning, on a Mikey White walk, a Georgie Salem sacrifice bunt, and a Kyle Overstreet RBI single. UT answered with a first inning run of their own, after a leadoff walk, stolen base and RBI single from Christin Stewart. In the third the Vols took the lead by scoring three un earned runs. Once again a lead off walk began the trouble. Derek Lance drew the free base and Stewart followed with a double. After inducing a ground out for the first out, Kamplain got a ground ball to third base, and when Lance broke for the plate, Chance Vincent looked to have him dead to rights at the plate. However his throw was wild, getting away from catcher Will Haynie, allowing two runs to score. Pierce Bily then hit a sacrifice fly to right for the third run of the inning, and a 4-1 deficit for the Tide.
Ray Castillo replaced Kamplain to start the fourth inning and allowed two runs in two and 2/3 innings when Bily hit a long drive off the left field foul pole for a two run homer, pushing the lead to 6-1. 'Bama started their comeback in the sixth when Wade Wass lead off with a long blast to left center for his third home run of the season. Overstreet and Austen Smith then singled. Casey Hughston struck out, but reached base when the ball got past the catcher, loading the bases. A double play ground ball scored the Tides third run. Castillo recorded two outs, but allowed a single and walk in the bottom of the sixth, bringing right hander Jay Shaw to the mound. Shaw stranded the two runners on a ground ball out.
'Bama tied the game in the top of the seventh with three runs. Salem was hit by a pitch, then singles by Moore and Wass loaded the bases. Overstreet then rifled an RBI single, and Smith lifted a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to one. Hughston once again reached after another wild pitch-strikeout. Given new life, the Tide capitalized when Vincent hit an RBI single. Shaw did a brilliant job in the bottom of the seventh after allowing a lead off triple to Nick Senzel. Shaw got a ground ball out to second, a strikeout and a fly ball to right to strand the tying run at third. Shaw had another scoreless inning in the eighth, allowing only a walk, setting the Tide up for the top of the ninth dramatics. Wass stroked a one out double, and was replaced by the speedy Hunter Webb as a pinch runner. With two outs the Vols intentionally walked Smith to get to Hughston, but he also drew a walk, loading the bases. Vincent was hit with a pitch forcing in Webb with the go ahead run. With a one run lead, Gaspard called on Mr. Automatic, freshman closer Thomas Burrows. Burrows got a great play in left field from Hughston for the first out. On a long drive by Stewart, Hughston crashed into the left center field wall to record the first out. Senzel blooped a single to center, but then Burrows got a strikeout and a fly ball to right to end the game, and give the Tide the 7-6 victory. Shaw improved his record to 2-3 with his 2 1/3 inning stint. The right hander allowed one hit with one walk and one strikeout. Burrows got his eighth save with his one inning outing. The win clinched the series, and set the Tide up for a chance at a sweep on Sunday.
* Wade Wass was 3-5 with a double, home run, RBI and two runs scored
* Kyle Overstreet was 3-5 with two RBI and a run scored
* Ben Moore was 2-4 with a run scored and a walk
* Casey Hughston was 2-4 with a walk
* Chance Vincent was 1-3 with 2 RBIs
* Austen Smith was 1-3 with an RBI and a walk
Sunday, Game Three, Lost 10-9
Like Friday night the Tide built a big league, but unlike Friday they couldn't hang on for the victory. Through six innings the team built an 8-2 lead, but let it slip away and lost 10-9 on a walk off double by Vincent Jackson (not that one) in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Jonathan Keller started for the Tide, going for what would have been his team leading sixth victory. The left hander pitched well enough to get the victory, but it was not meant to be. 'Bama scored first in the first with out the benefit of a hit. Ben Moore drew a two out walk, and Wade Wass hit a long blast to right field, that Pierce Bily had trouble with against the wall, and dropped for a two base error, allowing Moore to score. Keller struggled in the first allowing two singles and two walks, with a balk and the Vols scored two runs to take the lead.
'Bama took the lead back in the top of the fifth inning. Kyle Overstreet opened with a single and Austen Smith blasted a long opposite field home run to right for a 3-2 lead. The Tide poured it on in the sixth, scoring five more times for a seemingly safe 8-2 lead. Once again Overstreet opened the inning with a single, and Smith blasted a another two run homer run, this one to left field. Casey Hughston then hit his first career triple, and scored on a single by Chance Vincent. Mikey White drew a walk, and with two outs, Moore slammed a two run double, stretching the lead to 8-2.
Keller pitched brilliantly through the seventh, allowing six hits,with two walks and six strikeouts. The first inning runs where the only ones he allowed on the day. Things fell apart for 'Bama in the bottom of the eighth as it took four pitchers to get out of the inning with a tie score of 8-8. Nick Eicholtz, who has been great all year, was first out of the pen, and allowed a lead off double, followed by two walks. Jake Hubbard was next up and he also didn't record an out, allowing a double and a single. Taylor Guilbeau was next and he did record two outs and a single. Geoffrey Bramblett finally stopped the bleeding, getting a ground ball to Smith at first to end the disastrous eighth inning with the game tied.
In the top of the ninth Moore drilled a one out home run of the scoreboard in right field for a 10-9 Tide lead. With a 10-9 lead in the bottom of the ninth, typically 'Bama would call on closer Thomas Burrows. However after pitching on Friday and Saturday the Tide turned to second baseman Overstreet to close out the game. Overstreet has had one pitching appearance on the season, recording a one innings save earlier this season. A lead off walk, followed by a Nick Senzel double tied the game, putting the winning run at second base. After a ground out for out one, Vincent Jackson pinch hit and drove the first pitch he saw to right field for the game winning double. Overstreet was the losing pitcher.
This was a tough one for the Tide to swallow, with the sweep within range. By taking the series two games to one, 'Bama is now tied atop the SEC standings with Florida, each with a 12-6 mark.
* Austen Smith was 2-4 with two home runs, four RBIs and two runs scored
* Ben Moore was 2-3 with a double, home run and three RBIs and two runs scored
* Wade Wass was 2-5 with his team leading 15th double
* Kyle Overstreet was 2-4 with a walk and two runs scored
* Chance Vincent was 1-4 with an RBI and a run scored
* Casey Hughston was 1-4 with a run scored
* Georgie Salem was 1-5
Anytime you go on the road in the SEC and win a series it is a good thing. This one hurts because the sweep was within reach up until the end. This is only 'Bama's second loss when scoring at least three runs in a game this season. The overall record is now 28-12, 12-6 in league play. For the first time this season, in game three, the bull pen failed to shut down the opposition. After stressful wins on Friday and Saturday the arms where a little limited on Sunday. Once mid season games end the bull pen will be at full strength. Nick Eicholtz, Tucker Hawley and Geoffrey Bramblett have all stared mid week games, and once they are available there will be more arms at Coach Gaspard's disposal. Those three along with Ray Castillo, Jay Shaw, Jake Hubbard, Taylor Guilbeau and Thomas Burrows will give the Tide a deep, talented staff when they reach the post season.
Bama Baseball Fever, Catch It
Roll Tide Y'all Roger
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