Alabama went on the road with new status as the number 15 team in the country, and took two out of three games against Texas A&M in College Station. The Tide won Friday night's game 5-1 and split a double header on Saturday, losing game one 13-8 and taking game two by a score of 6-4. 'Bama improved to 22-9, 8-4 in the SEC.
Friday, Game One, Won 5-1
Alabama got production up and down the lineup and standout pitching from Spencer Turnbull, Nick Eicholtz and Thomas Burrows in winning game one of the series 5-1 over the Aggies. The Tide scored first in the third when Hunter Webb singled, advanced to second on a sac bunt by Georgie Salem, and scored on a single by Ben Moore. Texas A&M tied the game in the fourth on a Nick Banks single, a Troy Stein sacrifice bunt and an RBI single by Jace Statum. 'Bama took control in the fourth with some classic small ball. Chance Vincent led off with a walk, and was sacrificed to second by Webb. Both runners were safe when pitcher Daniel Mengden elected to try to force Vincent at second, and he beat the throw. Salem attempted another sac bunt, but beat it out for a hit, loading the bases. Mikey White lifted a sacrifice fly to right, scoring Vincent. Moore followed with a sacrifice fly of his own, scoring Webb for a 3-1 lead. 'Bama added one more in the sixth on a Wade Wass walk and stolen base, followed by a Vincent RBI single. The Tide got its last run in the ninth when Vincent singled, was sacrificed to second by Webb, and scored on Georgie Salem's single.
Turnbull made the lead stand up, lasting seven innings, throwing 113 pitches. The big right-hander allowed five singles, walked two, struck out three and only allowed the one run. Nick Eicholtz relieved in the eighth inning, and only allowed an infield single. Thomas Burrows pitched the ninth and had a perfect inning.
The Tide played a clean game, and executed in all areas. The team successfully had four sacrifice bunts, which has been a weakness this year, and managed to score a couple via sacrifice fly. 'Bama was also three for three on stolen base attempts.
* Mikey White had three hits, with an RBI
* Chance Vincent was 2-3 with 2 runs scored and a RBI
* Georgie Salem was 2-4 with a run driven in and a sacrifice bunt
* Ben Moore was 1-4 with 2 RBI's, a stolen base and a Sacrifice Fly
* Hunter Webb was 1-2 with 2 runs scored and two sacrifice bunts
* Austen Smith was 1-4
* Kyle Overstreet's 11 game hitting streak was broken, and Wade Wass's was stopped at nine games
Saturday, Game 2 (1 of double header) Lost 13-8
Justin Kamplain took the mound for 'Bama in the first game Saturday against Grayson Long of the Aggies. Early on it looked as if the Tide was well on their way to victory, but fortunes changed quickly. Texas A&M scored first with one run in the first on a hit batter, a sacrifice bunt, an infield single, and a sacrifice fly. 'Bama answered with three in the second, getting them to their magic number early. Coming into the game the Tide was 21-0 when scoring three runs or more in a game, and 0-8 when scoring less than three runs. Kyle Overstreet, Wade Wass and Austen Smith opened up the second with singles. William Elliott's ground ball out scored the first run and Chance Vincent plated the second run with a sacrifice fly. Hunter Webb then singled, scoring the third run. 'Bama added to the lead in the third as Mikey White singled, advanced on a balk, and scored on an Austen Smith RBI single.
A&M closed the gap in the fourth with two runs, using an error and a walk, followed by a double and single to cut the lead to 4-3. In the top of the fifth the Tide seemed to take control when Ben Moore and Overstreet opened the inning with singles. Wass fought off four 3-2 pitches before depositing a mammoth home run over the left field wall for a 7-3 lead. Unfortunately TAMU answered in the bottom of the fifth, batting around to score four runs and chase Kamplain from the game. A rare catchers' interference call seemed to shift momentum in the inning. Four straight singles followed, including three of the infield variety. Geoffrey Bramblett relieved Kamplain and got two outs, before being relieved by Jay Shaw. By the time the inning was over the game was tied 7-7. Texas A&M wasn't through, batting around again in the sixth, scoring four more runs. Shaw was relieved by Nick Eicholtz and got the final two outs of the sixth, and holding the lead at 11-7. 'Bama scored their last run in the seventh on a walk to Austen Smith and a dropped fly ball. Seldom used Colton Freeman was called on to pitch the seventh, and in only his second Tide appearance allowed two runs, one earned, with a strikeout. Mitch Greer threw the eighth inning and allowed only one single with a strikeout. Shaw absorbed the loss, allowing four runs in 2/3 of an inning. Kamplain pitched four-plus innings allowing eight hits and seven runs, five earned.
* Wade Wass was 2-4 with a home run and three RBIs and two runs scored
* Austen Smith was 2-4 with an RBI and a run scored
* Kyle Overstreet was 2-5 with two runs scored
* Ben Moore was 2-5 with a run scored
* Chance Vincent was 1-2 with an RBI
* Hunter Webb was 1-3 with an RBI
This was only the third game all season were the Tide didn't have a chance to win at the end, the others being a 6-0 loss to Louisiana Lafayette, and a 7-2 loss to Kentucky earlier this season. The loss set up the rubber game of the series, thirty minutes after this one ended.
Saturday Game Three (second game of double header) Won 6-4
Despite some uncharacteristic sloppy play, 'Bama was able to pull out the series by winning the third game 6-4. Jon Keller got the starting nod, coming off of his complete game gem against Ole Miss last Sunday. The Tide let an early opportunity slip by as Georgie Salem opened the game with a single, followed by a Mikey White double. 'Bama was in business with runners on second and third with no outs, but freshman left-hander Tyler Stubblefield retired the next three batters to keep the Tide off the board. In the third 'Bama once again seemed to be poised for a big inning. Hunter Webb led off with a double, followed by a Salem single. Mikey White's ground ball forced Salem at second, scoring Webb, but that was the only run scored in the inning. Keller was cruising along and had not allowed a hit through four innings. The Aggies finally broke through in the fifth, scoring on a Logan Taylor triple, followed by a Ronnie Gideon RBI double.
White was hit by a pitch to lead off the sixth and advanced to second on a passed ball. Kyle Overstreet stroked a single to score White. Austen Smith doubled, putting runners at second and third with two outs. Chance Vincent then drilled a clutch two RBI single, giving the Tide a 4-1 lead. The ugliest inning of 'Bama's season followed, as all four of the very good infielders committed errors. Keller was relieved by Ray Castillo with one out. The Aggies tied the game by scoring three runs on two singles and the four errors by the Tide. Castillo stranded two runners in the inning. Andrew Vinson mowed down the 'Bama hitters in the seventh and eighth innings, leaving the game tied. In the bottom of the seventh A&M got the first two batters on via singles, but Castillo coaxed two ground balls, one for a double play, and one for the third out of the inning, to his roommate, White at shortstop. In the eighth Overstreet made a brilliant play, forcing a runner out at second after racing into right field on a flare that fell just out of Ben Moore's reach and gunning to White at second base for the out. That set the table for the winning rally in the top of the ninth. Vincent had a one out single, followed by Taylor Poe's single, putting runners at first and second with one out. Left fielder Webb then riffled a double in to left center scoring Vincent with the go ahead run. Salem was intentionally walked, loading the bases and setting up the possible double play. White foiled that strategy by hitting a sacrifice fly to right, giving the Tide a 6-4 lead. With a two run lead Coach Mitch Gaspard called on freshman closer Thomas Burrows, who has been almost automatic this year. Burrows started the inning with a called strikeout and pitched a perfect ninth inning for his fourth save of the year.
Castillo was the winning pitcher, going 2 2/3 scoreless innings, allowing three hits and one walk. Keller lasted 5 1/3 innings, allowing four hits, two walks, with four strikeouts. The left handed junior allowed four runs, only one of which was earned. This was the fourth game in a row with double figure hits for the Tide, and the team batting average is now .276. The pitching staffs ERA went up to 2.41. The four errors where anomaly, and don't look for that to happen often, if at all, again.
* Hunter Webb was 2-4 with 2 doubles, the winning RBI and a run scored. He was 4-9 on the weekend.
* Chance Vincent was 2-4 with two RBIs and a run scored. He was 5-9 with four RBIs in the series.
* Georgie Salem was 2-4 with a walk and went 4-13 in the series.
* Mikey White was 1-3 with two RBIs and went 5-11 in the series
* Kyle Overstreet was 1-4 with an RBI and run scored
* Taylor Poe, in his first career start, was 1-4 with a run scored.
While not entirely pleased with the way they played, the team will take a road series win in the SEC and run with it. The defensive lapses were definitely not the norm, and the bullpen troubles in game two were out of character as well. Both have been a strength so far this season, and should continue to be so. The hitting is coming around, and when all three aspects are clicking, this is a very dangerous team.
The team has an all in-state schedule next week, playing UAB at home on Tuesday, and welcoming Auburn to The Joe in a weekend series. The UAB game will be at 6:05 p.m. and the Friday Auburn game is set for 6:35 p.m. Saturday's game will be at 6:05 p.m., and Sunday's game is set for 1:05 p.m. All times listed are CST. None of the games are set to be televised, so if you are in the area, come out and see an exciting team play. Bama Baseball Fever, Catch It!
Roll Tide Y'all Roger
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