Once again the Crimson Tide was forced into a shortening a series because of weather concerns, playing their fifth double header of the year. Foul weather expected for Sunday forced a Saturday double header, the teams fourth in SEC play, all of which have been split, one game to one. The Tide lost Friday night, 4-3, won game two 6-0 and lost 5-3 in the rubber game of the series Saturday evening. 'Bama is now 20-18, 7-11 in conference, and Missouri improved to 26-14 overall, and 12-6 in SEC play.
Game One: Lost 4-3
The Tide got a complete game performance from Taylor Guilbeau on the mound Friday night, saving the bull pen for the impending Saturday double header. Guilbeau kept 'Bama in the game, but a late rally fell short and the team fell 4-3. The boys from Tuscaloosa had a promising first inning start, but could only manage one run after the first three batters of the game reached base. Chandler Avant led off with a single, and advanced when Georgie Salem sacrificed bunted. Salem also reached base when the throw was wide, and Avant scored the games first run. Mikey White was hit by a pitch and then cleanup hitter Casey Hughston was called on to bunt the runners over, which he did. With one out Kyle Overstreet lined a shot to left, and when Salem tried to score he was cut down at the plate for a double play.
Missouri answered in the second on a double, a sac bunt, and a ground ball out. Meanwhile Tiger pitcher Reggie McClain was shutting the Tide down with minimal threats from the second inning through the seventh inning. Mizzou scored again in the fourth on a single, a wild pitch, a bunt hit and a double play to take a 2-1 lead. The Tigers continued to manufacture runs in the fifth, scoring two more on three singles, a sacrifice bunt and a sacrifice fly.
The Tide managed to get to McClain in the eighth, scoring once to cut the lead to 4-2. Avant reached in an infield single, and Salem on an error to begin the inning. Avant scored in a wild pitch, and a double play and fly out ended the threat. In the ninth McClain recorded to quick outs before running into trouble. J.C. Wilhite lined a double, his third hit of the night, and was followed by a long RBI double by Will Haynie. Tiger closer, Breckin Williams, was called in and he promptly walked Chance Vincent on four pitches. Avant liked the first pitch he saw and hit a ball toward the second baseman that was fielded to end the game with the Tide I the wrong end of a 4-3 scOre.
GUilbeau pitched all eight inning, allowing nine hits with three walks and two strikeouts. Tide hitters struck out five times, against one walk and one hit batter. Wilhite with three hits and Avant with two were the only players with more than one hit in the game.
Game Two: Won 6-0
In what was probably the Tide' s most complete game of the year, freshman Jake Walters started his first SEC game of the year, and delivered in a spectacular fashion. Walters has been a midweek starter for 'Bama and has done a great job. With regular Saturday starter Will Carter struggling, and the Tide having lost seven straight game twos of series, coach Mitch Gaspard made the change this weekend. Walters pitched seven innings, allowing six hits, with only one walk, and four strikeouts.
Mizzou freshman Tanner Houck was matching zeros with Walters in an old fashioned pitching duel until the sixth when the Tide finally broke through. Chandler Avant struck out, but reached base as the ball got away from the catcher. After two more strikeouts, Casey Hughston lined a laser shot over the right field wall for his team leading fifth home run, and a 2-0 Tide lead.
Walters encountered a little trouble in the bottom of the seventh, on a one out single and double, but calmly got a strikeout and pop out to stymie the threat. 'Bama added insurance in the eighth when Georgie Salem hit his third home run of the season, and Kyle Overstreet hit his first long ball for a 4-0 Tide lead. Walters was replaced by Thomas Burrows who pitched two perfect innings to preserve the shut out. Salem added to the Tide's total with a two run single in the top of the ninth. The three home runs in the game was a season high for Alabama.
Salem and Overstreet had the only two hit games for the Tide, and Walters only walk was to the lead off hitter in the first. With the pitcher throwing strikes the defense was playing on their toes, resulting in a good, clean game for the team.
Game Three: Lost 5-3
The rubber game of the series began 30 minutes after game two, with Geoffrey Bramblett on the mound for the Tide against Peter Fairbanks for the Tigers. The Tide jumped out to a three to nothing lead in the third inning on three straight RBI singles by Casey Hughston, Kyle Overstreet and Cody Henry.
MU answered in the fourth when they cranked three solo home runs in a span of four batter, to tie the game at three apiece. Fairbanks was replaced by Andrew Scwaab after two Tide hitters reached by walks in the fifth, and shut Bama down the rest of the way, with ninth inning help from closer Breckin Williams. After the Tides third inning barrage, they were held to only a Chandler Avant infield dribbler the rest of the way.
Mizzou got the winning margin in the bottom of the fifth. Ryan Howard singled, and when John Howard couldn't get a sacrifice bunt down, he was allowed to swing away and hit a long two run homer for the final Runs of the game. Mitch Greer pitched the final two innings for the Tide in perfect fashion. 'Bama couldn't muster any threats and fell 5-3.
Avant, with two singles, was the only player with multi hits in the game. Brambkett was tagged with the loss, tossing six innings, allowing six hits (four home runs) with one walk and four strikeouts.
This is a series that 'Bama has to feel like they let get away. The pitching did a much better job of throwing strikes, and Walters was brilliant in his first SEC start. Alabama hit .213 as a team (22-103), while MU hit at a .250 clip (22-88.) Tide pitchers walked only five batters in the three games, and struck out 12. Tide hitters walked eight times and struck out 22 times.
- Avant was 5-12 in the series
- Wilhite was 4-12
- Salem, Overstreet and Hughston all had three hits, with a home run each
RTR. Bama Baseball Fever Catch It
Bama is in action next on Tuesday when they host Mississippi Valley State in a 2pm double header at The Hoover Met. SEC Network Plus will have the games available.