Tide Baseball Gets Sweep Of Demons

Sophomore right-handed pitcher Tucker Hawley threw a complete game shutout, racking up a career-high nine strikeouts, to lead the Alabama baseball team to 9-0 victory and a series sweep of the Northwestern State Demons on Sunday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

Hawley (2-1) threw 76 strikes on 102 pitches without allowing a single runner to reach second base. The three hits allowed tied Hawley's career-low, as he became the first Alabama pitcher to throw a complete game shutout in nearly three years.

"Tucker Hawley was just outstanding today," Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "I told the team that sometimes it takes one guy to get out there and get us going. I think Nathan Kilcrease did that for us with a great start last night and Tucker took the lead from Nathan and went out and was really dominant with all three pitches today. He located down in the strike zone, had a ton of first pitch strikes, and a lot of first pitch outs which allowed us to keep him in the ballgame. Typically, this early you don't see a guy go for a complete game, but we had him on a 100-pitch count and he closed it out with 102."

Senior second baseman Jon Kelton led the Tide hitting barrage with a 3-for-4, one run and two RBI performance. Freshman left fielder Austen Smith finished the day 2-for-3 with three RBI, while sophomore third baseman Brett Booth was 2-for-3 with two runs scored and one RBI. Junior shortstop Jared Reaves was 2-for-2 with a run scored and reached base five times on Sunday, and ended the series with a .571 (4-for-7) average with five walks and two RBI.

The Crimson Tide (7-4) totaled a season-high 12 hits and equaled its second-highest run total of the year in winning its third consecutive game. Northwestern State (4-8) starting pitcher Matt Lackie (0-1) took the loss, lasting just 1.2 innings, allowing four runs on two hits with three walks and two hit batters.

"I thought on the offensive end we found some rhythm with a lineup that worked," Gaspard said. "I thought Kelton, a guy from last year with a lot of experience, came back around today and had a big day. Hopefully that will get him going. Overall, it was a good weekend for us, we needed to bounce back after losing four, and a lot of times it's tough to get it back going again. The last couple of games we did enough to get the win and I thought we were pretty solid out there today."

Kelton got the scoring started in the second inning, doubling off the wall in right-center field to plate Booth to put the Tide up 1-0. Junior center fielder Taylor Dugas followed with a sacrifice fly to bring home sophomore right fielder Andrew Miller to increase the Alabama advantage to 2-0. After a Northwestern State pitching change, Reaves walked to load the bases for Smith who followed with a hard single up the middle, scoring Kelton and senior catcher Brock Bennett to put the Tide up 4-0.

Alabama scored another run in the third before adding a pair in the fourth to make the score 7-0. The Crimson Tide added two more in the seventh on two-RBI single by Dugas to cap the scoring on the day.

Alabama returns to Sewell-Thomas Stadium on Tuesday to take on the Troy Trojans. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. CST.

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