Alabama Baseball Downs Rebels, 6-5
After Alabama added an insurance run in the top of the ninth inning on a RBI double by Jon Kelton, Mississippi had runners on second and third with no outs in the bottom half of the inning. Jonathan Smart came in to strikeout the first two hitter before Miles Hamblin flied out to right field to end the game, as Smart recorded his second save of the season.
""We got a great start from Adam Morgan and really for the first time, certainly in the road, we got production throughout the lineup," UA Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "This game shows what can happen when we get production from the bottom of the order. But more importantly, we put pressure on them throughout the game, even when we didn't score."
Alabama starting pitcher Adam Morgan (3-1) got the win as he threw 6.0 innings, allowing five runs (all earned) on five hits with six strikeouts and two walks, Mississippi starter David Goforth (0-3) threw 5.1 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits with four strikeouts and a walk in a losing effort.
"Miller had a really big day and came up with some clutch hits for us," Gaspard said. "After they made their run in the sixth inning, I thought the bullpen did a nice job, and Smart did a great job at the end and shut it down with runners on second and third and nobody out."
Miller had four of the 13 hits for the Crimson Tide, with three singles and a triple with two RBI and a run scored. His second hit of the afternoon was a key spark for Alabama, a two-RBI single to left field in the fourth inning, snapping a 20-inning scoring drought for the Tide. In addition to Miller, Taylor Dugas, Brock Bennett and Kelton added two hits each.
After three scoreless innings to open the game, Alabama plated two runs on the top of the fourth inning. After a single by David Kindred and Kelton was hit by a pitch, both runners moved up following a passed ball. On the next pitch, Miller's sharp single over shortstop drove in both base runners. Before the two-run fourth, the Tide had not scored since the first inning of Tuesday's game against Auburn.
After Morgan retired the first 11 batters he faced, Mississippi answered in the bottom half of the fourth when Matt Smith homered to left field with two outs. It was the second straight game that Morgan opened the game with 11 straight outs.
The Crimson Tide manufactured a run in the fifth inning to regain its two-run lead. Dugas extended his hitting streak to nine games with a lead-off single and moved up to second on a sac bunt by Bennett. A walk to Jared Reaves and a wild pitch moved the runners up to second and third, and Austin Smith's sacrifice fly to right field scored Dugas for his team-leading 21st run of the season.
Alabama extended its lead to 6-1, and scored in three straight innings, with a three-run sixth. After Miller tripled to the right field corner with one out, he scored on a bunt single by Jeremiah Tullidge. The second single of the day by Dugas plated James Tullidge, who walked earlier, from second base. The final run came across when a throwing error by the Rebels second baseman on a Bennett infield single, scoring Jeremiah Tullidge from second.
The Rebels cut the Alabama lead to 6-5 after scoring four runs off Morgan in the sixth. Three straight singles loaded the bases and a walk by Smith pushed across the first run. A groundout scored the second run and an infield single by Preston Overbey plated the final two runs of the inning.
The Tide added an insurance run in the ninth with a pair of doubles, the first by Jared Reaves at lead off the inning and the second coming off the bat of Kelton with two outs, extending the Alabama lead to 7-5.
Mississippi threatened in the bottom of the ninth as Overbey singled and Matt Tracy doubled off Brett Whitaker. Smart entered the game with runners on second and third, and retired all three batters he faced to end the game.
Alabama and Mississippi will complete the weekend three-game series on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 1:30 p.m. from Oxford-University Stadium. Sunday's probable pitching match-up features right-hander Tucker Hawley (3-1, 2.16 ERA) for the Crimson Tide and left-hander Austin Wright (2-1, 2.66 ERA) for the Rebels.
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