Tide Baseball Hosts Mississippi State

Last week Alabama freshman pitcher Spencer Turnbull was given a tough assignment: start the Crimson Tide's series at No. 4 ranked South Carolina. He responded brilliantly, earning Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week.

It was no surprise when Alabama announced its Friday starter as the Crimson Tide hosts Mississippi State for a three-game series this weekend. Spencer Turnbull, a freshman right-hander, will get the call.

In his start last Thursday, Turnbull did not allow a hit or a run in a career-high seven innings against the Gamecocks. He had five strikeouts and did not allow a runner past second base. (He gave up four walks and a hit batsman.) Turnbull had thrown 97 pitches, 53 for strikes, before lightning halted the game with Alabama batting in the top of in the eighth inning, and the score tied at 0-0. The game resumed Friday and Tide relief pitching lost the game.

Turnbull will be going up against tough competition in Mississippi State ace Chris Stratton, a junior right-hander who is 8-0 with a 2.39 earned run average who has 95 strikeouts against only 17 walks.

Turnbull is 2-3 with a 4.54 ERA with 39 strikeouts against 20 walks.

The first game of the three-game series will begin at 630 p.m. CDT at Alabama's Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Bama is 17-28 overall and 6-15 in SEC games. Mississippi State is 27-17 overall and 10-11 in the conference and comes into the week having won six of its last seven games and is ranked 29th in the nation.

Game two of the series is scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday, and the series wraps up with a 1 p.m. Sunday game.

Freshman left-hander Jon Keller (1-4, 4.37 ERA) will pitch against State's Kendall Graveman, a junior ighting with a 3-3 record and 3.04 ERA. Sunday pitchers have not been announced for Bama or the Bulldogs.

In a series that began in 1896, the three games this weekend will be games 380-382 between the two schools. After winning two of three games in Starkville last season, Alabama holds a 209-167-3 advantage overall. Last year, Alabama won the opening game of the series, 5-4, in 10 innings, thanks to a 10th inning, pinch-hit home run by Brett Whitaker. After UA posted a 5-4 win in game two, MSU won the series finale, 8-5. In the last series played in Tuscaloosa, Alabama swept all three games of the SEC series. Alabama has won the last six series dating back to the 2006 season. During that stretch, UA is 14-4 against the Bulldogs. Head coach Mitch Gaspard is 5-1 all-time against Mississippi State, will all six games coming in his three seasons at The Capstone.

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