Bulldogs Top Tide In Pitching Duel

The Alabama baseball team dropped the opening game of its Southeastern Conference series versus the Mississippi State Bulldogs by a score of 3-1 on Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. With the loss, the Crimson Tide falls to 17-29 and 6-16 in the SEC while the Bulldogs improve to 28-17 and 11-11.

Alabama collected 11 hits, but managed just one run against five Mississippi State pitchers. The Crimson Tide stranded eight runners on the night, including one in the eighth and two in the ninth in trying to pull off the late rally.

"Going in, we knew tonight that it would be a low scoring game with Chris Stratton on the mound," Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "Although we did a nice job of collecting hits, we did not benefit from a lot of them, just scoring one run. Spencer Turnbull gave us a solid start and I thought that Chazz Otwell did a real good job in relief to give us a chance in the eighth and ninth."

Mississippi State starter Chris Stratton improved to 9-0 on the season, tossing 106 pitches over 7.0 innings allowing no runs on seven hits while striking out six. Reigning SEC Freshman of the Week, Spencer Turnbull (2-4) took the loss for the Tide, pitching 5.2 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits while striking out two.

Taylor Dugas, Ben Moore and Josh Rosecrans each finished the night 2-for-4 at the plate with Dugas adding a run and Moore an RBI. With his two hits, Dugas now has 321 hits for his career and is one behind the school record holder Andy Phillips. Dugas holds the school record for singles (225), doubles (66) and triples (16).

UA junior right handed pitcher Chazz Otwell pitched a career-high 3.1 innings in relief of Turnbull, allowing no runs, on no hits, while recording a career-high four strikeouts.

"We had a couple of opportunities where you have to get some hits and string them together at the right time," Gaspard said. "We kind of ran short on some guys when they started to mixing and matching, lefty and righty. We didn't have as many options as we would have liked right there."

Mississippi State scored the game's opening run in the top half of the fourth inning to take an initial 1-0 lead. Trey Porter reached base to lead off the inning after being struck by a pitch, moved to second on a wild pitch then to third on a balk before coming home on Daryl Norris' RBI fielder's choice.

The Bulldogs added two more in the fifth to push the advantage to 3-0. MSU left fielder Tyler Fullerton led off the inning with a double, before later scoring on a RBI single by shortstop Adam Frazier. From there, Mississippi State added another run on a sacrifice fly by Mitch Slauter, scoring second baseman Sam Frost to make it 3-0.

Alabama got on the board in the eighth on Moore's two-out RBI single, scoring Dugas from second, to cut the margin to 3-1 heading into the ninth. After a perfectly pitched top half of the inning from Otwell, the Tide was able to put runners at the corners with one out in the bottom half of the inning, but could not capitalize, grounding into a game-ending double play.

The series between Alabama and Mississippi State will continue on Saturday with first pitch at 2:05 p.m. from Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Tide is slated to start left-hander Jon Keller (1-4, 4.37), while the Bulldogs will start right-hander Kendall Graveman (3-3, 3.04).

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