Tide Bats Warm Up, Bama Beats Tulane

Who would have expected the recent cold bats of Alabama to warm up with two outs and no one on base in the bottom of the sixth inning Sunday? But Bama exploded for six runs, propelling the Crimson Tide to a 12-6 win over Tulane.

Alabama had lost the first two games in the series to Tulane at Sewell-Thomas Stadium, primarily because of a lack of offensive punch. Although Bama had been hitting singles, the Tide had not been getting the big hits. That changed Sunday.

When Mikey White doubled in the sixth inning, it marked the first extra base hit for the Tide in 58 innings. There had been 47 hits in that span, but all of them had been singles. Ben Moore also delivered a double in the game-changing sixth.

Tulane had won games Friday and Saturday to take the series. Sunday's win improved Bama to 8-3, while Tulane fell to 6-6.

On Tuesday, Alabama goes to Riverwalk Stadium in Montgomery for the MAX Capital City Classic against Auburn. The non-counting game for Southeastern Conference purposes begins at 7 p.m. CST.

Junior first baseman Austen Smith, freshman second baseman Kyle Overstreet and sophomore right fielder Ben Moore combined for eight runs batted in on Sunday against Tulane.

Freshman right-hander Ray Castillo came on in relief in the top of the sixth and set career highs in innings pitched (4 1/3) and strikeouts (6) to earn the win. He is now 2-0. Brady Wilson (0-1) was charged with the loss for Tulane after throwing 2 1/3 innings, allowing two runs on two hits with three walks and three strikeouts.

"The biggest thing today was the win," Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "We needed to get a win after this weekend. After really struggling on the offensive end of things the first two games, it was nice to get some flow in the line-up."

Trailing 5-4 heading to the bottom of the sixth inning, Alabama batted around and exploded for six runs.. Georgie Salem walked and White doubled of the wall to spark the rally. Moore then delivered a double that bounced over the left field wall to score both Salem and White, giving the Tide a 6-5 advantage. After Booth and Roberts walked to load the bases, Smith singled to center field to make it 8-5, then Overstreet capped the inning with a two-run single, making the score 10-5 in favor of the Tide.

Smith and Overstreet had two hits and three RBIs each and Moore pitched in with a 2-for-4 performance that included two RBIs and two runs scored. Freshman shortstop Mikey White, senior third baseman Kenny Roberts and senior designated hitter Andrew Miller all drove in a run for the Tide. Booth reached base four times in the game, including three walks and being hit by a pitch, and scored three times. Roberts was 1-for-3 with two walks and three runs scored.

"Ben Moore and Austen Smith had a good day, but some other guys had some good swings too," Gaspard said. "We give a lead up, but we have the ability to respond and take it back. I thought Ray Castillo did a really good job again out of the bullpen for us."

UA sophomore right-hander Spencer Turnbull got the start, lasting 4 2/3 innings despite tying his career-high in strikeouts with six. Turnbull gave up five runs on eight hits with three walks. Tulane starter Kyle McKenzie want 3 1/3 innings, giving up four runs (two earned) on five hits with four walks and four strikeouts.

The Green Wave loaded the base in the first inning and were able to push a run across on an infield ground out, before Turnbull struck out two to get out of it. Turnbull settled in from there, keeping the Tulane lineup in check through the four innings.

Alabama was the beneficiary of miscues by the Green Wave defense in a four-run fourth, as a throwing error on Roberts' at-bat allowed Booth to score from second and Moore from third on Smith's RBI single the next at-bat. The freshmen got in on the scoring as well, with an Overstreet RBI sacrifice fly and a White bases-loaded walk to put the Tide up 4-1 after four.

After Tulane put up four runs of their own in the top of the fifth, Turnbull was chased in favor of Castillo, who held the Tulane offense to only one run for the rest of the day.

The Tide capitalized on Castillo's command of the mound, batting around the lineup in both the fourth and sixth innings.

The lone run off Castillo came in the eighth inning when Tulane's Bowen Woodson hit a two-out, solo home run in the eighth inning. Once again, Alabama responded, scoring two more runs in the bottom of the eighth inning, thanks to Tulane pitching. The first three batters for Bama were hit by pitches, and that was followed by a bases loaded balk and a sacrifice fly to cap the scoring at 12-6.

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