Alabama Baseball Mauls Tennessee
"I thought that Charley Sullivan was outstanding tonight," Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "The first couple innings it took a little bit for him to get going but then he found a really good rhythm in the third inning. He had a lot of good pitches and worked ahead in the count and had some quick innings. The ability to get a complete game on a Friday night is big help as you move into the weekend … with bullpen being rested."
After giving up a run in the first inning, Sullivan settled in to pitch a gem for the Tide, going all nine innings and only allowing one run on three hits and a walk. Sullivan struck out seven batters and used 106 pitches to dismantle the 30 batters he faced. Sullivan threw the first complete game for Alabama since Nathan Kilcrease's complete game performance against South Carolina on May 19, 2011. It was the first complete game three-hitter for an Alabama pitcher since March 6, 2011, when Tucker Hawley pitched a gem against Northwestern State.
UT starter Zack Godley (1-2) was charged with the loss after allowing eight runs (four earned) offense on eight hits and a walk.
Sophomore right fielder Ben Moore keyed the Alabama offense, going 2-for-4 with a three-run double and a single, was hit by pitch, stole a base and scored a run. Senior catcher Brett Booth had another strong game, going 3-for-3 with two singles, a double, a stolen base and three runs scored. Kyle Overstreet drove in two and had a run scored, and Georgie Salem, Austin Smith and Mikey White all drove in a run. Cameron Carlisle made his first start of the season as the designated hitter, and was 1-for-3 with two walks and a run scored.
Sullivan allowed a leadoff walk to Taylor Smart to start the game, and after he stole second, Smart advanced home on sacrifice bunt and a groundout for the first run of the game. The Tide responded in the second, as Overstreet, Carlisle and Andrew Miller all reached base to set up a Salem bases loaded walk to tie the game. Moore cleared the bases with a stand-up double to put Alabama up, 4-1.
"Offensively, I thought the big hit by Ben Moore in the second to put us up 4-1 really kind of relaxed things and got the hitters going," Gaspard said. "We also had really good offensive pressure throughout the ball game. Brett (Booth) had some good hits. It was good to see our offense have some confidence."
Alabama kept the runs coming by adding two more in the fifth. After Roberts singled to open the inning, Booth singled and showed some crafty base running with a as he reached second on an attempt to throw out Roberts at third. Although Smith struck out, a wild pitch thrown on strike three allowed Booth to move up and Roberts to score from third. Overstreet capped off the inning by advancing Booth home on a groundout to stretch the lead to 6-1.
Moore was hit by a pitch to open the seventh and after Booth singled for the second time in the game, they executed a double steal to move both runners into scoring position. With the stolen base, more is now 8-for-8 this season to lead the team. Moore scored after a single by Smith and a balk by Tennessee's Eric Martin with runners on the corners, allowed Booth to score, putting the Tide up 8-1.
Alabama added four runs in the bottom of the eighth, thanks to three Tennessee errors in the inning. Doubles by Salem and Booth helped extend the big inning for Alabama, as Booth, Overstreet and White all had RBIs in the frame. Wade Wass made his Alabama debut as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning and reached on an error by the Tennessee shortstop.
"I thought it was one of the better games we've played for nine innings. We were solid, pitched well and played really well defensively. Offensively, we had a good plan all night long."
Alabama returns for game two on Saturday at 6:05 p.m. CT, and the final game of the series is slated for 1:05 p.m. CT on Sunday. Alabama will start sophomore LHP Jon Keller (2-2, 3.00) and Tennessee is slated to threw freshman RHP Aaron Quillen (1-1, 4.05).
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