Tide Baseball Wins Third Straight
"For the fourth game in a row we did a nice job offensively," Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "Every time they scored we had the ability to answer in the front part of the game. We had good offensive pressure throughout, which was really the story of the game. Once we got the lead, the bullpen did a nice job to hold the game right there toward the end."
The game was a back-and-forth affair early, as each team put up a run in each of the first three innings. The Crimson Tide also added a run in the fourth and got shutdown pitching from their bullpen to protect the lead. Sophomore right Jake Hubbard (1-0) picked up his first win of the year after throwing 2 1/3 innings and allowing only one run on three hits. Sophomore righty Jay Shaw and sophomore left-hander Justin Kamplain combined for 3 2/3 innings of scoreless, hitless work, and freshman Ray Castillo pitched the final inning to pick up his second save of the year.
"We didn't get a great start to get things going on the mound for us," Gaspard said. "I thought our bullpen did a really nice job from Jake Hubbard, to Jay (Shaw), to Justin (Kamplain) and then to Ray Castillo, to keep the game where it was."
Sophomore south paw Taylor Guilbeau did not factor into the decision in his fifth start of the year. Guilbeau threw two innings and surrendered four runs (three earned) on four hits and two walks. Adam Polk (2-4) was charged with the loss for the Gamecocks after allowing two runs in his one inning pitched.
Junior first baseman Austen Smith recorded his second straight three-hit game and his sixth multi-hit game of the year after a 3-for-3 performance that included a single, a double, a walk, a run scored and two runs batted in. Freshman center fielder Georgie Salem was 2-for-4 with a walk and an RBI, and senior third baseman Kenny Roberts also put up an RBI in 2-for-4 night.
In the first inning, the Gamecocks had their two leadoff hitters reach base, and the third batter grounded into a double play but was able to advance the runner across for an early 1-0 lead.
The Tide responded in the bottom half of the frame, when Ben Moore and Brett Booth reached base on a fielder's choice and single, respectively, and a wild pitch on a walk to Smith allowed Moore to score from second to knot it up, 1-1.
The two teams exchanged runs again in the second. The Gamecocks loaded the bases on a single, an error and a walk, but a Tide double play limited the damage to one run. The Alabama offense got the run right back, as a walk drawn by Andrew Miller and a single by Salem set up Miller at third base. Roberts drove him in with a single to left field to tie the score again, 2-2.
Following a double and walk by the Gamecocks to open the third inning, Guilbeau got the hook in favor of Hubbard. Hubbard allowed a hit in the inning, but a wild pitch and a sacrifice fly to deep left center allowed the Gamecocks to retake the lead at 4-2.
Alabama stormed back with three runs on five hits to retake the lead in the bottom of the inning. Booth's single set the table for Smith's RBI double in the following at-bat, and although Overstreet was thrown out in an attempt to stretch a double into a triple, his shot into right scored Smith from second to tie the game at 4-4. Cameron Carlisle drew a walk in the next at-bat to set up a single from Salem that gave the Tide a 5-4 lead. After Moore reached on a dropped pop out to lead off the bottom of the fourth, Smith sent a single into left to extend the lead in Alabama's favor, 6-4.
After allowing three straight base runners and a run to the Gamecocks in the fifth, Shaw relieved Hubbard for 1 2/3 scoreless, hitless innings. Kamplain pitched two perfect innings, and Castillo slammed the door shut in the ninth inning.
The Alabama Crimson Tide returns to action on Friday when they travel to Athens to face the Georgia Bulldogs. First pitch from Foley Field is slated for 6 p.m. CDT on Friday, 3 p.m. CDT on Saturday, and 1 p.m. CDT on Sunday.
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