Tide Baseball Goes For Sweep Of Rebs

As Alabama prepared to host ninth-ranked Ole Miss in this weekend's Southeastern Conference baseball series, there was probably a fear on the part of many in the Crimson Tide camp that Bama would be swept by the talented Rebels. As Sunday afternoon's third game approaches, it is Alabama that is looking for the sweep.

Hunter Webb drove in the winning run with a single in the 10th inning to give the No. 30 Alabama baseball team a dramatic victory over the Ole Miss Rebels, 6-5, Saturday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. After clinching their second SEC series win of the season, Bama (18-8, 5-3 SEC) will go for the series sweep against Mississippi (21-7, 4-4 SEC) on Sunday, with first pitch set for 1:05 p.m. CDT.

It was a great outcome even though in many respects not so great a performance by the Crimson Tide, which seemed to have opportunity after opportunity to shut the door on the Rebels, only to let the visitors off the hook; and, really, in position to win.

As Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said, it made for exciting baseball. "Our guys grinded really hard and found a way to win it in the end," Gaspard said. "We didn't play great and had some spots where we made some mistakes. At the end of the day we got a couple runs off a good closer in Laxer and found a way to extend the game. Webb got the big hit after coming in the game late, and we had a couple guys that came in that hadn't played a whole lot that did a great job. Castillo did a good job to keep the game down and Kamplain had a really solid start as well."

The game was tied 4-4 at the end of nine innings. Ole Miss took a 5-4 lead in the top of the 10th as Sikes Orvis delivered an RBI single off Alabama relief pitcher Taylor Gilbeau.

Bama answered in the bottom of the 10th. Mikey White drew a base on balls and Ben Moore was hit by a pitch. Although Alabama doesn't always execute the sacrifice bunt well, Kyle Overstreet had a beauty, moving the runners into scoring position. The Rebels intentionally walked Wade Wass to load the bases. Austen Smith delivered a sacrifice fly to tie the game, setting up Webb's game-winning single.

Geoffrey Bramblett (2-0) was the winning pitcher after recording the final two outs in the top of the 10th. Wyatt Short (3-1) suffered his first loss of the season for the Rebels after allowing two runs on one hit and four walks in 2 2/3 innings of relief.

Alabama starting pitcher Justin Kamplain did not factor into the decision despite his team-leading fourth "quality start" of the season. Kamplain struck out 11 Rebels and allowed four runs (three earned) on seven hits and three walks. Ray Castillo threw 2 2/3 innings, allowing one unearned run on two hits and two walks with two strikeouts. After moving to the bullpen, Castillo has not allowed an earned run in 10 1/3 innings.

Ole Miss starter Christian Trent allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits with four strikeouts in 6 1/3 innings.

Overstreet extending his hitting streak to 10 games as he contributed an RBI double, a bases-loaded walk, and a single. In addition to his game-tying RBI in the tenth, Smith drove in another on a first-inning double. Wade Wass drove in a run on a sacrifice fly and extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single in the third inning.

Braxton Lee led the Rebels offensively, accounting for two RBI on a two-run single in the seventh. Austin Anderson posted his second multiple-hit game of the series, going 2-for-4 with a single, a double, and a walk. Orvis picked up the remaining RBI, as the Rebels manufactured their remaining runs on a wild pitch and a misplayed fly ball.

With two outs in the first inning, Moore singled up the middle and Overstreet drove a double to straight away center field to plate Moore from first. After an error by Errol Robinson kept the inning alive, Smith doubled to the left center gap to give the Tide an early 2-0 advantage.

Mississippi received the benefit of Alabama miscues to get on the board in the fifth, as Will Jamison reached on a single to shallow left field. Austin Bousfield moved Jamison up to third with a single and a wild pitch brought Jamison home, cutting the Alabama lead to 2-1.

The Rebels took the lead in the seventh behind another two-out rally. After Kamplain had eclipsed 100 pitches, J.B. Woodman stroked a first-pitch single into right before stealing second. After Bousfield walked, a wild pitched moved both runners into scoring position, Braxton Lee singled to give the Rebels their first lead of the night. With Kamplain lifted in favor of Castillo, a dropped fly ball by Casey Hughston allowed Lee to score. Ole Miss had a 4-2 lead.

Alabama fought back in the eighth inning to tie the game. The first four Tide hitters in the inning reached on an error, a single and two walks, with Overstreet's walk pushing in Georgie Salem. Wass followed with a sac fly to center field to drive in White, tying the game at 4-4.

Alabama Game Notes

*After 343 games played all-time between the two schools, Alabama owns a 201-141-1 record against Mississippi.

*Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard reached 10-8 in games coached against Mississippi.

*Alabama moves to 18-0 when it scores three or more runs.

*Kyle Overstreet extended his hitting streak to 10 games, the longest of the season by an Alabama player.

*Overstreet tallied his ninth multiple-hit game of the season, tying Georgie Salem for the team lead, while accounting for the 26th of his career.

*Overstreet also registered his third multiple-RBI game of the season, as well as the 11th of his career.

*Wade Wass extended his hitting streak to eight straight games, matching Salem for the second-longest on the team this season.

*With two RBI, Austen Smith recorded his team-leading seventh multiple-RBI game of the season, for his 33rd multiple-RBI game of his career.

*Justin Kamplain has more "quality starts" than any other Alabama pitcher this season, recording four such outings in seven starts.

*Before allowing an unearned run in the 10th inning, Ray Castillo had thrown 10.1 innings out of the bullpen without allowing a run, but has yet to allow an earned run in relief this season.

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