“It’s always great to win a series on the road, particularly in the first SEC series of the season,” said Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard. “The biggest takeaway from this weekend was that our guys competed in all three games. To come in to Starkville and win two out of three, that’s a great start.”
The Crimson Tide trailed much of the afternoon, but one run in the seventh evened the score and a four-run eighth put Alabama on top for good. With the bases loaded, Riley Colburn battled for a walk to push the Tide ahead 5-4, and by the inning’s end Alabama had extended its lead to 8-4, the eventual final.
Mississippi State started the day’s scoring in the bottom of the second. A walk followed by two singles loaded the bases, and then a wild pitch brought in the first run of the day. Two pitches later, an infield grounder led to the second Bulldog run to move the score to 2-0 after two full innings.
Will Haynie would answer for UA, leading off the next inning with a solo shot to left field for his first home run of the season. Alabama would then add two more an inning later when they led off the inning with a single from Kyle Overstreet and a double from J.C. Wilhite to put runners on second and third. With two down and runners in scoring position, Colburn came up with a grounder down the first base line that skipped over the bag. The ball rolled slowly into right field and allowed both runners to score on the double, giving the Tide the 3-2 lead.
In the bottom half of the fourth, the Bulldogs regained the lead. Three hits and a key error led to a pair of runs that set MSU ahead, 4-3 through four full innings of play.
Alabama would not rest, evening the score in the top of the seventh that started with a two-out single from Georgie Salem to give UA the runner it would need. Salem then stole a base to get in scoring position for White to deliver a hard grounder past a diving third baseman and shortstop. The hit from White caught some leather and wandered into no-man’s land, to allow Salem to cross and even the score at 4-4 through seven innings.
Alabama opened the flood gates in the eighth, compiling four runs on three hits to move ahead, 8-4. The inning started when Overstreet singled up the middle, then walks by Chance Vincent and Haynie loaded the bases for the Tide. With only one down and the bags juiced, MSU was forced to make its third pitching change of the inning.
Colburn came to the plate and battled back from down 0-2 to earn the walk against the new Bulldog arm, scoring one and putting Alabama ahead for the second time on the afternoon. With the infield in, a hard grounder from Avant got through to the outfield and scored two more for the Crimson Tide. One out later, White provided the exclamation point on the scoring, singling to right field to bring home Alabama’s fourth run of the inning.
“I thought Riley Colburn had a really competitive at-bat to get the walk for the go-ahead run,” Gaspard said of the eighth. “Avant put a good swing on the ball to get the single through the infield, and White kept the scoring going. I was really proud of the patience our guys showed in that inning to get us the runs we needed.”
The Tide pitching staff put together a solid outing, allowing four runs on nine hits. Starter Geoffrey Bramblett worked 5.1 innings for Alabama and then turned it over to the pen. Relievers Ray Castillo and Thomas Burrows combined for 3.2 innings of work, with Castillo earning his second win of the year and Burrows claiming his third save on the young season.