Alabama freshman Jake Walters tossed a career-high seven scoreless innings and paired with sophomore Thomas Burrows to shut out 14th-ranked Missouri, 6-0, in the day’s first game. Walters excelled in his first career SEC start, allowing seven hits while striking out five across a career-high 107 pitches for the win. Burrows followed the Alabama starter with 2.0 innings of work, retiring all six batters he faced to help complete the Tide’s fifth shutout of the season.
“Jake Walters had a terrific outing in his first SEC start today,” said Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard. “He went seven innings in shutout fashion and was really in command of the game the entire way. He made a lot of quality pitches for us, and helped lead us to the win.”
Casey Hughston’s team-leading fifth home run of the year gave Alabama the first two runs of the game following five full innings of scoreless baseball. Hughston went deep to right in a hurry, scoring Chandler Avant who reached on a wild pitch after striking out to lead off the inning.
Alabama added two more in the eighth with both runs coming by way of solo home runs. Georgie Salem led off the inning with a bomb to straightaway center for his third of the season. Two outs later, Kyle Overstreet added the Tide’s third home run of the game and the first of his season to move the lead to 4-0.
In the ninth, UA was able to pad its lead with a pair of runs. Two walks brought Salem to the plate, and with two down the junior delivered a single past a diving second baseman to bring both runs across and move Alabama’s lead to 6-0, the eventual final.
“Casey’s two-run homer opened the door for us offensively,” Gaspard added. “We put some good swings on a really good pitcher in game one, and I’m proud of the way our offense played in the first contest.”
The three home runs were the most the Tide have collected in a game this season and the most since April 30, 2014, when Alabama collected four at Samford. Alabama’s season-high was two, which both came from Salem in Alabama’s contest at Samford on April 7.
With the win, Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard recorded his 400th career win as a head manager.
Four home runs, including three solo shots, by Missouri proved to be the downfall for Alabama, as the Crimson Tide fell 5-3 to the Tigers in game two of Saturday’s doubleheader.
Alabama got out to the early lead, scoring three in the top of the third to break the 0-0 tie. With two down and two on, Hughston singled through the right side to cross one and leave two on the corners for the Tide. Overstreet followed in the next at-bat with another single, this time to the left side to bring the second tally across and leave two men on still. Cody Henry followed both of them with a single of his own back up the middle, bringing the inning’s third run across to set Alabama ahead, 3-0.
Crimson Tide starter Geoffrey Bramblett held Missouri scoreless through the first three innings, but in the fourth the sophomore gave up back-to-back-to-back solo home runs to even the score up at 3-3. The Tide were able to threaten again in the fifth, drawing two walks to chase Missouri’s starter, but the new Tiger reliever was able to get the final out of the inning and stop the Crimson Tide from regaining the lead.
Missouri would put two more on the Tide in the sixth as the leadoff hitter singled and then the second man in the inning hit a home run over the wall in right to put MU ahead, 5-3. Alabama was unable to rally back, as neither team added any more runs across the final three frames.
“I thought we had good energy going into the game – particularly in the first part – but the three solo shots and the final home run were the key to the game,” said Gaspard. “We had an opportunity today to possibly get two, but I thought their relief pitching came in and did a really good job for them in the final game.”
Alabama returns home to the Hoover Met for a doubleheader with Mississippi Valley State after today. The Crimson Tide and Delta Devils will play a Tuesday twinbill, with the first game beginning at 2 p.m. CT and the second game beginning 30 minutes after the final out of game one. Both contests will air live on SECN+.