Although Alabama knew that it was in the SEC Tournament before starting play against 10th-ranked Vanderbilt Saturday afternoon, the Crimson Tide had a sterling performance on which to ride into the tournament.
The Crimson Tide made the tournament field earlier in the day when Georgia lost its game, assuring Bama a spot in Hoover. But Bama didn’t rest on its laurels, taking a 1-0 win over the Commodores, who had edged Alabama by a total of three runs in the first two games of the series.
Alabama will take on sixth seed Ole Miss to start SEC Tournament play at 9:30 a.m. CDT Tuesday. The game will air on the SEC Network.
The Tide’s win over Vandy was a milestone for Coach Mitch Gaspard, his 200th coaching victory at Alabama.
The shutout came with four Alabama pitchers dividing duties, and was the first time this year the powerful Commodores had been held without a run.
Will Carter earned his second win of the week with three innings of work, allowing just two hits and striking out one to improve to 4-5 on the season. Geoffrey Bramblett started the game and was followed by Alex Watkins, Carter, and Thomas Burrows to limit the Commodores to five total hits. Burrows earned his team-high sixth save of the season with 1 2/3 innings of work, including a perfect 1-2-3 ninth inning.“That was an outstanding performance from all of our pitchers today,” Gaspard added. “You really can’t say enough about Alex Watkins and Will Carter and their ability to bounce back from a lot of innings on Tuesday to pitch for us tonight. I thought Tommy was really sharp, too, and credit has to go to our pitching staff; they were real good all weekend long.”
Alabama improved to 30-26, including a 12-18 SEC record.
Both teams went scoreless through the first five innings, but Alabama would use the bottom of the sixth to break the tie. A pair of singles brought Cody Henry to the plate, with the freshman delivering the third single of the inning, this one to left-center field to bring one across for the 1-0, Alabama lead.
“We didn’t have many opportunities today, but Cody’s hit was huge,” said Gaspard. “We out-hit them, and we were able to muster up just enough offense to get one run. That run was good enough, and that’s all it took for the win.”