Rebels to score. The Crimson Tide evened the series against Mississippi Friday with outstanding pitching.
A day after Geoffrey Bramblett had suffered a hard-luck loss, allowing only an unearned run, Alabama rebounded to even the series against Ole Miss with a 2-0 win at sold-out Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Crimson Tide’s pitching combination of starter Jake Walters, who went seven innings, and closer Thomas Burrows, got the Saturday victory with Bama’s fourth shutout of the season.
Sunday’s game will decide the series between Alabama and Ole Miss. The Crimson Tide will call on junior right-hander Nick Eicholtz, while the Rebels look to redshirt junior Sean Johnson, a righty, for the 1 p.m. game.
With Saturday’s win, the Crimson Tide improved to 21-14 overall and 7-7 in Southeastern Conference play.
“Jake (Walters) was tremendous tonight,” said Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard. “The league is really tough. You’ve got really good arms that you see night in and night out. You’ve just got to find a way to win. Right now, we’ve gotten to where it seems like most of our matchups are one or two-run games, very low-scoring games; that’s what it is. We’ve got to find a way to win those, and win enough of them.
“Hopefully this offense will start to kick in for us in the second half of the season.”
Alabama once again received a solid pitching performance from its starter, this time coming from Walters (3-3). The sophomore tossed seven innings of scoreless baseball, allowing four hits and issuing a walk while striking out four batters for his third win of the season. Burrows followed the Tide’s starter, throwing two innings and allowing one hit while striking out a pair to record his ninth save on the year.
The two teams once again went scoreless early, with neither team scoring through the first four frames. In the bottom of the fifth, Alabama broke the tie to make it a 1-0 game. Georgie Salem started it, singling with two down, and then stealing second. Two batters later, Cobie Vance singled to center to score Salem and put the Crimson Tide in front.
In the bottom of the eighth, Chandler Avant doubled to deep left, and then advanced to third on the Rebels’ throw to home. With two down, Connor Short sent a ball under the glove of the Ole Miss second baseman, allowing Avant to score and making it a 2-0 game after eight.
Burrows allowed a runner to get into scoring position with no outs in the ninth, but secured the victory with a groundout, strikeout, and pop foul behind home plate to end the game.
Vance led Alabama in hitting, finishing 1-for-4 with one RBI. Avant stayed hot as well, delivering a double and scoring a run.