Late Rally Gives Tide Baseball Win
Alabama had opened the season with a win over South Alabama in Tuscaloosa Saturday before the teams made the trek to Mobile for the second game of the series on Sunday.
Alabama (2-0) scored three runs on four hits to grab its first lead of the game at 4-3 in the eighth inning. Freshman left fielder Brett Booth, sophomore centerfielder Taylor Dugas, and junior shortstop Josh Rutledge ripped back-to-back-to-back doubles as Alabama tied the game at 3-3.
The Jaguar's Carlton Paris yielded doubles to Booth and Dugas before being replaced on the mound by shortstop Bobby Brown, who gave up the game-tying double to Rutledge on his fourth pitch in relief. Brown then retired junior second baseman Ross Wilson and senior first baseman Clay Jones before senior third baseman Jake Smith was intentionally walked and pinch-hitter Jon Kelton gave the Tide's its first lead with a two-out double to right that scored Rutledge.
The Tide added an insurance run in the ninth inning when freshman left fielder Andrew Miller led off the inning with a base hit to right field and later scored on Wilson's ground out. Alabama scored four runs on six hits in the final two innings after being held to one run on four hits in the first seven frames.
"Today was really good to see on our side because we were facing their No. 1 guy and really had to compete and work for everything we got today," Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said. "I thought Baxter was outstanding. I felt like if we could outlast him and get into the bullpen we had a chance and that's what happened. Our offense came to the table when Baxter went out."
Dugas finished the game with three hits and two RBI to lead the Tide's 10-hit attack. Rutledge added two hits, while Booth scored two runs.
South Alabama (2-2) took advantage of some small ball to take a 1-0 lead in the third inning. Taylor White led off the inning with an infield hit and then stole second base. Brandon Brown's sacrifice bunt moved White to third and Clint Reynolds base hit to center plated White from third.
Alabama tied the game in the sixth inning when Booth reached on a fielder's choice and later scored on sophomore centerfielder Dugas' RBI single to center to tie the game at 1-1.
Neither team mounted much offense through six innings as UA right-hander Jimmy Nelson and USA left-hander Lance Baxter held the opposing offenses in check. Things changed in the seventh inning. Alabama threatened in the seventh inning but did not score as Baxter struck out senior catcher Cody Trotter to end the inning as UA left the bases loaded.
South Alabama carried the momentum into the bottom of the inning and quickly loaded the bases with no outs against junior left-hander Jonathan Smart. Sean Laird and Taylor White opened the inning with back-to-back singles and Brandon Brown reached on a fielder's choice to load the bases. Clint Reynolds followed with an RBI single to right to score Laird and give the Jags a 2-1 lead.
Sophomore right-hander Tyler White replaced Smart and struck out Zach Grichor before Adam Heisler's RBI single scored White for the 3-1 South Alabama lead. Alabama avoided further damage as the Jags left the bases loaded.
"I thought White was the key to the game when they had bases loaded and a 3-1 lead to keep the game at 3-1 and not let it get out of hand," Gaspard said.
White (1-0) picked up the win with one scoreless inning of relief. He allowed one hit, struck out two and stranded two of three inherited runners. Brown (0-1) was the loser for the Jags as he allowed two runs and four hits in two innings.
Alabama returns to action next weekend at home against Illinois-Chicago. The series opener is set for Friday at 6:35 p.m. CST. The two teams will close out the three-game series on Saturday, with a double header beginning at 12:05 p.m.
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