Jones Homers Tide To Win

One couldn't blame Alabama Baseball Coach Mitch Gaspard if he wasn't looking through the book of college baseball teams searching for another school with the names "Mississippi" and "State." After sweeping last weekend's Southeastern Conference series against Mississippi State, the Tide defeated Mississippi Valley State in a non-conference game Tuesday.



Alabama senior first baseman Clay Jones hit two home runs to lead the Crimson Tide to a 7-4 win over Mississippi Valley State at Sewell-Thomas Stadium on Tuesday night.

Alabama and Mississippi Valley State will play the final game of this two-game series on Wednesday at 6:35 p.m. CDT. Alabama is scheduled to start junior left-hander Adam Morgan (4-2, 5.85 ERA), who is expected to pitch only one inning. MVSU is expected to send senior right-hander Britt Goodman (2-3, 7.99 ERA).

Jones hit a two-run home run in the Tide's four-run first inning and then hit the first of two home runs in the eighth as the Crimson Tide added a pair of insurance runs.

Jones provided most of the offense to support freshman left-hander Taylor Wolfe, who struck out a career-high 11 batters in seven innings for his third win of the season. Wolfe allowed four runs and seven hits in his first start since April 4 and added three walks. The 11 strikeouts eclipsed his previous high of seven set against Georgia on March 3. The Georgia game was his first collegiate start.

Alabama (26-15) extended its winning streak to four games with the win on Tuesday. Mississippi Valley State (20-21) had its nine-game winning streak halted with the loss. The nine-game winning streak was the fourth-longest active streak in Division I baseball entering Tuesday's games.

Alabama jumped out to a 5-0 lead in the second inning, but saw Mississippi Valley State score four runs in the middle innings to close the lead to one run after six innings.

Sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas led off the game with a walk and moved to third on junior shortstop Josh Rutledge's double into the left-center field gap. Junior second baseman Ross Wilson followed with a triple over the head of MVSU centerfielder Allen Cheek to give the Tide an early 2-0 lead. Jones followed a two-run home run off the batter's eye in center field to give Alabama a 4-0 lead.

Alabama added another run in the second inning when Dugas reached on a fielder's choice and scored on Rutledge's triple off the top of wall in left-center field to put the Tide in front 5-0.

The Crimson Tide had chances to extend its lead, but left the bases loaded in second inning and stranded three more bases runners in the fourth winning.

Mississippi Valley State right-hander Jesus Aleman (2-3) allowed five runs and five hits in five innings of work, but walked six and allowed five extra base hits.

The Delta Devils got on the board in the fifth inning when Denvarus Turner homered with two outs. It was his second home run of the season.

Mississippi Valley State scored three more runs in the sixth inning to close the gap to 5-4. Jerry Hildreth reached on a two-out single to center and moved to second on a wild pitch. Paul Olson drew a walk and Donquarious Farmer stroked a double to left field to score Hildreth with the first run. Luke Walker followed with a two-run single to left to score Olson and Farmer as MVSU cut the lead to 5-4.

Wolfe got Curtis Ford to fly out to left field to end the inning and then struck out the side in the seventh inning before leaving the game.

The game remained tight as Alabama stranded a leadoff double in the fifth and left two more runners in the sixth. In the seventh, Alabama left the bases loaded marking the third time in the game UA left three men on base.

Jones and Smith added insurance runs in the eighth inning with back-to-back home runs off MVSU right-hander Cody Parker, who made his NCAA-leading 32 appearance on the mound.

Jones slammed a 1-0 pitch over the trees in left field to extend the lead to 6-4. Smith followed with a home run to left-center to make it 7-4. It was the first time UA hitters connected on back-to-back home runs this season.

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