Complete Loss

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The door finally opened for Alabama in the bottom of the eighth inning in a tie game, and the Crimson Tide took advantage. But it was junior starter Jimmy Nelson that gave the home team a chance with a complete-game, four-hit performance that kept Rebel bats at bay all day.

The right-hander struck out 11 Rebs and walked just two, facing 34 batters and throwing 127 pitches. It was his first complete game at Alabama.

"That was my best by far against an SEC team," Nelson said. "I just had all my pitches for strikes. Everything I was throwing, I could throw it for a strike. There were some great plays made behind me, too."

Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said Nelson was too good for his hitters on this day.

"Nelson was tremendous and threw the ball 90-93 all day," he said after his team fell to 36-16 overall and 16-10 in the SEC. "He was able to throw a very good breaking ball into the strike zone. Just very good command and it was difficult for us to muster anything offensively. He was just too good. But you hate to ever get shut down like that.

"Proud of Barrett," Bianco said of his own starter. "Just a tremendous effort. Too many walks, too many balls, but just hung in there and gave us an opportunity to win."

Barrett struggled from batter to batter at times, going 6.2 innings with seven strikeouts but eight walks and only one run.

"I was a little amped up in the first inning," Barrett said. "I just tried to take a breather and calm my self down. After that I just said I was going to go right after guys."

In the seventh, Cody Trotter walked and Taylor Dugas broke up Barrett's no-hitter with Alabama's first hit of the game, a bunt that Barrett tried to field along with Alex Yarbrough. Trotter was on third and Dugas still on first when Clay Jones doubled to the left corner to score Trotter and chase Barrett.

Trailing 1-0, Matt Tracy came in and got the final out of the seventh for the Rebels, a fly ball by pinch hitter Brett Booth to Tim Ferguson in center field.

Ole Miss tied it 1-1 in the top of the eighth. Taylor Hashman was on second after walking and advancing on a ground out. Matt Smith sent one over the second baseman's head into right field that got Hashman home.

The door that opened for Alabama (30-21, 11-15) unfortunately came via two passed balls by Ole Miss catcher Taylor Hightower. There were two outs and men on first and second when his first miscue got those runners to second and third. A walk to Dugas loaded the bases. The very first pitch to Josh Rutledge was mishandled by Hightower allowing the run from third to come home for a 2-1 UA advantage.

Rutledge continued his at-bat and proceeded to single to left to score two more Crimson Tide runs and put the Rebels in a big hole with little opportunities remaining.

Trent Rothlin came in for Tracy and got the final out of the eighth.

"You just can't miss balls in that situation," Bianco said. "He works so hard and makes great plays back there. It's tough. Somebody makes a mistake and a run scores."

"It was one of those innings where I kind of lost a little bit of focus," said Hightower, with 13 passed balls, which leads the SEC this season.

Ole Miss sends David Goforth (1-3 record, 8.06 ERA) to the mound Sunday, and Nathan Kilcrease (2-2, 3.56) will start for Alabama. The game starts at 2 p.m.


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