Feb. 22, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama pitching staff combined for a shutout and Casey Hughston hit two home runs in his first career start as the No. 21 ranked Crimson Tide defeated the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks, 8-0, Saturday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
Alabama (3-2) and Stephen F. Austin (3-3) will meet for the rubber match on Sunday, with first pitch slated for 1:05 p.m.
Junior southpaw Justin Kamplain (1-0) earned the win in his second start of the season, striking out seven in six shutout innings. He allowed just three hits and hit one batter. Freshman righty Nick Eicholtz added two scoreless frames, marking 14.1 straight shutout frames by freshmen relievers, and sophomore right-hander Mitch Greer sat down the three batters he faced in the ninth.
"I thought Justin Kamplain did well, he came out and had a really good start. He set a really good tempo for us," Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard. "Greer did a nice job finishing the job off for us with the shutout. Casey Hughston took advantage of his opportunity and had a tremendous day with a couple of home runs, and that ignited us a little bit offensively."
Hughston finished 3-for-5--adding a single to his two long balls --with three runs batted in and a pair of runs scored. Hughston's two home run performance marks the first time an Alabama player has gone yard twice in a single game since Josh Rosecrans belted two home runs against Southern Mississippi on March 13, 2012.
Georgie Salem, Mikey White, and Ben Moore all pitched in a single and a double, with White adding a pair of runs batted in and Moore accounting for the other. Daniel Cucjen picked up a hit, a walk, and a couple of runs scored, and Austen Smith also pitched in a hit.
"We did some better things on offense today," Gaspard said. "We aren't perfect; we've still got a long way to go, but today was certainly a start on the right path."
Alabama's early runs came from a Hughston solo shot in the second and a Cucjen run scored off of a throwing error during Moore's at-bat in the third. Salem was hit by pitch to lead off the big fifth inning, with back-to-back RBI doubles by White and Moore bringing in the first two runs. Hughston capped off the fifth inning with an RBI single to right, and added his final RBI with a home run to right in the seventh.
The other two Alabama runs came off of Lumberjack miscues, as Cucjen scored on an error by the shortstop in the sixth, and Moore scored on a dropped fly ball by the right fielder.
SFA starting pitcher Kyle Cross (0-2) was charged with the loss after allowing five runs (four earned) on seven hits and two walks in five innings pitched.
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Alabama Game Notes
*Casey Hughston's two home run performance marked the first multiple home run game by an Alabama player since Josh Rosecrans on March 13, 2012 against Southern Mississippi.
*With a pair of hits today, Mikey White extended his streak to six consecutive games reaching base.
*White had his third multi-hit game of the season and the 22nd of his career.
*With RBIs in the fifth and sixth innings, White recorded his first multi-RBI game of the year and the eighth of his career.
*Georgie Salem's single and double gives him his third multi-hit game of the season and 21st multi-hit game of his career.
*With Nick Eicholtz's two shutout innings on Saturday, Alabama freshmen relievers have not given up a run in 14.1 innings pitched this season.
*Alabama is now 1-1 all-time against Stephen F. Austin.
*UA head coach Mitch Gaspard bolsters his career record to 5-3 against the Lumberjacks.