March 7, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - The Alabama pitching staff combined for a five-hit shutout to lift the Crimson Tide to victory over the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils, 8-0, Friday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Alabama (7-5) and Mississippi Valley State (0-13) meet again tomorrow at 2:05 p.m., and close out the series with a 1:05 p.m. start on Sunday.
"It starts on the mound," Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "Spencer Turnbull was really good tonight, a good, solid outing. That's just what you want being one outing away from SEC play. He threw a lot of strikes and really dominated the game on the mound."
Junior right-hander Spencer Turnbull (1-1) set a new career-high with seven strikeouts in seven shutout innings, and limited the 25 batters he faced to three hits and one walk in his first win of the season. The Madison, Miss. native has gone 16 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run, and has surrendered one earned run in 21.2 innings this season for an 0.42 ERA.
Senior righty Tucker Hawley blanked the Delta Devils over the final two innings to complete the shutout, holding the Valley to a pair of hits and a walk with three strikeouts. Delta Devils starter Connor Sheppard (0-4) was charged with the loss after allowing three runs on four hits in five innings.
Austen Smith slugged a pair of doubles, becoming the first Alabama hitter to do so this season. Smith, who finished the night 3-for-4, had a single, an RBI and a run scored. Ben Moore, Wade Wass, and Will Haynie also doubled in the game to combine for a season-high team total of five two-baggers for the Tide.
"Offensively, we hit some balls hard, especially in the front part of the game, but they ran them down and made some nice plays, but we were able to open it up in the middle part," Gaspard said. "Overall it was a good, clean game. We pitched it well and obviously no errors were good to see as well."
Smith drove in the first run of the night when he doubled to left center to score Kyler Overstreet from second.
The Tide added a couple of runs in the fifth inning, the first when Chance Vincent scored on a wild pitch. Moore drove in the second run of the inning on a sacrifice fly, making the score 3-0. After Smith singled with one out in the sixth, Haynie delivered his first career extra-base hit, a double, to deep left center to drive him in. With the benefit of moving to third on a wild pitch, Haynie scored on a Vincent sacrifice fly to tally Alabama's fifth run.
Alabama capped the scoring with three runs in the seventh, the first coming when White scored on a wild pitch. After Moore doubled, Wass swatted a double to drive him and, before eventually scoring on Mathew Goodson's pinch-hit sacrifice fly.
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Alabama Game Notes
*With tonight's win, Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard reaches the 350 win milestone for his career.
*With the Friday night win against Mississippi Valley State, Gaspard bolsters his record to 6-1 against the Delta Devils.
*Alabama is now 18-1 all-time in games played against Mississippi Valley State.
*The Tide improves to 7-0 in 2014 when scoring at least three runs.
*Spencer Turnbull sets a new career high after striking out seven.
*Turnbull has gone the last 16 innings without allowing an earned run, and has allowed one earned run in 24.2 innings.
*With his leadoff walk in the third inning, Chance Vincent has reached base safely in six straight games.
*Going 3-for-4 tonight, Austen Smith has four multi-hit games on the season and 43 in his career.
*Smith is the first Alabama player with multiple doubles in a game this season.
*With a single in the fifth inning, Georgie Salem has a five-game hitting streak.
*A sixth inning RBI double accounts for Will Haynie's first career extra base hit.
*With one hit, Ben Moore has reached base safely in each of the last five games.
*Alabama set a season-high total with five doubles.
*Mathew Goodson picked up his first career RBI on a sacrifice fly in the seventh inning.
*Taylor Poe made his first career appearance in a defensive substitution in the eighth inning.
*In his first appearance of the season, Steven Cole singled in his only at-bat.
*Riley Colburn was hit by pitch in his first plate appearance of the season in the eighth inning.
*Turnbull and Tucker Hawley combined for the second shutout of the season for the Crimson Tide.
*17 position players made an appearance for Alabama.