March 24, 2013
ATHENS, Ga. – Alabama scored single runs in the third, fifth and eighth innings and starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull matched his career-high, throwing seven scoreless innings as the Crimson Tide defeated Georgia, 3-0, on Sunday from Foley Field and completed the Southeastern Conference road series sweep of the Bulldogs. The Tide has now won a season-high six straight games and seven of the last eight games overall.
“Spencer Turnbull really started to mature today as a pitcher, particularly when he worked out of the jam in the middle part of the game,” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “He was outstanding and maintained his velocity through the seventh inning when he came out of the game. He threw a lot of quality pitches throughout the day and I thought our defense early in the game contributed to the pitching performance.”
Turnbull improved to 2-1 on the season after allowing five hits with two walks and five strikeouts in his sixth start of the year. Freshman reliever Ray Castillo entered for Turnbull to start the eighth and threw two scoreless innings with four strikeouts to complete Alabama’s first shutout of the season. The save for Castillo marked his team-leading fourth of the season, his second of the weekend and third of the week.
“Ray has been our most consistent guy out of the bullpen,” Gaspard said. “His velocity was really good, sitting 91-95 with a real good breaking ball. He stayed ahead of counts and throwing first pitch strikes. It was just a quality effort on the mound to secure our first shutout.”
The top three spots in the Alabama (16-9, 5-1 SEC) batting order produced seven of the team’s 11 hits, scored two runs and drove in both RBIs. Leadoff hitter Georgie Salem was 2-for-5 with two runs scored, two-hole hitter Kenny Roberts was 3-for-4 with an RBI and was hit by a pitch, and Ben Moore was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
“Georgie, Ben, Kenny and Overstreet, and many other guys contributed with our defensive efforts all weekend,” Gaspard said. “We played extremely hard and with a lot of confidence all weekend and we found a way to get the runs we needed today to finish off a real good weekend with a sweep.
Mikey White finished the game with a 2-for-3 with a walk and Kyle Overstreet extended his hitting streak to six games with his first career triple in the eighth inning to finish the game 1-for-4 with a run scored.
Georgia (8-16, 0-6 SEC) starting pitcher Bryan Benzor (1-1) took the loss after allowing an earned run on five hits in four innings in his first start of the season. The Bulldogs had seven hits in the game as Kyle Farmer, Daniel Nichols and Jared Walsh had two hits each.
Alabama left runners on second and third in the first inning, but didn’t get the hit it needed to score. In the third inning, Salem had a one out single and Roberts was hit by a pitch with one out before Moore delivered an RBI single to left field to score Roberts for an early 1-0 lead. After a Booth groundout moved the runners up 90-feet, Alabama left runners on second and third, again, when Smith grounded out to third.
Georgia went to the bullpen to open the Bama fifth inning and the Tide made the Bulldogs pay, scoring once in the inning. Salem singled off reliever Palmer Betts, then stole second and advanced to third on a wild pitch. Roberts singled for the second time in the game to drive in Salem for a 2-0 Alabama lead. After two batters and 10 pitches by Betts, UGA went to the pen again for righty Ross Ripple, who retired the next three hitters in order.
Georgia threatened in the fifth inning after a walk and a single put runners on the corners to open the inning. Turnbull buckled down and got a fly out to left field and back-to-back punch outs to keep the Bulldogs off the scoreboard.
After Turnbull got the first two outs in the seventh inning, Georgia got singles Nichols and Walsh then pinch-hitter Sean McLaughlin reached after striking out on a wild pitch. With the bases loaded, Turnbull got Cody Sheedy to ground out to second to end the inning.
Alabama added an insurance run in the top of the eighth inning. Overstreet tripled with one out then after Alabama loaded the bases, Overstreet scored on a wild pitch for a 3-0 Bama lead.
Alabama returns to action on Tuesday night when it travels to Hoover, Ala., to take on the UAB Blazers at 6:30 p.m. CST, from the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.
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