March 28, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Spencer Turnbull and Thomas Burrows blanked No. 9 Mississippi over the final five innings, as the No. 30 Alabama Crimson Tide held on to knock off the ninth-ranked Ole Miss Rebels, 7-6, in a Friday night Southeastern Conference matchup from Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
Alabama (17-8, 4-3 SEC) welcomes back Mississippi (21-6, 4-3 SEC) for a 6:05 p.m. matchup on Saturday, with the series finale kicking off at 1:05 p.m. on Sunday. Game two of the series will be televised on CSS.
"It was a battle on both sides. Both teams played extremely hard, we we're fortunate to come out on top," Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "You had two Friday night starters that have been terrific all year, so it's unexpected to get the runs that you got early off both of them. Spencer Turnbull did a really good job to settle in after giving up runs to get us deep into the game. That was the key to the game as it allowed us to go to Burrows for a little longer outing."
Despite a matchup between pitching aces Chris Ellis and Spencer Turnbull, both teams opened the game with first inning home runs, before combining to score in five of the first six innings. Ellis did not factor into the decision, as he was lifted from the game after giving up six runs on seven hits with three strikeouts. Turnbull (3-1) picked up the win after 6.2 innings, allowing six runs on 10 hits with a walk and four strikeouts. Thomas Burrows earned the second save of his freshman campaign after limiting the Rebels to a hit with four strikeouts in the final 2.1 innings.
For the second straight game, Casey Hughston played a big role in Alabama's offensive production, driving in a run on a double, as well as the eventual game-winner on a groundout to first base in the sixth inning. Chance Vincent also drove in a pair of runs, both coming off the first home run of his career in the second inning. Ben Moore finished his night 3-for-4 with a solo home run, his third of the year, two singles and two runs scored. Wade Wass scored twice after two doubles and Will Haynie and Kyle Overstreet drove in a run on a single and a double, respectively.
"The offense did a really good job early in the game, hitting a couple balls out of the park," Gaspard said. "In the back end of the game they did a good job, but we have to do a better job at the plate. We had way too many strikeouts. We have move the ball around more with two strikes and be more competitive."
Rebels' reliever Scott Weathersby (1-1) suffered his first loss of the season after allowing a run on two hits with six strikeouts in three innings. Austin Anderson led Mississippi offensively with a home run, a single and three RBI. Sikes Orvis accounted for two RBI and Braxton Lee was 3-for-4 with three runs scored.
After Turnbull issued a one-out walk to Lee, Anderson sent a home run over the right field wall for a 2-0 advantage after a half inning. Moore answered in the bottom of the inning with a solo shot off the scoreboard to finish the inning with a 2-1 score.
Wass doubled to lead off the second, before Hughston followed with a one-out double into the right field corner to knot the game up. After Haynie stroked a single to left to put the Tide up a run, Vincent belted a home run high into the trees behind the left field wall to cap off the inning with a 5-2 Alabama lead.
The Rebels answered in the third with a two-run double from Orvis to carve into the Alabama lead, but Overstreet drove in Moore on a double to left center to cap the Tide's third consecutive scoring inning with a 6-4 advantage. After Mississippi's Will Jamison set the table with a triple in the fourth, back-to-back RBI singles from Lee and Anderson tied the game at 6-6 after four.
Following a scoreless fifth, Wass led off the sixth inning with his second double of the night. A single from Austen Smith and a Hughston groundout to first brought Wass around to score to put the lead back in Alabama's favor, 7-6. Burrows shut down the Rebels from there to seal the first game of the weekend set for the Tide.
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Alabama Game Notes
*With tonight's result, Mitch Gaspard earns his 150th win as head coach of Alabama.
*Gaspard is now 9-8 in games coached against Mississippi.
*After 342 games played against Mississippi, Alabama gets its 200th all-time victory over the Rebels.
*Alabama moves to 17-0 when it scores three or more runs.
*With two home runs tonight, Alabama has hit 11 home runs in the past eight games after starting the season with seven long balls in its first 17 matchups.
*Alabama records their 12th game with double-digit hits.
*Before allowing a home run in Mississippi's opening frame, Turnbull went 17.2 innings without allowing a run and 26.2 without allowing an earned run.
*With a save in his team-leading 10th appearance of the season, Thomas Burrows became the fifth Alabama freshman pitcher to record multiple saves in a season in the past decade.
*With a 1-for-3 night, Kyle Overstreet stretched his hitting streak to nine games, the longest streak by any Alabama player this season.
*Chance Vincent recorded the first home run of his career with a two-run shot in the second.
*Vincent notched his third multiple-RBI game of the season for the fifth of his career.
*Ben Moore tied Austen Smith and Casey Hughston for the team home runs lead, with each sitting at three this season.
*Moore registered his eighth multiple-hit game of the season and third with at least three, while posting the 48th of his career.
*Wade Wass tied the SEC lead with his 10th and 11th doubles of the season.
*Wass' two doubles extend his hitting streak to seven games, and gave him his seventh multiple-hit game of the season.
*Casey Hughston picks up the fifth multiple-RBI game of his career with two on Friday night.