April 3, 2012
MOBILE, Ala. – Alabama collected 13 hits and Ben Moore and Taylor Dugas had three hits each, as the Alabama baseball team posted a 9-5 win over South Alabama at Stanky Field on Tuesday night. With the win, the Crimson Tide snaps a five-game losing skid.
The 13 hits against the Jaguars (11-18) marks the fourth straight game that the Crimson Tide (10-19) has had double-digits in hits. Combined with a 4-3 win over the Jaguars back on Feb. 28, the Tide swept the season series against South Alabama.
“First of all it’s good to get a win, when you’re struggling the way we have been,” UA head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “I’m happy for our players. They have been playing hard through all the struggles and this is a good win and tonight was a clean game for us.”
Ben Moore was 3-for-4 with a double, two singles, two RBI and two runs scored. He has now hit safely in eight straight games, the longest current streak on the team. It was Moore’s 10th multiple hit game of the season and the third time he’s had three hits in a game this season.
Taylor Dugas was 3-for-4 with a triple and two singles, while scoring twice and adding two RBI. The triple for Dugas was the 13th of his career, and moved him into a tie with Emeel Salem for the Alabama school record. Additionally, Dugas has now reached base in every game this season to extend his streak to 41 games.
James Tullidge added a pair of singles and a walk as the starting third baseman on Tuesday. Jared Reaves was 1-for-2 with a walk and a sac bunt to extend his hitting streak to six games.
“Offensively, we’re battling more and we got some key two-strike hits,” Gaspard said. “We had some competitive at-bats, we had good pressure throughout the game and we defended well. It’s a good win against a quality in-state opponent on the road, which is always tough.”
Alabama starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull threw a career-high 6.0 innings, allowing five runs on five hits, with one walk and tied his career-high with six strikeouts. Turnbull got the win to collect his first career victory at Alabama. Taylor Guilbeau, Jay Shaw and Jake Hubbard threw the final three innings, as they combined to allowing zero runs with one walk and five strikeouts.
“All the guys that took the mound did a nice job, and Turnbull gave us a really good start. He got a little tired there in the sixth, but Guilbeau, Shaw and Hubbard threw well to close it out,” Gaspard said.
Alabama took a 2-0 lead in the third, when Dugas’ school record tying triple allowed Hunter Gregory to score from first. Dugas scored when Brett Booth grounded out to shortstop.
After Turnbull retired the first 11 batters of the game, South Alabama got its first run on a two-out solo home run to right field by Jordan Patterson in the fourth.
Reaves singled to open the sixth and moved to third on a double by Moore on the next pitch. With runners on second and third, Jon Kelton’s ground out to second moved the runners up 90 feet, and a sac fly by Brandt Hendricks to center field was deep enough to allow Moore to tag and score from third, giving the Tide a 4-1 lead.
The Jaguars scored four times in the sixth to take a 5-4 lead. With runners on first and second and one out, a single by Whitt Dorsey to right field to drive in Nolan Early, who walked to lead off the inning. With two outs and runners on first and second, Nick Zaharion hit a three-run home run to left field to put the Jags ahead by one.
The Tide answered the four-run USA sixth with three runs in the seventh to regain their lead. Dugas walked and Booth followed with an infield single to start the inning. After Reaves moved the runners over with a sac bunt, Moore delivered a bloop single to right field to drive in both runners. Austen Smith followed with a pinch-hit RBI single to left field to drive in Moore for a 7-5 Alabama lead.
“After their four run inning, it would have been very easy to shut down, especially coming off the heels of some of the games we’ve had,” Gaspard said. “The fact that we were able to answer with a three-spot, it comes back to the team’s competitiveness. These guys understand that the first half of the season has been a disaster, and it’s important to them to turn things around in the second half.”
Bama added two runs on four hits in the eighth inning to cap the score at 9-5, as the Tide snapped a five-game losing streak. Hubbard threw a scoreless ninth inning that included three punch outs and a hit batter.
Alabama returns to Sewell-Thomas Stadium on Friday night to continue Southeastern Conference against the No. 23 ranked Auburn Tigers. Game one of the three-game series is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. CT, and will be televised on Fox Sports South with Dave Neal and Larry Conley calling the action.
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