April 12, 2014
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Justin Kamplain held Auburn to one run in a career-high 8.2 innings to help lift the ninth-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide to a 4-1 Southeastern Conference win on Saturday night in front of 6,142 fans at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Alabama (23-11, 9-5 SEC) and Auburn (21-15, 6-8) will meet again at The Joe for the rubber game on Sunday, with first pitch set 1:05 p.m.
"It starts on the mound and Justin Kamplain was just outstanding," Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "He had really good fastball command and he got in advantage counts all night. At the midway point, he really found his breaking ball as well and had a great three pitch mix and he competed like crazy all night. We really tried to let him finish and we extended his pitch count a little bit. I know he wanted to finish it, but wasn't quite able to do it. (Thomas) Burrows was able to come in a lock it down for us."
In his ninth start of the year, Kamplain (3-2) earned the win with Auburn only run of the game coming in the ninth inning. Kamplain gave up three hits (two in the ninth) with five strikeouts, three walks and a pair of hit batters. The south paw from Jasper held the Tigers without a hit in the first five innings before miscommunication on a bunt single allowed Jordan Ebert to reach safely in the sixth.
Kamplain turned in a seven-inning no-hit outing earlier in the season when the Tide combined to no-hit Mississippi Valley State. Thomas Burrows picked up his fifth save of the year after recording the final out of the game.
Chance Vincent led the charge offensively for Alabama, as he drove in a run on three of the Tide's 13 hits. In the Tide's 17th game of the season with 10 hits or more, Ben Moore, Kyle Overstreet, Austen Smith and Hunter Webb all recorded two-hit games, with Overstreet adding his third home run of the year. Wade Wass drove in the other run on a single in the fifth.
"On the offensive end, it's not many nights you see 13 hits and only four runs," Gaspard said. "We put a lot of good swings on pitches so that was good to see. We had a lot of hard contact, but the double play kind of bit us a little bit, we had some missed opportunities and some execution issues as well. We needed that win. After the last couple of games, we just had to find a way to get one. We are not playing our best ball right now on the offensive end, so it was a huge win for us tonight and we will look to carry that momentum into tomorrow morning."
Tigers' starting pitcher Michael O'Neal (2-4) was charged with the loss after allowing a run on five hits and two walks with two strikeouts in three-plus innings. The Tigers managed three hits as Blake Austin had a hit and a run scored, Damon Haecker was 1-for-3 with an RBI and Ebert was 1-for-3 with a bunt single.
Each team was held scoreless for the first three innings, but the Tide got on the board first with an Overstreet solo shot over the left field wall to open the Bama fourth. After chasing Auburn starter O'Neal in favor of Trey Cochran-Gill, Alabama added another run in the fifth on an infield single by Wass to drive in Salem.
With four of their first five batters reaching safely in the inning, the Tide struck for a two-spot in the seventh. After Moore singled to center and stole second, Overstreet drew a walk and Smith was hit by pitch to load the bases. On a Vincent infield single, Auburn third baseman Connor Short tried to force out the runner at home, but Moore scored on the play and an errant throw allowed Overstreet to make the score 4-0.
The Tigers got their only run in the ninth to break up Kamplain's complete-game shutout bid. Sandwiched in between two Auburn strikeouts, Austin put Auburn in scoring position with a double down the left field line. After Connor Short was hit by pitch, Haecker singled left on Kamplain's 125th offering of the night, plating Austin. With Short moving up to second, the Tide turned to Burrows, who got Dan Glevenyak to pop out to third to seal the Alabama win.
Get all the latest information on the team by following AlabamaBSB on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. General athletic news can also be found at UA_Athletics on Twitter and Instagram and AlabamaAthletics on Facebook.
Alabama Game Notes
*In a series that dates back to 1896, Alabama's record now stands at 151-124 record all-time versus Auburn.
*With the win, Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard has a 12-8 record when facing Auburn.
*Alabama moved to 17-5 in games played at Sewell-Thomas Stadium this season.
*The Tide reached 23-1 when they score three or more runs in a game this season.
*The attendance of 6,142 at tonight's game marked the seventh largest crowd in Sewell-Thomas Stadium history.
*Alabama's 13 hits tonight marked the 17th time this season that the Tide has reached double-digit hits.
*Chance Vincent extended his hitting streak to seven games, while reaching seven multi-hit games on the season and 11 in his career.
*Vincent has tallied multi-hit performances in three straight games and four of the last five.
*During his eight-game hitting streak, Vincent his hitting .500 (12-24) with two doubles, six RBI and four runs scored.
*With his 10th multi-hit game of the season and the 49th of his career, Austen Smith has now reached base safely in seven consecutive games.
*Wade Wass continues to lead the Tide in walks after drawing his 16th of the season in the second inning.
*With two hits tonight, Kyle Overstreet ties the team lead with 12 multi-hit games on the season, while notching the 29th of his career.
*After a 2-for-4 night, Hunter Webb has four multi-hit games this season.
*With a 2-for-5 game on Saturday, Ben Moore reached 11 multi-hit games on the season and 51 for his career.
*With a stolen base in the seventh inning, Moore has swiped a team-high seven bags this season.