April 18, 2014
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. - The No 8-ranked Alabama baseball team opened its Southeastern Conference series at No. 29 Tennessee with an 8-5 win. With the victory, the Crimson Tide has won five straight games and improves to 27-11 overall and 11-5 in SEC play, holding sole possession of first place in the conference standings. The Volunteers drop to 24-12 overall and 6-9 in conference action.
Game two of the series between the Tide and Vols is scheduled for 3 p.m. CT on Saturday from Nelson Stadium. Alabama is slated to start LHP Justin Kamplain (3-2, 3.57) and Tennessee will counter with RHP Hunter Martin (2-2, 2.91).
The Alabama offense was on-point again early, producing the fifth straight game with double-digits in hits. With the 10 hits against two Vols pitchers, the Tide has 21 games this season, and nine of the last 11, with 10 hits or more.
Leading the offense was Casey Hughston, who was 2-for-4 with two singles and two RBI. Ben Moore was 2-for-5 with a run and an RBI, Wade Wass extended his hitting streak to six games with a 1-for-4 night and Georgie Salem also hit in his sixth straight game with a 2-for-3 performance. Will Haynie hit a solo home run and finished the game 1-for-3 with an RBI and two runs scored.
Alabama got a solid start from winning pitcher Spencer Turnbull (5-2) as the junior went 6.1 innings, allowing four runs on three hits with a career-high eight strikeouts. Three of the four runs allowed by Turnbull came in the seventh, as Turnbull allowed a run on two hits, before giving up a two hits and two walks in the bottom of the ining. Tennessee starting pitcher Nick Williams (4-4) took the loss after giving up eight runs on 10 hits with six strikeouts in 4.2 innings.
Alabama closer Thomas Burrows entered the game with one out and the bases loaded and the tying run at the plate in the eighth inning. He shut down any hopes of a Tennessee comeback, as he retired all five batters he faced, which included three strikeouts. It was Burrows seventh save of the season and the sixth save in his last eight appearances.
Alabama broke a scoreless game with a four-run third. Mikey White doubled to open the inning and scored on a Tennessee throwing error when Salem had a bunt single. After singles by Moore and Wass loaded the bases, Williams got the next two hitters then balked to allow the second run of the inning to score. With Hughston at the plate, the freshman dropped a bloop single down the left field line to allow Wass and Overstreet to score.
Bama added to its lead in the fourth when Moore delivered a two-out RBI single to drive in Haynie, who walked to start the inning.
The Alabama bats remained hot in the fifth, this time scoring three runs to take an 8-0 lead. The Tide got its first run of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Chance Vincent, then after a wild pitch allowed Austen Smith to score, Haynie homered to right field to end the night for Williams.
The Haynie home run was his third of the season and his first hit since the going 1-for-4 against Ole Miss on March 28. It was also the last hit for the Tide, as Vols reliever Peter Lenstrohm took over the Williams with two outs in the fifth and threw the final 4.1 innings, allowing no runs and no hits while striking out five and hitting one batter to close out the game.
Tennessee got its first run of the game on a leadoff home run by Will Maddox in the sixth. Then, the Vols struck for three runs off Turnbull in the seventh, getting an RBI double by Vincent Jackson, and RBI singles by Simcox and Christin Stewart, off reliever Taylor Guilbeau, to cut the Tide lead in half at 8-4.
Mitch Greer gave up a double and two walks to load the bases in the bottom of the eighth, before Burrow entered to get the Tide out of the jam, allowing just a run on a sacrifice fly by pinch hitter Derek Lance, capping the scoring at 8-5.
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Alabama Game Notes
*Following the win against Tennessee, Alabama is now 72-34 in 106 all-time meetings in the series.
*After scoring eight runs against the Vols, Alabama is now 27-1 when scoring three or more runs in a game this season.
*With 10 hits in the game, Alabama reached double digits in hits for the fifth straight game, ninth of the last 11, and the 21st time this season.
*With two hits in the game, Georgie Salem extended his hit streak to six games.
*With a third inning single, Wade Wass extended his hit streak to six games.
*Casey Hughston extended his hit streak to five games with a 2-for-3 game.
*In 6.1 innings, Spencer Turnbull set a new career-high with 8 strikeouts.
*After missing the last three games with a bone bruise, Austen Smith returned to the starting lineup, posting a 1-for-3 game with a run scored.