May 5, 2012
Box Score |
TUSCALOOSA, ALA. – Alabama center fielder Taylor Dugas set the all-time UA career hits record with 323, as part of a 2-for-5 day at the plate, but saw the Crimson Tide baseball team drop a hard-fought, 3-2, decision to the Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. With the loss Alabama falls to 17-30 and 6-17 in Southeastern Conference play while the Bulldogs improve to 29-17 and 12-11 in the SEC.
Dugas, who tied Andy Phillips’ 13-year record with a RBI double in the third inning, broke the record with a bunt single in the fifth inning. Dugas, who owns the record for most singles (226), doubles (67) and triples (16) at the Capstone, also took part in graduation ceremonies prior to the game, earning his degree in general health studies. In addition to Dugas, Josh Rosecrans, Brandt Hendricks and Jason Zylstra each earned their respective degrees while student coaches Josh Sanders and Adam Pavkovich also earned degrees.
Freshman Jon Keller (1-5), making his seventh start of the season, pitched a career-high 7.0 innings, allowing three runs (two earned) on just three hits while striking out five. Evan Mitchell (2-1) earned the victory for MSU, pitching 1.1 innings of middle relief without allowing a hit or a run.
“On the mound we did a really good job today,” UA head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “Jon Keller did a really good job, and then Jake Hubbard came up with two good innings. Our young guys certainly did a good job and did their part to give us a chance to win. You have got to give a lot of credit to Mississippi State’s arms, again we scattered out eight hits and a couple of runs.”
Shortstop Jared Reaves finished the day 2-for-4 at the plate with one RBI while third baseman James Tullidge reached base in three of his four plate appearances, totaling a 1-for-2, two-run performance on the day. The Crimson Tide outhit the Bulldogs for a second consecutive day, registering eight hits to MSU’s three, but were unable to capitalize. Alabama stranded nine runners on the day, including a bases loaded situation in the fifth that garnered no runs, and were just 2-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
“Offensively, it has kind of been the same story throughout the year, we just have not been able to do enough to generate offense,” Gaspard said. “It is tough to win SEC games when you are scoring one and two runs in back-to-back nights. We have got to find a way to get more runs.”
Mississippi State scored the game’s opening run, notching a two-out RBI in the top of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead. The Bulldogs added to the advantage two frames later, plating a run in the bottom half of the third courtesy of another two-out RBI to make it 2-0.
From there, the Crimson Tide answered in the bottom half of the inning with a run of its own. Tullidge got things started with a one-out ground rule double before coming around to score on Dugas’ career record tying hit - a double to left center field - to cut the margin to 2-1.
The Bulldogs notched a run in the top of the seventh on a RBI infield single from Tyler Fullerton to increase the lead to 3-1, before the Tide came back with a run of its own in the bottom half of the inning. Tullidge walked to lead off the fame then moved to second on a wild pitch. After a pair of strikeouts, Reaves doubled to right center to drive home Tullidge and make the score 3-2.
Jake Hubbard pitched a scoreless eighth and ninth in relief of Keller to give Alabama a chance at a comeback, but the Tide could not push any runs across in either frame as MSU reliever Jonathan Holder earned his second consecutive save of the series and third of the season.
The series between Alabama and Mississippi State will continue on Sunday with first pitch at 1:05 p.m. from Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Starting pitchers have yet to be determined for either team.
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