May 7, 2011
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Junior left-handed pitcher Adam Morgan tossed 8.0 scoreless innings, striking out five batters while scattering eight hits to propel the Alabama baseball team to a 4-0 win over the LSU Tigers on Saturday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Crimson Tide improves to 29-20 overall and 11-12 in Southeastern Conference play while LSU falls to 30-18 (8-15 SEC).
Morgan (5-4) wrapped up another solid performance on the mound, throwing 113 pitches versus the Tigers, 77 of which were strikes, before giving way to Jonathan Smart to close out the ninth inning to earn his ninth save of the season. Morgan has lasted six or more innings in nine consecutive starts for the Crimson Tide.
"Well the story of the game is Adam Morgan, he was just terrific from the first inning on," UA head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "I don't know how many he retired there in a row, but he really got it going there in the second and third innings. You could see early on that his stuff was really good today. We tried to let him finish at the end but his pitch count was getting up a little, so Jonathan Smart came in and did a nice job to settle it down there in the ninth."
Senior catcher Brock Bennett finished the day 2-for-4 with a run scored while freshman designated hitter Austen Smith also finished 2-for-4, including a double and a RBI. Taylor Dugas, Patrick McGavin and Hunter Gregory each registered a hit for the Tide, who were able to manufacture runs despite a solid performance from LSU starter Kevin Gausman (3-6).
Gausman pitched 7.0 innings, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out 10, however three LSU errors, two of which came in the first inning alone, did not help his cause.
"Offensively what we wanted to do was get a lead early, and as good as Adam was today, we were able to maintain it and slowly add a couple runs," Gaspard said. "We needed a great pitching performance and Morgan gave it to us."
The Crimson Tide kicked off the scoring early, plating two runs in the first inning courtesy of three hits and two LSU errors.
Dugas and Bennett opened with a pair of singles before Smith brought home Dugas with a seeing-eye RBI single through the left side of the infield. Following Smith's RBI base-knock, LSU recorded back-to-back errors allowing Bennett to advance to third then eventually home to set the Tide's lead at 2-0.
Alabama added another run in the fourth inning on Josh Sanders' RBI fielder's choice before adding an insurance run in the eighth inning to push the advantage to 4-0.
Morgan allowed the first two batters to reach base in the ninth inning before Smart came in and shut the door on the LSU rally attempt. Smart kept the Tigers off the scoreboard, as Alabama posted its sixth shutout of the season and second against SEC competition (Kentucky, 4-0, on March 25).
The Crimson Tide will look to earn a series victory versus LSU for the first time since 2005 as the two teams meet in the rubber game tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. Smart (3-1, 2.22 ERA) will make the start for Alabama, taking to the mound as a starter for the third time this year. LSU will counter with senior righty Ben Alsup (3-5, 4.36 ERA).