Baseball Defeats Georgia, 6-4, to Win Season Ending Series

ROLLTIDEDOTCOM Jon Kelton delivered the game-winning hit on Sunday in his final at-bat at Alabama.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM
Jon Kelton delivered the game-winning hit on Sunday in his final at-bat at Alabama.
ROLLTIDEDOTCOM

May 19, 2012

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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama baseball team concluded the 2012 season with a 6-4 come-from-behind victory over the Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. With the win the Crimson Tide completes the 2012 season 21-34 overall and 9-21 in the Southeastern Conference, taking its third SEC series of the year. The Bulldogs fall to 31-24 and 14-15 in SEC play.

Jon Kelton, who registered a 2-for-4, one-run, two-RBI day at the plate, drove home the game-winning runs in the bottom of the eighth inning with a two-out, bases-loaded single that broke open a tie game and gave Alabama a 6-4 lead heading into the ninth. Trey Pilkington came on to pitch a scoreless ninth frame and earn his second save of the year to give the Crimson Tide the series victory.

“I thought it was a good way for our seniors to go out,” UA head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “I’m certainly proud of the guys the last two nights. They showed a lot of character and with today it was nice to see Jon Kelton, a senior, step up and get that big hit for us.”

Jared Reaves, one of eight UA seniors playing in their last game, was 2-for-4, with a run, and two RBIs to finish as the Tide’s 2012 season-leader in RBI. Austen Smith contributed a 2-for-4, one-run, one-RBI effort, while Hunter Gregory and Brett Booth each finished 1-for-3 with a run scored.

Jay Shaw (1-1) earned his first victory of the season and the second of his career, pitching 1.2 innings of scoreless relief over the course of the seventh and eighth innings. Blake Deiterich (3-4) took the loss the Bulldogs.

Taylor Dugas, who finished the day 0-for-3 with a walk, closes out his tenure at UA as the all-time leader in career hits (334), singles (235), doubles (67), triples (18). Moreover, Dugas finished in the top-10 in 14 different statistical categories at Alabama during his four-year career, including third in runs with 232.

“Overall, the last two nights some good things happened,” Gaspard said. “I’m happy for our seniors, we get to leave today on a good note after a win.”

Georgia opened the scoring with a run in the top of the first to take a 1-0 lead at the game’s outset. UA starter Charley Sullivan retired the first two batters of the inning before allowing back-to-back walks, followed by a two-out RBI single from UGA second baseman Levi Hyams. From there, Georgia followed that up with two more runs in the third to push the score to 3-0 after three.

After Sullivan got out of two runners on, no-out jam in the top of the fourth, the Crimson Tide answered with a run in the bottom half of the inning to cut the margin to 3-1, before notching two more runs in the fifth frame to even the score at 3-3.

Kelton and Gregory got things going in the fifth with a back-to-back singles off UGA reliever Chase Hawkins. Following a Crimson Tide out, both Kelton and Gregory came around to score on Reaves’ one-out, two-RBI double – his team-leading 33rd and 34th RBI of the year – to tie the score at 3-3.

Georgia regained the lead in the seventh with an RBI fielder’s choice to make it 4-3, but the Tide was able to respond an inning later, registering three runs in the eight to take a 6-4. Alabama loaded the bases with one out before a wild pitch by UGA reliever Pete Nagel allowed Reaves to scoot home from third to tie the score at 4-4. After an out and a walk, Kelton came to the plate and ran the count full before lacing a line drive back up the middle to score Booth and Tullidge and give the Tide a 6-4 lead.

Pilkington came on to pitch a scoreless ninth to earn the series victory for the Crimson Tide, but the Bulldogs made it interesting as they loaded the bases with two-outs before Conor Welton flew out to left for the final out of the game.

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