Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Tide avoids late-game collapse, takes lead in eigth

For six innings, it looked like Alabama was going to bend but not break. Starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull had stranded seven South Alabama Jaguar base runners in scoring position.

“His pitch count got up higher than we wanted it to,” head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “He bent a little bit there, but he continued to make the pitch when he needed to. I was proud of him.”

In the top of the seventh inning, the Crimson Tide broke.

Alabama reliever Adam Windsor allowed three singles to load the bases, then was substituted out of the game for right-handed reliever Trey Pilkington, who gave up a three-RBI single to first baseman Brad Hook, giving the Jaguars a 3-2 lead in the middle of the seventh inning.

Alabama went into the top of the eighth inning still down 3-2 but pulled through on a two-RBI single from senior Jared Reaves that gave Alabama a 4-3 win.

Gaspard said on Sunday he felt like the offense was going to be key in the mid-week games, and Alabama was able to muster only six hits and four runs against the Jaguars.

“Our approach was pretty good. We hit some balls hard and didn’t have a lot to show for it,” Gaspard said. “I think the offense takes timing and rhythm, and I think it will come because we have enough hitters in the lineup that have proven to be good hitters.”

The entire offense might not be at 100 percent yet, but Alabama saw flashes of brilliance from both Reaves and sophomore first baseman and designated hitter Austen Smith. Reaves had two hits, including the eventual game-winner, while Smith had two hits and scored two of Alabama’s four runs.

With the offense yet to hit full stride, the Tide fell back on junior right-handed closer Ian Gardeck. It was his first save opportunity.

“Gardeck is the kind of guy that’s going to put us on the edge of our seat,” Gaspard said. “But, when it’s all said and done, the results will be pretty good.”

Now, Alabama will take to the road for the first time, traveling to Hattiesburg, Miss., to meet the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles Wednesday night. Gaspard said sophomore right-hander Case Nixon will start against the Golden Eagles.

“This is going to be a real challenge for us,” Gaspard said. “Southern Miss is a top 30 ranked team.”

Alabama will be facing the top-30 ranked Golden Eagles in hopes of improving before Southeastern Conference play.

“I’m excited to get this team on the road,” Gaspard said. “I think it always helps to get out and bond as a team in the hotel and playing games on the road.”

The players are excited for that opportunity as well.

“I’ve never been on a road trip before,” Turnbull said. “I think we have a chance to do some really good things.”

Gardeck echoed his teammate’s thoughts. “Going on the road is a special event, especially the first time. Guys come together and you really get a lot of team bonding. I’m really looking forward to it.”

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