Despite recording more hits than the opposition, Alabama fell into an early hole and could not recover as the Crimson Tide fell to the Missouri Tigers, 7-3, Saturday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. With the loss, Alabama drops to 30-22 overall and 12-13 in the SEC. Missouri’s win improves their record to 16-29 overall and 8-18 in conference action.
“We fought from behind the entire ball game,” Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said. “Offensively, I think were swinging the bat very well. We didn’t do a good job when we had some opportunities to string some hits together. Two of the three runs were solo homers, but I still like where we are offensively.”
Alabama scattered 12 hits over their nine innings to out-hit Missouri, 12-11. Alabama got a pair of solo home runs in the, but could only manage one run on its 10 other hits. Saturday’s game also marked the first time this season that two Alabama freshmen have homered in the same game. Mikey White carded a big game, stroking a solo homer in the fifth, the second of his career, an RBI double and a single, marking a new career high in total bases with seven. Georgie Salem finished with a first inning solo shot, the first home run of his career, as well as a single and was 2-for-5.
Ben Moore registered his team-leading 21st multi-hit game with a pair of singles. On Senior Day, senior Kenny Roberts recorded a duo of singles, and senior Brett Booth reached base for a career-high 12th straight game, posting a single and a run scored. Austen Smith drew a trio of walks.
Spencer Turnbull (4-3) took the loss, after allowing four runs on four hits and a walk in 3 1/3 innings pitched. The second-year pitcher faced a total of 17 batters, striking out two, and used a total of 57 pitches. Jay Shaw dealt three scoreless frames in relief, allowing five hits with one punch out. With Saturday’s effort, the Pinson, Ala., native has only allowed one run in the past 12 innings.
“For the second week in a row we’re struggling on the mound a little bit,” Gaspard said. “Our command has left us a little bit, and were not getting in good counts and not making a lot of quality pitches. We have to get a better start for one and the bullpen has to come out with that strong mentality and attack mode where we are pounding that strike zone. Right now, there are just entirely way too many balls being thrown.”
Missouri’s Keaton Steele (5-3) earned the win in his relief appearance. The righty threw the final 4.1 innings for the Tigers, surrendering one run on four hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Steele also was a major contributor at the plate, going 3-for-4 with three RBI. Dillon Everett with 2-for04 with three runs scored and Josh Lester and Dane Opel added two hits each for the Tigers.
The Tigers got the bats going quickly in the first. Everett led off with a single and was moved over on a sacrifice bunt by Lester. Opel followed with a double down the left field line to plate Everett and open the game at 1-0. However, the Alabama bats took it right back, as Salem clubbed his first home run of the year with one out in the bottom of the first to knot it up at 1-1.
The Tigers answered in the top of the second when Scott Sommerfeld hit a solo home run to take back a 2-1 lead. Missouri tacked on another for the third straight inning when a Steele RBI-single to left made the score 3-1. The fourth inning marked another scoring inning for the Tigers, set off by a Sommerfeld walk and hit by pitch drawn by Opel. Despite Sommerfeld being caught at third on an attempted double steal, Brannon Champagne drove in Opel with a double down the left field line for a 4-1 advantage.
Keeping with the trend of quick strike scoring, White led off the bottom of the fifth inning with his second home run of the season, a line shot over the left field wall to cut the deficit to 4-2. After Moore singled to center field to lead off the sixth inning, Smith walked to set up men on first and second. Moore and Smith both ended up out at second, on a pick off and a fielder’s choice, respectively. White’s next at-bat was a double inside the third base bag that ended up in the left field corner, which allowed Booth to score from first, making the score 4-3.
Missouri answered with a run in the seventh then added a pair of insurance runs in the ninth inning for a 7-3 victory to even the series at one game each.
“We have a real battle tomorrow; it’s obviously a huge game,” Gaspard said. “They’re throwing their best guy who’s really good. He’s a potential second round draft pick who’s been throwing on Friday’s but they have moved him back to Sunday. We’re going to have to come out because it’s going to be a real battle tomorrow.”
The Alabama Crimson Tide finishes up their final home series of the 2013 campaign Sunday against the Missouri Tigers at 12:35 p.m. CT from Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Alabama will start sophomore south paw Justin Kamplain (1-0, 4.68), and the Tigers will deploy junior lefty Rob Zastryzny (2-9, 3.93).