Tide Goes Extra To Stay Alive In SEC

Mikey White

HOOVER -- Playing in extra innings against a nationally ranked team has become old hat to the Alabama baseball team. On Thursday at the Met the Crimson Tide played in its record ninth extra innings game this season and got a two-run 10th inning single from Mikey White to give the Tide a 7-5 win over Mississippi and stay alive in the Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournamant.



Alabama, playing in the losers' bracket, one loss away from elimination against 21st ranked Ole Miss, rallied in the tenth to move on to Friday play. The Rebels, meanwhile, head back to Oxford to await their NCAA Tournament fate.

On Friday, Alabama (34-25) will play the loser of today's Arkansas (ranked 15th) or LSU (ranked second) at 4:30 p.m. CDT.

Experts believe both the Crimson Tide and Mississippi are definitely in the NCAA tourney.

The problem with tournament baseball is that a team has to save its pitching staff as much as possible. Alabama almost went too far in trying to keep from going to the bullpen. Spencer Turnbull, the Bama starter, got touched for three runs in the second inning, but then pitched well into late in the game.

Then he walked a batter with two outs. He threw a wild pitch. He walked another batter. Finally he walked a third batter to load the bases and that brought out the hook. Mitch Greer came in and gave up a two-run single to Stuart Turner (the runs charged to Turnbull), but got Alabama out of the inning with no more damage.

With one out in the top of the 10th inning, Kyle Overstreet walked and advanced to third on a double by Ben Moore off Mississippi reliever Tanner Bailey. After the Rebels made a pitching change, White delivered a game-winning two-RBI single up the middle on a 1-2 pitch off Brett Huber. Bailey took the loss for Mississippi to fall to 4-2 on the year.

White was 2-for-5 with three RBI and a run scored in the game.

Alabama Coach Mitch Gaspard said, "This group is very resilient in games like that. Our team fell behind and our guys did a good job offensively of finding swings and getting the bats going.

"There's still some work to do. We gave up too many walks and allowed them to get back in and tie the game. But out guys fought back and found a way to win in the end."

Tucker Hawley took over pitching in the seventh and went the distance, not allowing the rebels to score. Hawley's solid relief stint gave him the win and a 5-2 record, which is tied for the team lead in pitching victories.

Alabama had eight hits as Georgie Salem was the only Tide player other than White with multiple hits. Salem was 2-for-5 with a run scored. Moore was 1-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored, and Overstreet was 1-for-4 with an RBI.

With the extra-inning game, Alabama eclipsed the previous school record of eight played by the 1986 team. That year, the Tide posted a 6-2 record in extra-inning games. This season, UA is 3-6 in extra-inning games, which have all come against top-25 opponents.

Turnbull threw 6 2/3 innings, allowing five runs (four earned) on four hits with six walks and four strikeouts.

The Rebels jumped out to a 3-0 lead, scoring three times off Turnbull in the second inning. Preston Overbey doubled with two outs to score Anthony Mistone, who doubled to open the inning. After Turnbull walked Christian Helsel, Will Jamison singled to center field to score Overbey, and after the ball got away from catcher Brett Booth, Helsel scored all the way from first.

Mississippi starter Jacob Waguespack retired the first nine batter of the game, but he couldn't get out of the fourth inning. Alabama touched the freshman right-hander for two runs on two hits with a pair of walks in the top of the fourth. Roberts and Salem walked and singled to open the inning. Roberts moved up to third on a fly ball by Overstreet and scored on a sacrifice fly by Moore. White then singled deep in the right center field gap, allowing Salem -- running on the pitch -- to score from first and pull the Tide to within a run.

Bama tied the game at 3-3 in the fifth when the third single of the inning, which came from Overstreet, drove in Chance Vincent. The Tide continued to add runs and scored twice in the sixth inning. After White reached on a throwing error to start the inning, Smith tripled to drive him in. A ground out by Booth allowed Smith to score and give Alabama a 5-3 lead after six innings.

After the three-run second inning, Turnbull threw four scoreless innings and retired the first two batters of the seventh inning before walking the next three hitters to set up the game-tying single by Turner and ending Turnbull's day.

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