TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - In the final game of the regular season and the last in the current configuration of Sewell-Thomas Stadium, Mikey White and Ben Moore hit solo home runs to help lift the 19th-ranked Alabama Crimson Tide to a 2-1 Southeastern Conference victory over the No. 16 Mississippi State Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon.
After the last regular season game to be played at "The Joe", Alabama finishes the regular season with a 34-21 overall and 15-14 in the SEC, and the Bulldogs sit at 35-20 overall and 18-12 in conference play. Alabama will enter next week's SEC Tournament as the eighth overall seed.
"As for the ballgame, it was very important to our team for a lot of reasons," Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "One, it was the last game here and it was important to get the win. We had good performances from some key guys today, like Justin Kamplain who had a terrific start. I thought the bullpen was really good with Jay Shaw and Thomas Burrows in the back end."
Alabama starter Justin Kamplain (6-3) earned the win after 5.1 shutout innings, holding the Bulldogs to three hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Thomas Burrows picked up his 10th save of the season, after allowing a hit and a walk with a strikeout in 2.1 scoreless frames.
Preston Brown (4-2) was charged with the loss for the Bulldogs, after giving up a run on a hit and two walks in a 0.1-inning start. Ben Bracewell pitched the majority of the game for the Bulldogs, allowing one run on four hits and two walks with five strikeouts in 4.2 innings.
Notable offensive performances for the Tide came from Wade Wass, who finished 2-for-4 with a walk, and Casey Hughston, who also recorded a pair of singles. Seth Heck had two of the five Bulldog hits and he drove in the only run for Mississippi State.
Alabama wasted no time in taking a lead, as White led off the game by belting Preston Brown's first offering into the trees behind the left field wall for a 1-0 advantage. After each team was blanked for the next three innings, Moore sent a solo shot to the same location in the fifth to extend the lead to 2-0.
"We were really able to play a little long ball today," Gaspard said "Mikey (White) hits the first pitch of the game out of the park and Ben (Moore) delivers one again later. With that said, it was a good team effort today and a good win against a really good Mississippi State team that played really well all weekend."
After being held without a run for the first six innings, MSU scored its only run in the seventh. Derrick Armstrong walked to lead off the inning and third on a wild pitch and a groundout. Heck brought him home on a groundout to short to cut the Alabama lead to 2-1.
The Bulldogs were unable to manufacture a run for the remainder of the game, as the Tide sent the old Joe out with a win.
"Today was about the facility and the ending," Gaspard said. "It was emotional for a lot of people who were supportive of our baseball program for so many years. It was great to have the Sewell family out and lowering the last (countdown to Sewell-Thomas renovation) flag. I know for me personally, I've been here for a lot of years and I couldn't be more excited for the new facility coming, but I'm also very emotional today with all the history and everything that's come through."
With a 21-11 record at home this season, Alabama closes out the current Sewell-Thomas Stadium with a 1,194-508-2 all-time record, in 1,704 games at the current location. At the conclusion of the game, the final countdown flag was lowered by Mary Sue Sewell-Parnell, the daughter of Alabama legend Joseph Sewell.
With today's results, the Alabama baseball team enters the SEC Tournament as the No. 8 seed and will match up with the No. 9 seed Kentucky Wildcats. First pitch for the game between the Crimson Tide and Wildcats is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. CT, from the Hoover Metropolitan Stadium.