BATON ROUGE, La. - In a pitcher's duel between Spencer Turnbull and Aaron Nola, the No. 19 ranked Alabama Crimson Tide came out on the short end, losing to the No. 6 ranked LSU Tigers, 2-0, in a Southeastern Conference game on Saturday afternoon from Alex Box Stadium.
"Spencer pitched one of his best games all year, he was outstanding," Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "His velocity was really good and his command was excellent. Offensively we ran into one of the toughest pitchers in the country, and he was on today. You just tip your hat when a guy pitches like that and you get ready for the next game.
Alabama (31-19, 13-12 SEC) and LSU (36-13-1, 14-10-1 SEC) will play game two of the SEC series tonight with first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m. CT from Alex Box Stadium. Alabama will start LHP Justin Kamplain (4-3, 3.59) and the Tigers will open the game with RHP Alden Cartwright (1-0, 1.69)
Turnbull went the distance, throwing a season high eight innings, allowing two runs on six hits with two strikeouts, a couple walks and two hit batters. Turnbull gave up single runs in the second and fourth innings to drop to 5-5 on the season.
For the Tigers, Aaron Nola threw a complete game as well, throwing nine scoreless innings, allowing four hits with no walks and nine strikeouts. Nola improved to 8-1 on the season after recording his first victory since April 11.
Nola had a perfect game through five innings until Casey Hughston got the Tide's first of four hits to open the top of the sixth inning. Alabama also got a single by Ben Moore in the seventh, and singles by Austen Smith and William Elliott in the eighth.
"We competed really hard and put ourselves in a couple positions during the game," Gaspard said. "There is a reason why Nola is the top college pitcher in the country. I like the way our guys played today, they stayed aggressive and stayed after it. We have to keep that same mentality into game two."
Mark Laird accounted for three of the Tigers' six hits in the game, while Jack Fraley was 1-for-3 with a double and a walk and scored both runs in the game.
The Tigers took a 1-0 lead when Tyler Moore's RBI single plated Fraley, who doubled off the second-base bag with one out in the second inning.
LSU added to its lead in the fourth when Danny Zardon slapped a two-out RBI double down the left field line. Turnbull walked Fraley and Moore before giving up the double to Zardon. A nice relay throw home from Daniel Cucjen cut down Moore at the plate, as he was trying to score from first on the play.
After the Tide got out of a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the fifth, Hughston broke up Nola's perfect game bid with a single to center field on a 2-1 pitch to lead off the Bama sixth. Nola then struck out the next two batters, before a fly out to right field ended the inning.
Alabama's biggest threat of the game came in the eighth, when it got a leadoff single by Smith and one-out pinch-hit single by Elliott. With runners on first and second with one out, Nola got Cucjen to line into an inning-ending double play to end the threat.