TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama offense shined again as the Crimson Tide completed the sweep of VMI, winning 7-4 in the series finale on Sunday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The winning pitcher was Tucker Hawley (1-0), ascending Alabama to 3-0, and the losing pitcher was Connor Bach (0-1), dropping the Keydets to 0-3.
"For starters, it was a good weekend,” UA head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “When you're coming in with that many freshman on the field, we felt like for the last five months that we were going to play that well. I thought all the guys played really well, mainly with their composure and poise that you want to see. Also, they all have a competitive edge about them that you like to see.”
Senior third baseman Kenny Roberts was 1-for-2 with a double, two walks, a career-high three runs scored and an RBI. Senior catcher Brett Booth stayed hot, going 1-for-2 with a single, two walks, a run scored and an RBI, marking Booth’s third straight game with an RBI. The young guns continued to produce for Alabama, as freshman center fielder Georgie Salem went 2-for-4 with two singles, two stolen bases and an RBI.
Senior right-hander Charley Sullivan went for 4.1 innings to start the game, allowing three runs on six hits and four walks with five strikeouts, tying his career-high. Junior righty Tucker Hawley made his 2013 debut when he relieved Sullivan in the fifth, going for 2.1 innings and allowing only one run on two hits. Sophomore south paw Justin Kamplain got the save (1), throwing 2.1 scoreless innings, while allowing only one hit with three strikeouts.
“Today, I thought Charley (Sullivan) gave us a good start, and it was also really good to have Tucker Hawley come out,” Gaspard said. “We kind of shoved him right into the fire there with the bases loaded and he was able to induce a double play ball, pitching a really solid inning. I thought Justin Kamplain threw the ball really well in the back end of the game. From the fifth inning on from Friday, offensively, I thought we really had good offensive pressure throughout the games. Their left hander did a really nice job against us today, early, but I felt like we still had some pretty good at bats and we were able to spring them together from the second inning on."
Sophomore first baseman Cary Baxter drove in two runs for the Tide, while Roberts, Booth, Salem, freshman shortstop Mikey White, and freshman left fielder Ryan Blanchard pitched in an RBI each. Baxter, Booth, and sophomore right fielder Ben Moore are tied for the team lead in runs batted in with four each on the season.
Sullivan allowed five base runners early in the first and second innings, but was able to come up with strikeouts at key times to work himself out of a jam. The Tide took advantage in the bottom of the second when Roberts drove in Moore, giving the Tide a 1-0 lead. Booth then hit an RBI single to score Roberts for the second run of the inning.
Sullivan settled in for Alabama, providing four scoreless innings. The Tide gave Sullivan some breathing room in the fourth, as Baxter brought Roberts in on an RBI sacrifice fly. The Keydets finally got to Sullivan in the fifth when they scored three times to tie the game. Hawley came in for Sullivan and forced a double play to get the Tide out of the inning.
Baxter continued to be a run producer for the Tide, as his RBI single in the bottom of the sixth gave UA a 4-3 lead. The Alabama offense broke it open from there, as Blanchard, Salem and White all produced RBI singles for a 7-3 advantage. The Keydets got a run off of Hawley in the seventh, but Kamplain struck out the first batter he faced to shut the door on the seventh. Kamplain finished out the final two innings for the Tide, clinching the sweep over VMI, as he locked up his first career save.
The Alabama Crimson Tide next plays No. 23 Southern Mississippi on Tuesday, February 19, with first pitch scheduled for 6:05 p.m., from Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
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