The Alabama Crimson Tide baseball team got a strong outing from a freshman in his first career start and got the hits when they needed them to come from behind and defeat the South Alabama Jaguars Tuesday night 4-3 at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The Tide's record improved to 4-3 after starting the season 0-3 thanks to a sweep at the hands of Florida Atlantic. The Jags saw their record fall to 2-6.
Offensively, Jared Reaves went 2-4 for the Tide with 2 RBI, including the 2-run go ahead single in the bottom of the eighth. Brett Booth, who also had 2 RBI, went 1 for 3 at the plate. Austen Smith and Jon Kelton each had a triple a for the Tide. While head coach Mitch Gaspard was not too pleased with his team's offensive output overall, he was quick to praise Reaves and the Tide's relief pitchers after the game.
"Offensively, the hits didn't show up quite like I thought, but our approach was much better and (Jared) Reaves got the big hit when we had to have it," Gaspard said of the evening's 4-3 victory. "(Jon) Keller came in and did a nice job, then I thought in the back of the game (Jake) Hubbard and (Ian) Gardeck did a nice job shutting it down. It was a good win for us."
Freshman Hubbard struck out two and gave up just one hit in 1 and 2/3 innings of work to earn his first career victory. Junior Ian Gardeck, a JUCO transfer, gave up one hit in a scoreless ninth inning of work to pick up his first save of the season and the first of his Alabama career. However, none of this praise would have been possible without the strong outing from Spencer Turnbull in his first collegiate start. The freshman from Madison, Ala pitched five scoreless innings while only allowing three hits and striking out four. He got some much-earned praise from Gaspard afterwards.
"I thought Spencer Turnbull was outstanding in his five innings, particularly in his first collegiate start. You can see why we're excited about him. He's got a great arm, his secondary pitches will develop as he goes and I think he's going to be outstanding," Gaspard said.
Up next for the Tide is a trip to Hattiesburg, Mississippi tonight to take on the Southern Miss Golden Eagles at Pete Taylor Field. The first pitch is scheduled for 4 pm CT.