The Alabama Crimson Tide base ball team needed something good to happen to it to help right the ship after an embarassing sweep at home last week against the Florida Atlantic Owls. After being outscored 23-8 last weekend, the Tide went in to this weekend looking for anything that could help. Enter the Arkansas-Pine Bluff Golden Lions. An obvious frustrated and hungry Bama team decided to take all of it's frustrations out on the hapless Lions, and when the dust cleared on Sunday, it was not pretty. Alabama outscored UAPB by a total of 30-3, while also out-hitting them 33-17, a vast improvement for a team that was out-hit last weekend 39-20. The Tide saw it's record even up at 3-3, while the Lions fell to a humbling 0-7.
For the Tide, the biggest cause for celebration this weekend was not the hitting, but the pitching. Alabama solid outings from all of it's starting pitchers, including two who were going for their first college wins. Freshman Taylor Guilbeau pitched 6 scoreless innings Friday night, while only allowing 2 hits and striking out 4 in the Tide's 14-0 victory. Charley Sullivan took the mound Saturday, and had an equally impressive performance in Bama's 7-0 shutout. The junior only gave up 3 hits while striking out 5. Perhaps the most encouraging performance of all came on Sunday, when Justin Kamplain only allowed one earned run on 3 hits in 5 innings of work. The freshman, who only made it through 3 innings last weekend in his first career start, also had a staggering 6 strikeouts in the 9-3 win, giving him 10 total in only 8 combined innings of work this season. Coach Mitch Gaspard was cautiously optimistic Sunday after Kamplain's performance, emphasizing that the youngster still had plenty of room for improvement.
“Regarding Justin Kamplain, it was really good to see him get his first collegiate win,” Gaspard said. “The big thing with pitching is that you have to pound the strike zone, and today he was fortunate. He was able to wiggle out of a few tough spots, but his command is going to have to continue to improve.”
Offensively, the Tide recieved solid weekend performances from several players. Catcher Ben Moore was 4 for 7 on the weekend, including a 3-run homer on Friday night, the first of his career. The true freshman had 5 total RBI and scored 6 runs on the weekend, while also walking 3 times. Jon Kelton blasted his first homerun of the season on Saturday, a 2-run blast in the fifth inning. The senior was 3 for 10 overall with 5 RBI and 2 runs scored. Junior Kenny Roberts was 4 for 12 with 3 RBI and 5 runs scored. The JUCO All-American had a double, triple, and 2 stolen bases on the weekend. While Senior center fielder Taylor Dugas was only 2 for 10 at the plate, the All-American still managed to score 4 times and get an RBI. The veteran lead-off man also walked 4 times while snatching 2 stolen bases.
Next up for the Tide is a mid-week matchup against the Jaguars of South Alabama. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:05 pm Tuesday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.