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March 2, 2013

Tulane takes series with 6-2 win

TUSCALOOSA | After a night spent too passively at the plate, Alabama went into attack mode. The results didn't change.

Crimson Tide hitters never strung a productive inning or two together as Alabama came out on the bottom of a 6-2 result Saturday, dropping back-to-back games and a series for the first time in 2013.

Tulane's Alex Byo got his first win of the season working into the eighth inning. He pitched 7 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on seven hits and no walks. He struck out six.

He also induced 11 ground ball outs from Alabama hitters.

"What we're seeing right now, what has beat us the three games we've lost is a consistent pattern of someone throwing the ball away," UA coach Mitch Gaspard said. "We've got to show that we can drive more balls up the middle of the field and take the ball the other way.

"For the second game in a row we're certainly in an offensive funk. We really don't have a good approach as you could see today with a lot of balls to the shortstop. This team now has to show that it can respond after two poor performances and come back and play a much better baseball game."

Georgie Salem is the exception. The freshman center fielder batting a team-high .378 went 3-for-4 with a run scored in the first inning to tie the game at one. It was his third three-hit game of the season, as he extended his consecutive on-base streak to 10 games.

Tulane jumped on top in the third with a two-run homer and added three more in an error-aided seventh inning.

Alabama threatened in the eighth and ninth but rally-killing double plays ended any hope of a comeback.

Salem and Mikey White both singled in the eighth to put runners at first and second with one out. Ben Moore followed with a sharp liner to the left side that was snared by the third baseman who threw to second for the inning-ending double play.

In the ninth, UA loaded the bases with no outs, but Austen Smith lined a ball to shortstop that was caught and tossed to second for a double play.

The normally mild-mannered Moore slammed his bat into the dirt up the first base line, an accurate illustration of the mood in the Alabama dugout.

"I got the ball hard on the barrel and just hit it right at the guy, not a whole lot you can do about it," Moore said. "I didn't like seeing it again in the ninth with Austen Smith. Anywhere to the left or right it's a base hit. Yeah, it's frustrating."

Jon Keller started for UA and pitched five innings, allowed three runs on five hits and one walk while striking out a career-high 11. Jake Hubbard allowed three runs in relief. Jay Shaw made his first appearance going 2 1/3 innings.

Alabama (7-3) closes out the series today at 1:05 p.m.

Reach Aaron Suttles at Aaron@TideSports.com or at 205-722-0229.

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