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March 4, 2013

Alabama baseball wins series finale against Tulane

TUSCALOOSA | Two days of futility at the plate disappeared in a flash Sunday afternoon.

Partly because of inaccurate pitching, partly a better approach and partly just good luck, Alabama got it going on offense to score a 12-6 win against Tulane and salvaged a game in the series.

Seven of nine Alabama batters registered at least one hit, including Ben Moore, Austen Smith and Kyle Overstreet, who each had two hits.

It wasn't just swinging the bat that was effective for the Crimson Tide. It was also in watching pitches go astray. Eleven times an Alabama player got on base via a walk, including three by Brett Booth. Alabama walked once in Friday's 4-0 loss and once in Saturday's 6-2 defeat.

Throw in doubles - UA's first extra-base hits since Booth's home run against Southern Miss on Feb. 10 - from Mikey White and Moore, and it was an almost complete day at the plate.

"After the last two days where we kind of struggled, we made up our minds that we don't want to struggle for a third day in a row," Moore said. "We wanted to avoid the sweep, so we came out here with a chip on our shoulders. We kept hitting the ball hard right at people and hard singles, which, I mean, you can't really complain about that, but it's nice to see a couple of doubles in there."

The doubles came back to back in a six-run sixth inning that erased a one-run deficit to propel Alabama to its eighth win of the season against three losses.

The outburst began with a Georgie Salem two-out walk. White and Moore then hit doubles. Booth and Kenny Roberts followed with walks to load the bases and Smith singled to push the advantage to 8-5. Overstreet then delivered a two-run single.

Alabama added two more runs in the eighth.

"We needed to get a win this weekend," UA coach Mitch Gaspard said. "After struggling on the offensive end the first two games, it was nice to get some flow in the lineup."

It was Smith's second two-hit game in a row. He missed fall practice with an injury after struggling last season.

"Feeling pretty good," Smith said. "Just getting going and getting back at it. I feel a lot better at the plate. Hits are contagious, I've always said that. Once you get rolling, everybody starts getting rolling.

"You have your ups and downs. It's baseball. It's a roller coaster sport. You never know what you're going to get."

Freshman Ray Castillo (2-0) was sparkling in his relief of starter Spencer Turnbull. Castillo allowed one run on one hit and no walks and struck out six in 41⁄3 innings.

Alabama struck out 40 Tulane hitters in three games.

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



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