FINAL, ALABAMA 6, OLE MISS 3
From sneaking into the field to a semifinalist, Alabama took care of Ole Miss behind a second straight pitching gem and a little small ball.
Nathan Kilcrease almost threw his third straight complete game and the Tide’s second of the tournament after Jimmy Nelson’s outing Wednesday against Auburn. He was pulled for Jake Smith with one out in the ninth after Ole Miss brought the tying run to the plate.
Alabama gets the winner of the Florida/Vanderbilt game on Saturday.
Read more later.
Middle ninth: It looks like Kilcrease will get an opportunity to close it out himself after the Tide goes down in order in the top half of the last inning.
End eighth: Miles Hamblin’s lead-off, solo homer made it 6-2 after it rocketed over the right field wall but Kilcrease battles back and gets third out with a swinging K. Tide takes four-run lead to ninth.
Middle eighth: Josh Rutledge single scores Brock Bennett who moved to second on a balk after a bloop single to put Alabama up 5-1 and a Clay Jones single plates Rutledge to take a 6-1 advantage.
End seventh: Ole Miss isn’t going down quietly. Matt Smith ended Kilcrease’s streak at 17 straight retired with a double to right. David Philips then drove him home with a single to right. Alabama still leads 4-1 with two innings left.
Middle seventh: Ross Wilson got his third hit to lead off and later scores on a Jake Smith sacrifice fly to center. Another play at the plate, another Tide runner slide in safely to make it 4-0 Tide.
End sixth: Kilcrease got the put-out on to end the inning with 16 straight outs. Alabama comes back to the plate with its 3-0 lead in tact.
Middle sixth: The Tide scores two more. Jon Kelton triple to right scores David Kindred who led off with an infield single. Then an Andrew Miller squeeze scores Kelton in a wild inning. It’s now 3-0 Tide.
End fifth: Another inning without a base runner keeps Alabama ahead 1-0. Kilcrease has retired 13 straight now.
Middle fifth: We finally have a score. Taylor Dugas slid past the tag at home on a Josh Rutledge single. Dugas walked again and stole second in spite of pitch out to put himself in position. Clay Jones stranded two with a fielder’s choice to end inning. Your score: 1-0 Alabama.
End fourth: Ole Miss goes down in order again. The score: 0-0. Alabama’s Kilcrease has now retired 10 straight.
Middle fourth: Ross Wilson led off by slapping a double down the left field line, followed by a Clay Jones walk to put runners on first and second. Kindred failed to get a bunt down, then popped out. Jake Smith struck out swinging and Jon Kelton grounded into a fielders’ choice. Long story short, still 0-0 in Regions Park.
End third: A quick 1-2-3 half inning, keeps nobody in the lead, 0-0 with Alabama’s 3-4-5 batters coming up.
Middle third: Andrew Miller came just feet from a home run. Instead it was a long foul to the right side followed by a ground out to first. Brock Bennett legged out an infield single. Taylor Dugas followed by a walk that extended his streak of games in which he’s reached base to 46 straight, but Josh Rutledge struck out to strand both and keep the score at 0-0. Who will blink first? Stay tuned.
End second: Miles Hamblin just struck out to end the inning, 0-0. There was a brief delay when the home plate umpire took a baseball to the throat after the pitch hit the dirt. He appears to be alright now.
Middle second: David Kindred hit into a double play to waste a Clay Jones lead-off single and a Jake Smith strike out keeps the shutout in tact. 0-0.
End first: A pair of two-out singles for Ole Miss were wasted by a grounder to second that ends the first. Still 0-0 in a very pro-Alabama Regions Park. Another pitchers’ dual? We will see.
Middle first: Ross Wilson nailed trying to steal second ends the top of the first with no damage for Ole Miss. 0-0.