By (Kelly Ward)

HOOVER — Eleven-seed Alabama baseball founded its offense with its season on the line in a 6-1 win over 6-seed Ole Miss to open the SEC Tournament.

“It doesn’t take a baseball genius to figure out what happened,” Ole Miss head coach Mike Bianco said. “Alabama just outplayed us today and that’s what makes the Southeastern Conference such an unbelievably good league. You know, anybody can beat anybody on a given day.”

Sophomore right-hander Geoffrey Bramblett (8-3, 3.81 ERA) went the distance in the win. He allowed nine hits and struck out a career-high 10 in his nine-inning win. It was his first complete game of the season.

“Geoffrey did a tremendous job,” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “Anytime you can start the tournament and you get a complete game, and he was pretty efficient with his pitches as well, just a great start on the mound by Geoff.”

Bramblett’s only run allowed came in the bottom of the fifth inning. He threw 115 pitches, 80 of which were for strikes. He had no walks and one hit batter.

The Crimson Tide knocked together 11 hits, eight of which were with two outs. All six of the team’s runs came with two outs.

“Offensively, we did a really good job in two innings, you know, stringing good at-bats together particularly with two outs and just kind of kept going from there,” Gaspard said.

Alabama broke through a scoreless tie in the top of the fifth with two runs. The first run came on a double steal. A short-hopped ball to the second baseman allowed Chandler Avant to score from third. An RBI single brought in the second run.

“It was a spot where it seemed like it might’ve loosened up the guys a little bit, and so one of those, anytime we have two good runners like that, regardless of who’s on, we try to create offense and particularly when we hadn’t done a whole lot to that point and so just trying to create a little bit right there and it worked in our favor today,” Gaspard said

In the top of the seventh inning, Alabama batted around the order and scored four runs, all with two outs. The Crimson Tide strung together five hits and left three on to take its 6-1 lead into the bottom half of the inning.

Alabama had three batters with multi-hit games. Shortstop Mikey White, right fielder Casey Hughston and designated hitter JC Wilhite had two hits. Hughston had a team-leading two RBI in the win.

“We just got real clutch hits when we needed to in clutch situations to help out [Bramblett],” Hughston said. “He did a heck of a job today like he’s done all year for us so it’s just good for us to get the win and get some momentum going against Texas A&M.”

The Crimson Tide will face 3-seed Texas A&M (43-10) on Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. Earlier in the season, Alabama handed the Aggies their first loss of the year.

Source:: The Crimson White Sports