Pitchers duel goes to Alabama in game two of Ole Miss series

Alabama baseball looked to even the series against No. 8 Ole Miss Saturday afternoon in front a sellout crowd. Again Alabama had an excellent performance from its starter, as Jake Walters pitched seven innings of shutout ball to help secure a 2-0 victory over Ole Miss.

“Runs have been tough to come by on both sides. There’s been tremendous starting pitching on both sides,” coach Mitch Gaspard said. “A game like that is really big. It can be a confidence builder going into tomorrow, and even though we weren’t great offensively we found a way.”

Walters only allowed four hits, all singles during his seven innings. Only one runner advanced to second while he was on the mound. He also faced the minimum of three batters in five of the seven innings he pitched.

“The cutter was missing a lot of barrels, and I felt like fastball had good action on it when I needed it, and my defense played real well behind me,” Walters said.

Walters relinquished the ball to Thomas Burrows after he gave up a leadoff walk in the eight. Burrows finished the game for a two-inning save for his ninth save of the year. Burrows has yet to give up a run this season.

“Thomas kind of did what he does. He comes in and pounds the strike zone,” Gaspard said.  “I think everybody feels like we are going to win that game when we put it in his hands.”

The first run came in the fifth inning. A lineup change by Gaspard had Cobie Vance leading off for the first time this season. The change put Vance in a RBI situation with runners on first and second with two outs. Vance delivered with a single to left field to score Georgie Salem. Alabama then took advantage of the Ole Miss bullpen and scored an insurance run in the eighth off of an error by the second baseman.

“He kind of ignites our offense a little bit,” Gaspard said. “Cobie gets good at-bats no matter where we put him in the lineup, but I liked him in the one hole and I know we are going to get good, strong at-bats every time he comes up.”

Alabama will be back in action on Sunday for the rubber match of the series. Tomorrow’s projected starter for Alabama is Nick Eicholtz. Eicholtz picked up a win last weekend against Kentucky when he pitched 7.2 innings of just one-run ball.

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