TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – The Alabama baseball team got a pair of two-run home runs from senior designated hitter Josh Rosecrans, as the Crimson Tide defeated the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles, 8-3, on Tuesday night at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. With the win, the Crimson Tide improves to 7-9 on the season while Southern Mississippi falls to 10-7.
With the score knotted at 3-3, the Tide then went on a scoring spree in the seventh inning, scoring five times against the Golden Eagles. The inning was capped by Rosescrans' second home run of the game, to help relief pitcher Ian Gardeck (1-1) earn his first victory in a Crimson Tide uniform.
"Without question on the offensive end Josh Rosecrans was big and really squared up both of those balls that he hit. When you drive a couple out of the park, and you have guys on base, that is the story of the game," UA head coach Mitch Gaspard said. "We have been working on a lot of things with him (Ian Gardeck), trying to get more strikes out of him with the two pitches, fastball and slider. Tonight he was good."
Freshman starting pitcher Justin Kamplain threw for 4.0 innings allowing four hits and one walk while striking out five. In his first career appearance, redshirt freshman Cary Baxter came in to pitch in the top of the fifth allowing three hits and one earned run with one strikeout in 1.2 innings of work. Junior right-hander Gardeck came in during the sixth inning and stayed for 2.1 innings, allowing one hit, no runs, two walks and four strikeouts.
"Obviously, this is a good win against a good, quality opponent in Southern Miss," Gaspard said. "As far as pitching goes, Justin Kamplain gave us a good solid start and Cary Baxter's first time on the mound did a decent job as well. What we were trying to do tonight and tomorrow is build the pitching staff from a six-man staff to eight or nine-man staff by guys pitching well. Gardeck was the guy tonight to add his name to the list that are able to go out there and be effective and get outs."
Southern Mississippi relief pitcher Taylor Nunez (1-2) did not record an out in the seventh inning, allowing three runs on one hit with three walks to take the loss. USM starter, Boomer Scarborough went 6.0 innings, allowing three runs (all in the first inning) on three hits with three strikeouts.
Rosecrans finished the night going 2-for-4 with two homeruns and four RBI. James Tullidge, who started at third base for the first time this season, registered a 1-for-3, one RBI night at the plate.
Alabama got on the board first when Taylor Dugas scored on a wild pitch in the first inning. Rosecrans then homered to left field with Hunter Gregory on third, to give the Tide an early 3-0 advantage.
After being held scoreless for three innings, the Golden Eagles scored their first runs of the game in the fourth. In a bases loaded scenario, Travis Creel drove in Blake Brown with a sac fly, then Chase Fowler followed with an RBI single to put the Golden Eagles down by one, 3-2.
The next run would come from Southern Mississippi in the top of the sixth, with a triple to left center by Fowler to score Connor Barron to tie the game at 3-3.
Alabama regained the lead in the bottom of the seventh. After a balk allowed Brett Booth and Jon Kelton to move up to second and third, Tullidge followed with an RBI single to center field to score Booth for the go ahead run.
The Crimson Tide will host Samford on Wednesday night, in the final tune-up game before starting SEC play against Arkansas this weekend. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. (CST), from Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Alabama is scheduled to start freshman right-hander Spencer Turnbull (0-1, 4.61), and the Bulldogs probable starting pitcher is sophomore righty, C.K. Irby (2-0, 1.23)