Tide baseball defeats Southern Miss

Kevin Connell

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The Alabama baseball team continued its hot start to the 2013 campaign, holding off No. 21 Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles in a 10-8 win Tuesday night.

“I really like the way this team competes night in and night out,” head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “They make plays, they play with no fear and they really attack the game, so it was a big win for us tonight.”

Left-hander Taylor Guilbeau (1-0) had seven strikeouts and allowed just three hits and one run in five innings of work in his first start of the season.

“I’m not surprised by the way he pitched tonight,” Gaspard said. “He’s been pitching really good.”

Guilbeau’s strong outing has put him in consideration for a possible spot in the weekend rotation, Gaspard said.

“I think it’s kind of like we’re treating everything right now is you got to compete, you got to earn your way there and that was certainly a big step for him today,” he said. “I thought that was our best start by far this year tonight.”

The Tide fell behind 1-0 early after a passed ball brought home a Golden Eagles runner from third in the first inning.

Last year that may have been too much for the Tide to overcome, but this year’s Tide is a new team. Although he wasn’t here last season, freshman second baseman Kyle Overstreet can tell that this year’s team has a bit of a different feel to it.

“I wasn’t here [last year], but I know this [year’s] team is together as a team,” Overstreet said. “We’re bringing a lot of energy every game. I think we’re a good team.”

After a shaky first couple of innings, the Tide broke the game open in the fifth inning, scoring five runs to take a commanding 6-1 lead over the Golden Eagles.

Southern Miss made things interesting starting in the top of the seventh inning when it began chipping away at a 7-1 Tide lead, cutting it to just 7-3. The Golden Eagles followed that up in the following inning with an RBI double from designated hitter Tim Lynch that brought home more runners, making it a 7-5 game entering the bottom half of the eighth.

But the theme of the season thus far has been timely hitting, and that’s exactly what the Tide got in the bottom half of the eighth when they extended their lead to 10-5.

Brett Booth hit a leadoff solo home run off the scoreboard in left center to give the Tide an 8-5 advantage. A few batters later, Ryan Blanchard and Georgie Salem hit successive doubles which scored two more runners, making it 10-5 Alabama.

It appeared that the Tide would cruise in the ninth, but Southern Miss scored three runs with the help of two throwing errors, to make it 10-8.

Right-hander Justin Kamplain was able to hold off the late rally to record the save and preserve a Tide victory.

“This year I think you see a bunch of guys out there, who trust each other and believe in the team and keep fighting like tonight,” catcher Brett Booth said.

The Tide will next play this Friday, Feb. 22, in game one of a three-game series at Florida Atlantic in Boca Raton, Fla. First pitch is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.

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