Alabama wins third straight in 8-0 shutout over Mississippi Valley State

Kevin Connell

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For perhaps the first time all season, Alabama played a complete game in all aspects – fielding, pitching and hitting – in an 8-0 shutout win in Game 1 over Mississippi Valley State on Friday night.

Junior right-hander Spencer Turnbull (1-1) pitched seven shutout innings for Alabama. He allowed only three hits and one walk with a career-high seven strikeouts in the win.

“It starts on the mound; I thought Spencer Turnbull was really, really good tonight,” Alabama coach Mitch Gaspard said. “A good, solid outing, just what you want one outing before SEC play. Threw a lot of strikes and really dominated the game from the mound.”

The win also marked the first time all season that the Crimson Tide has recorded a win on a Friday night all season.

“Nice to finally get a win,” Turnbull said. “Team’s been playing a little better lately, really got some momentum going, especially offensively. Just trying to go out there and do my job and the wins will come.”

But the story of the night was the Crimson Tide’s bats.

Alabama struggled to hit and score in most of its first 11 games, but on Friday night, it scored eight runs on nine hits.

Senior first baseman Austen Smith led the charge on a 3-for-4 night with one RBI and two doubles. Previously, he went 4-for-4 with four RBIs in a 12-6 win over then-No. 10 Louisiana-Lafayette.

“Good night. We really worked on staying flat to the ball as a team, staying right to the approach and just sticking to what we gotta do,” Smith said.

After taking a 1-0 lead in the second inning on an RBI sac fly from Smith, the Crimson Tide added two runs each in the fifth and sixth innings and three in the seventh to put the game out of reach.

The win gives Alabama its first three-game winning streak of the season. It was an important win despite coming against a winless Mississippi Valley State team.

“Every win is a confidence booster, and I think right now, this game is built on momentum, built on streaks,” Gaspard said. “Every at bat, put a good swing on it, you feel better. Obviously as a team, to get a win and you start stringing them together you start feeling a whole lot better about things that are going on.”

It was also the 350th win of Gaspard’s coaching career.

“That’s great,” Gaspard said. “Obviously had a lot of great players and coaches as well, so I’m proud of that.”

Alabama (7-5) will play in Game 2 of the series against Mississippi Valley State (0-13) on Saturday at 2:05 p.m.