Alabama hands USM first shutout of season, 3-0

Alabama hands USM first shutout of season, 3-0
USM (9-9, 2-3), which saw a two-game winning streak snapped. (Photo source: USM)

TUSCALOOSA, AL (WDAM) - Five University of Alabama pitchers limited No. 15 University of Southern Mississippi to just two singles and seven baserunners Wednesday night as the Crimson Tide took a 3-0 win at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

A single to lead off the game by center fielder Jaylon Keys and seventh-inning single by Luke Reynolds were the lone hits the Golden Eagles (8-4) could muster. USM would walk four times and Reynolds reached on a two-out error in the ninth inning, but that was the limit of the Golden Eagles' offense.

USM's pitching was stingy as well, giving up just six hits and walking three. But half the Tide's hits were doubles, and Alabama (11-2) bunched three hits in the fourth inning to take a 2-0 lead off USM starter Walker Powell.

Designated hitter Hunter Alexander doubled down the left field line and left fielder Keith Holcombe laid down a bunt single that let runners at first base and third base. Second baseman Chandler Avant's double into the gap in left-center field scored Alexander, sent Holcombe to third and ended Powell's outing.

Reliever Mason Strickland got a liner to first base for the first out, but 'Bama shortstop Jett Manning's fly ball to left scored Holcombe with the inning's second run.

The Tide, which had won its first nine games of the season before dropping two of three games at the University of Oklahoma this past weekend, nicked USM reliever for a run in the seventh inning when Manning walked, stole second, moved to third on a grounder and scored on a fielder's choice.

That run came on the heels of USM's only true threat since the first inning. With one out, Reynolds singled and center fielder Matt Wallner walked. A grounder to first by USM first baseman Hunter Slater moved both runners up a base, but 'Bama reliever Deacon Medders got a strikeout to end the threat.

Powell (0-1) took the loss, allowing two runs on three hits in three innings. He walked one, struck out one and hit two batters.

Garrett Rukes started for the Tide, and went the first three innings. Brock Love (1-0) followed and picked up the win with two hitless innings, striking out three and walking one.

Dylan Duarte picked up his first save of the season, allowing a walk in the final inning.

USM returns home this weekend, welcoming Georgia Southern University to Pete Taylor Park for a three-game series.

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