TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A two-run eighth inning for Alabama baseball was the difference maker on Sunday afternoon as the Crimson Tide completed a three-game sweep of the Missouri Tigers, 3-2.
Down 2-0 from the second inning, Alabama didn't score its first run until the seventh but made the most of the late pitching changes by the Tigers.
“Big win for us," Alabama coach Brad Bohannon said. "It’s really hard to get sweeps in this league and really proud of our kids. Not sure that we played our best game today — certainly made some mistakes and didn’t execute some key situations but really proud of our kids for overcoming that."
For the third game in a row, Missouri jumped out ahead with a run in both the first and second innings. An RBI-single by designated hitter Tre Morris in the top of the first put the first run across the plate, then an RBI-groundout in the second by center fielder Ty Wilmsmeyer put the Tigers up 2-0.
Both sides remained scoreless for the next four-and-a-half innings. However, Alabama scored its first run in the bottom of the seventh with an RBI-single by first baseman Drew Williamson, cutting the Tigers lead to just one run.
In the bottom of the eighth, second baseman Will Hamiter bunted and reached first with runners on first and second, the resulting throw for a force-out attempt at third base was a throwing error on the Missouri pitcher, resulting in shortstop Jim Jarvis crossing the plate for the tying run. Wilson advanced all the way from from first to second, putting runners on the corners for third baseman Zane Denton.
Denton flied out to center field for the first out of the inning, giving Wilson enough time to advance from third for what would be the game-winning run.
"I thought we gave some at-bats away early and didn’t execute some things but really thought we did a nice job of executing in the eighth inning with the bunts and doing enough to win the game," Bohannon said.
Closer Chase Lee entered the game in the top of the ninth, and the rest was history. Three up, three down and the Crimson Tide completed the comeback.
Alabama reliever William Freeman (2-1) picked up the win for the Crimson Tide. Through two innings pitched, Freeman allowed no hits, no runs and struck out three batters while walking none in six batters faced.
Lee (6) was credited with the save.
"Really proud of the pitching staff," Bohannon said. "We pitched five guys today and two of them — Will Freeman and Chase Lee — had already pitched earlier this weekend and you go into any SEC game and you know you’re just going to give up two runs, you’re going to sign that in a heartbeat.
"Especially to do that on a Sunday, just really proud of all five of those guys that just pitched and battled today."
With the win, the Crimson Tide is now 28-15 overall and is above .500 in the SEC for the first time since March 19 with an 11-10 record. Missouri drops to 12-29 overall and is 5-16 in the conference.
Alabama baseball now has the next four days off before traveling to Nashville to take on No. 2 Vanderbilt in a three game series. The series' first game is slated for a 6:30 p.m. CT first pitch (SEC Network+).