Through two innings of baseball, it was living up to the billing: the Aggies scored a hit in the top of the first and that was it.
Youthful exuberance took over, as freshman shortstop Mikey White belted a stand-up double to start the bottom of the third and fellow freshman Kyle Overstreet followed suit with a hit to open the bottom of the fourth, propelling the offense to a 3-2 win over the Aggies.
“Mikey’s hit was really big because we hadn’t really had too many good swings to that point, and then he splits the gap and really puts us in a spot to score a run,” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “(Third baseman) Kenny (Roberts) gets the big two-out hit there to get us on the board, and really from there we started putting better swings on pitches.”
Right fielder Ben Moore added, “You’re always waiting on that first hit, and when you get it, it’s like the floodgates are open. It definitely makes it easier to hit after that first one.”
Even on a day where it looked impossible.
“It was one of those bad days to hit with the wind blowing in,” Gaspard said. “Kenny hits one on the nose, Ben, (center fielder Georgie Salem), there were a lot of guys that hit balls hard and didn’t get anything to show for it.”
The Aggies had similar struggles as Kamplain pitched a career-best start in many accords. Kamplain pitched a career-high 7.1 innings and 112 pitches and a season-best walks and hits per inning of 0.845 against the Aggies.
“Kamplain gave us a really good start,” Gaspard said. “He was locating his fastball and everything was in the bottom of the strike zone. I thought there were three to four innings where he was throwing that slider in a good spot, backdoor. He was shoving that fastball in, so really it was command on both sides of the plate.”
Kamplain added, “I had a little bit of everything going today. I was able, towards, the end of the game, to get that feel for the changeup. This week, we worked on a new pitch, my cutter, and showing the right-handed hitters something in. Everything was going today.”
And the numbers could be more gaudy had he not tried to start the top of the eighth. Kamplain had a three-hit shutout before his high pitch count, crossing over into triple digits, slowed him down in the eighth.
“We liked the match-up with the pinch hitter,” Gaspard said. “In hindsight, we probably should’ve (taken him out) a hitter or two earlier because of his pitch count, but Haack comes in and bails us out and gets a hold in the eighth.”
After winning its fourth game in-a-row, including the first two of this weekend series to secure the series win for the first time in the last four series, the Tide may not need ot be bailed out like that much longer. The team confidence is rising with the level of play and the win margin could come along with it.
“The more you can win those close ballgames like that, the more that confidence starts to elevate,” Gaspard said. “I think some guys are getting started and starting to understand what that is to let that barrell fly a little bit and get it out there.
“We’ve probably squared the ball up more in the last three games. You haven’t seen as many flares or where the ball is beating the bat up as much. I think we’re on the right path right now.”