Tag Archives: Mikey White

Two key hits open things up for Alabama baseball, clinched series win

Georgie Salem comes down with a fly ball in the Saturday win over Texas A&M (Photo courtesy of UA Athletics)

Georgie Salem comes down with a fly ball in the Saturday win over Texas A&M (Photo courtesy of UA Athletics)

The Saturday game of the Alabama-Texas A&M baseball series was looking like a pitcher’s duel from days away. Texas A&M pitcher Parker Ray had allowed just 20 hits and five walks in 26 innings while Alabama’s Justin Kamplain had given up 11 hits in his 11.1 innings of work as a starter.

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.”

Alabama baseball set for primetime Top 25 matchup

For the first time since mid-April of 2011, the Alabama Crimson Tide baseball team finds itself ranked int he top 25 by both the USA Today Coaches Poll and the National Collegiate Baseball Writers’ Association. Both polls have the Tide ranked No. 22.

“This team is very deserving,” Alabama baseball coach Mitch Gaspard said. “They’ve played extremely hard all year and have been hot the last three weeks. The biggest thing from me is that the team has gotten batter, which I felt like they would, and we’re continuing to move in that direction.

“Being ranked is just a reward for the hard work, and this group is confident that we’ll continue to get better.”

Alabama starting pitcher Charley Sullivan labeled the ranking as another step in the long process of rebounding from a disappointment 2012 season.

“It’s a good feeling to know that all of the hard work we put in in the offseason and summer workouts, then competing all fall and winning spots, it’s good to know that being ranked, it’s paying off so far,” Sullivan said.

But the Tide has to quickly defend both its impressive Southeastern Conference record of 7-2 and its No. 22 national ranking with a three-game series against the No. 9 Arkansas Razorbacks, coming into the series 21-8.

“They’re awfully good,” Gaspard said. “They’ve got an ERA of about 1.68, right about that in the SEC as well. They’ve got three terrific starters and experience in the field with position players. There’s a reason they were picked No. 1 at the beginning of the year.

“I know they’ve had a few scuffles here and there, but they’re awfully deep and a terrific ball club.”

The Razorbacks also have one of the SEC’s best closers, Colby Suggs, who has gotten three saves in the Razorbacks’ last six games.

“They’ve got a guy in the back of the game (Suggs) that’s going to pitch mid-to-upper-90s, and some left handers that have done a nice job for them,” Gaspard said. “Their starters have been taking them deep into the games, so they can hand it right to Suggs or one of the other guys, the lefties, that are good match-ups for them.”

The Tide is not intimidated by the Razorbacks, however, as Alabama has been in this situation before. Alabama traveled to the then-No. 5 Louisville Cardinals and, although getting swept in the three-game series, battled to extra innings twice.

“How we played them, I think that gave us confidence when we left there that we’re a good team and, as I told the team that Sunday, we were right there,” Gaspard said. “We were that close and they understood that.

“Our guys are ready and confident to play a team like Arkansas and we’re excited to see where we stack up.”

With the experience behind them, and the more recent wins – nine of the last 11, to be exact – have Alabama thinking they can hit anyone.

“Arkansas definitely has a great staff, but with the way we’re swinging the bats right now, I think we can put good at-bats together and we can be fine,” freshman shortstop Mikey White said.

Gaspard added, “I think the biggest thing for us is the quality of our at-bats. That may not mean we’re getting eight or ten hits, but you have to make them work, fight pitches off, try to get them deep in the pitch count. When you do have those few opportunities, you have to take advantage of them.”

Especially on the Thursday night game, as ESPNU will be in Tuscaloosa to televise the series-opener live.

“I think anytime you have an opportunity to be on TV, I think that’s got a chance to help your program,” Gaspard said. “I also think being Alabama, being in the SEC, we’re going to be a showcase school anyway. But anytime we can get on ESPN and have a good showing and show off your campus, your facility, your fans, that’s a good thing for your team.”

Baseball now 7-1 with Tuesday night win over Samford

Last season, Alabama resorted to a five-run bottom of the ninth inning to beat Samford 6-5 that had two hits, two walks, one hit-by-pitch and an error.

On Tueday night, Alabama created its own luck, scoring four runs in the bottom of the fifth inning, all with two outs, on three hits and beating the Bulldogs 5-4.

Alabama’s bottom of the fifth included a two-RBI single turned into a double for freshman second baseman Kyle Overstreet. Overstreet’s double play partner, freshman shortstop Mikey White, led the Crimson Tide offensively with a 3-for-5 performance at the plate, scoring two runs.

Alabama’s winnig pitcher was reliever Mitch Greer, who releived starting pitcher Taylor Gilbeau with two innings of relief, giving up only one hit and one walk while striking out four batters. Gilbeau threw 4.1 innings for the Tide in his second start of the season, allowing seven hits and three runs, all of them earned.

Alabama will be back in action on Friday to start a three-game series with Tulane.

Star Series: Baseball’s first series starred by first-timers

Each Monday for the duration of the Alabama baseball and softball seasons, DailyBamaBlog.com correspondent Brett Hudson will track outstanding individual performances with the Star Series. Three players from each team will get 1-star, 2-stars or 3-stars with a running season tally.

Baseball

Click here to read more on Alabama’s 3-game sweep of VMI in the opening weekend.

3-star Player: Sophomore first baseman Cary Baxter. Baxter now leads the team in the following categories after the first weekend: batting average with .625, slugging percentage with .875, total bases with seven and on-base percentage with .692. Baxter is also tied for the team lead in RBI with four and doubles with two.

2-star Player: Freshman shortstop Mikey White. White’s first three games as a collegiate baseball player saw him go 6-11 from the plate with three RBI, two runs scored and an on-base percentage of .643. White paired with second baseman Kyle Overstreet to turn two double plays on Opening Day and four throughout the weekend. White also stole three bases on three attempts.

1-star Player: Senior catcher Brett Booth. Booth was 4-8 and scored a team-high six runs in the three-game series in eight times on base. Booth led the team with four walks and also had four RBI.

Season Tally

Cary Baxter: 3

Mikey White: 2

Brett Booth: 1

Softball

Click here to read more on Alabama’s 5-0 weekend in Fort Myers, Fla.

3-star Player: Junior shortstop Kaila Hunt Hunt hit for power well over the weekend, getting six extra-base hits on a 7-13 hitting weekend, slugging for 1.308. Hunt hit two home runs, six RBI and scored six of Alabama’s 23 runs in the five wins.

2-star Player: Center fielder Haylie McCleney. McCleney continued her strong freshman campaign by batting 8-17, scoring six runs and stealing six bases for the Tide. McCleney leads the team in stolen bases this season with 11 and has yet to be caught stealing.

1-star Player: Second baseman Danae Hays. Hays hit a walk-off two-run double to push the Tide to a win over Georgia Southern on her way to batting 6-10 with one double, six RBI and a home run.

Season Tally

Haylie McCleney: 5 stars

Kaila Hunt: 3 stars

Jackie Traina: 2 stars

Keima Davis: 1 star

Danae Hays: 1 star

Comeback win caps Opening Day for Alabama baseball

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Freshman shortstop Mikey White made a major impact in his first action as a collegiate baseball player. (Photo courtesy of UA Athletics)

Coming into a season where more experience in the pitching staff from the year prior was a big plus, it was the freshman shortstop Mikey White the stole the show on Opening Day. White was 4-5 from the plate with two RBI and was part of two double plays as Alabama came back from a 3-0 deficit to beat the Virginia Military Institute Keydets 8-3.

Batting behind White was second baseman and fellow true freshman Kyle Overstreet, who went 1-4 in his collegiate baseball debut. A freshman relief pitcher got the win for the night, as Ray Castillo came in and pitched 3.1 shutout innings, surrendering only one hit and striking out five batters. Castillo relieved starter Spencer Turnbull, who gave up four hits and three runs, one earned, in 3.2 innings.

Alabama was able to capitalize on VMI’s bullpen for the comeback victory. Starting pitcher Reed Garrett held the Crimson Tide scoreless in four innings, then scored all eight runs in the next four, in which Garrett pitched only one.

Alabama will continue the series with VMI on Saturday at 2:05 p.m. before concluding the series with a Sunday tilt at 1:05 p.m., both games in Sewell-Thomas Stadium in Tuscaloosa.

Alabama baseball opening series information

This is the third of three posts introducing the Alabama baseball season, starting Friday night against VMI. The first post can be seen by clicking here, and the second by clicking here. Come back to the Daily Bama Blog tonight for coverage of Opening Day.

Who: VMI vs. Alabama in Tuscaloosa at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

When: 6:05 p.m. Friday, 2:05 p.m. Saturday, 1:05 p.m. Sunday

Radio: Crimson Tide Sports Network

Starting Pitchers: UA’s Spencer Turnbull, Soph., vs. VMI’s Reed Garrett, Soph., on Friday; UA’s Jon Keller, Soph., vs. Campbell Henkel, Jr., on Saturday; UA’s Charley Sullivan, Sr., vs. Connor Bach, Fr. on Sunday.

Noteworthy: Alabama coach Mitch Gaspard said three true freshmen could start for the Crimson Tide on Opening Day: shortstop Mikey White, second baseman Kyle Overstreet and center fielder Georgie Salem …. Alabama’s three pitchers slated to start the opening series pitched a combined 183.3 innings pitched in 2012, while VMI’s three starters pitched 129.2 in 2012 …. In 2012, Alabama had four players hit over .300, and only one returns for 2013. Catcher/right fielder Ben Moore returns for his sophomore season, but Taylor Dugas, Jared Reaves and James Tullidge.