- Alex Scarborough, ESPN Staff Writer
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -- It wasn’t that the University of Alabama stranded scores of base runners early against Mississippi State, there just weren’t that many to be had. Bulldogs starter Chris Stratton didn’t allow a single runner to reach second base on the night, throwing seven scoreless innings on the way to a 3-1 Mississippi State win.
The junior right-hander from Tupelo, Miss., blew through the Alabama batting order, giving up just seven hits on the night. Stratton (9-0) didn’t walk a single batter and broke the 100-strikeout barrier, getting Jarred Reaves on strikes to become the 12th Bulldogs pitcher to surpass the century mark.
With the loss, UA drops to 17-29 overall, 6-16 in the SEC. Mississippi State improves to 28-17, 11-11 in league play.
“You knew tonight was more than likely going to be a low scoring game with Stratton on the mound,” said UA coach Mitch Gaspard. “He was as good as advertised. He did a really good job.”
The Alabama bats were able to get to the Mississippi State bullpen somewhat, scratching together four hits and one run in the final three innings. UA brought the winning run to the plate with one out in the bottom of the ninth but a 6-4-3 double play erased the threat of a late-inning comeback.
The poor offensive showing by the Tide squandered the efforts of freshman starter Spencer Turnbull. The righty who took home SEC Freshman of the Week honors last week threw 5.2 innings, giving up three earned runs on seven hits.
“While I thought we did a nice job of collecting hits, we didn’t benefit from a lot of them, obviously,” Gaspard said. “Turnbull gave us a solid start and (Chazz) Otwell was good in relief to keep the game and give us a chance right there in the eighth and ninth. But again, we had a couple opportunities where you have to get some hits and string them together at the right time and we ran short.”
Alabama will return to the Joe tomorrow at 1:05 p.m. CST for the middle game of the three-game SEC series. Freshman lefty Jon Keller (1-4, 4.37 ERA) will start for the Tide. Kendall Graveman (3-3, 3.04 ERA) is expected take the mound for the Bulldogs.
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