TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — A pair of Alabama pitchers combined on a five-hit shutout of Georgia, posting a 4-0 decision Friday at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.
Alabama (20-34, 8-21 SEC) grabbed a 2-0 lead in the third on a run-scoring triple by senior centerfielder Taylor Dugas and a one-out RBI single from right fielder Ben Moore off senior Michael Palazzone.
Left fielder Hunter Gregory, Alabama’s No. 9 hitter in the order, started the outburst with a single and a stolen base.
In the fourth inning, Alabama extended its lead to 4-0 as Gregory struck again, delivering a two-out, two-run double.
Georgia (31-23, 14-14 SEC) missed several scoring chances all night as freshman left-hander Jon Keller continued to dodge trouble. The Bulldogs put two on with one out in the first, fourth and fifth frames and came up empty, going 0-for-6 with two strikeouts, two popouts and two groundouts. Keller (2-5) went seven innings, scattering five hits with no walks and a career-high six strikeouts for the win. Jake Hubbard took care of the final two frames to preserve the victory.
The bottom of the second featured a brief delay when the Crimson Tide was caught batting out of order by Georgia coach David Perno. Once everything was figured out by the coaches and umpiring crew, Alabama lost a single in the inning and had a batter (James Tullidge) passed over in the order as a penalty, but no runs were scored.
For Georgia, junior Curt Powell and senior Levi Hyams notched two hits apiece while senior Colby May had the other hit on the night. Palazzone went the distance in the loss to fall to 2-6. He allowed four runs on 10 hits with one walk and six strikeouts.
“You tip your cap to them, they did a nice job on Senior Night and Keller pitched a great ballgame,” Perno said. “The full count was not good for us tonight. We didn’t win any of those offensively and didn’t win them from a pitching standpoint. Still, Michael went the distance and that was good for us. We just have to find a way to score. We had some opportunities, but nobody could get the big hit to break through tonight. “
The rubber game of the series will be at 2:05 p.m. today.