Crimson Tide takes series from Rebels

Published 12:11 pm Monday, May 17, 2010

Alabama did what it had to this weekend to pull into contention for a berth in the Southeastern Conference Tournament.

Ole Miss was already in, but did itself no favors in its drive for a top seed.

Junior right hander Nathan Kilcrease allowed two runs on five hits in a complete game, leading Alabama to a 6-3 victory over Ole Miss on Sunday.

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With the win, Alabama pulled into a four-way tie with LSU, Kentucky and Tennessee for seventh and eighth place in the SEC. The top eight teams earn spots in the league tournament — and, likely, the NCAA Tournament — making next weekend’s final league series a mad dash for postseason bids.

Ole Miss missed a golden opportunity to move into first place in the SEC West. It entered the weekend a game behind Arkansas and a game ahead of Auburn, but ended tied for second. Auburn took two of three from Tennessee to move into first place, while Arkansas was swept by South Carolina.

Ole Miss still has a chance to make amends, though. It plays Auburn in a three-game series beginning Thursday in Oxford, and can clinch the No. 2 seed in the tournament by taking two out of three.

“It was a tough weekend,” Ole Miss coach Mike Bianco said. “It’s disappointing to not play better and fall on the wrong side of the scoreboard twice. We have got to do more to win games. We have to score more and we have to pitch better. It’s not about putting yourself in a position to win games. You have to win.”

Alabama trailed 3-2 heading into the bottom of the seventh inning, but scored four runs to take a 6-3 lead. The rally was started by a pair of freshman as left fielder Brett Booth and right fielder Andrew Miller posted extra base hits off losing pitcher David Goforth.

Booth ripped a one-out triple off the left-center field wall and Miller followed with a double down the right field line to tie the game at 3. Sophomore center fielder Taylor Dugas kept the inning alive with a two-out walk and then stole second to put runners at second and third.

Josh Rutledge, who had a clutch two-RBI single in Saturday’s win, gave the Tide the lead with an infield single to score Miller and Dugas, who scored when Ole Miss’ Alex Yarbrough threw the ball away after making a diving stop near second base.

Rutledge later scored on Ross Wilson’s single to give the Tide a 6-3 lead.

Kilcrease did the rest. He retired the final nine batters he faced and finished with seven strikeouts in Alabama’s second straight complete game. Jimmy Nelson went the distance in a 4-1 victory Saturday. It’s the first time since 2006 that Alabama has gotten back-to-back complete games from its pitching staff.