A cold breeze blew in from right field as the SEC pennants flapped violently in the wind above Sewell-Thomas Stadium on the campus of the University of Alabama.

Crimson Tide fans attending Saturday’s game-two against the No.9 Ole Miss Rebels (21-8, 4-5 SEC) shivered in their seats, while the Alabama bats got hot in extra innings.

The weekend proved an exciting one for baseball fans in Tuscaloosa, who were given a show in each closely contested game of this exciting SEC West series. Despite the weather, the unranked Tide continued to roll as the descent into conference play began.

After Alabama managed to pull out a 7-6-squeaker victory over the red-hot Rebels on Friday night, a dogfight ensued in the second game to decide the fate of the three game set. For the Crimson Tide, in the first matchup on a dreary Friday evening, smart hitting and a healthy pitching performance from right-hander Spencer Turnbull (3-1) dictated the outcome.

On Saturday, the Crimson Tide started off strong, scoring two runs in the bottom of the first. However, the Tide would not score again until the eighth inning. Junior left-handed starter Justin Kamplain (2-2) struck out 11 for the Tide while giving up four runs en route to a no decision after 6.2 innings. In the student section, the long line of crimson and white K’s hanging from the chain-link railings told a much more dominating story than the box score.

Managing the hill for Ole Miss, lefty Christian Trent carried the Rebels through the first 6.1 innings, giving up two hits on five runs on his way to a no decision. Despite throwing the ball hard in a tough outing, Trent’s pitching was not enough to thwart a classic Crimson Tide comeback.

In the top-half of the seventh, Ole Miss Outfielder Braxton Lee accounted for two RBIs on a hard-hit single that gave the Rebels their first lead of the day, with Sikes Orvis rounding out the inning with an RBI single to cushion the lead at 4-2. Mississippi fans in the crowd leapt from their seats, and chants of “Hotty Toddy,” and “Lets Go Rebels,” could be heard, among other expletives, throughout Sewell-Thomas Stadium. However, this exuberance was ill fated.

The Tide answered in the bottom-half of the eighth, as the first four hitters reached base safely. After two Ole Miss relief pitchers struggled, and failed to complete an entire half-inning, freshman left-hander Wyatt Short (3-1) came in to finish regulation for the Rebels. After the damage was done, the Rebels and Tide could not end the game in nine innings, with anxiety and elation showing on the faces of both players and fan. As the Mercury on the temperature gauge dropped, a few faithful fans dug in, and wrapped themselves in blankets while sipping hot chocolate and cheering on their favorite ballplayers.

Extra innings brought both a bitter wind-chill as night descended, and heart-warming excitement for those on the winning side. While many fans called it quits and headed home at the close of the ninth inning, those remaining in the stadium held their breath and got their money’s worth.

The top of the tenth inning had fans of both twin-state schools standing on their feet as Alabama reliever Geoffrey Bramblett (2-0) came in from the bullpen with one out on the scoreboard. Despite giving up a run by way of a single from Sikes Orvis, Bramblett managed to stop the bleeding by getting out of the top-half of the inning with the score at 5-4 after striking out one.

Tide fans erupted with support for the home team after getting two runners on base from a walk and hit batsmen in the bottom half of the tenth. Following an Alabama sacrifice bunt and intentional walk, bases were loaded to set up an Austin Smith sacrifice fly-ball to tie the game at 5-5.

As Tide slugger and infielder Hunter Webb walked from the on-deck circle to the batter’s box, the ecstatic banter of fans hushed to an audible murmur. The sounds of SEC pennants flapping in the wind also became quiet, as if sitting in patient anticipation.

Webb took the plate against Wyatt Short with two outs, loaded bases and two dugouts full of anxious ballplayers. On one side, a team with single-digit losses and a top-ten ranking, and on the other, a ball club that has yet to enter the national spotlight.

With a loud ping of aluminum, Webb cut through the strike zone and hit a solid line drive to mid-shallow center field to bring the winning run across the plate.

A wave of crimson jerseys poured from the Tide dugout on the first base side to swarm the clutch performers as the gray-clad Rebels quietly exited the field into the locker room.

Winning the series was not enough for the Crimson Tide baseball team though. Following the extra inning heroics of the night before, Alabama left-hander Jon Keller (5-1) tossed a complete game for the Tide on Sunday to lead them to a 3-1 victory over the Rebels in Alabama’s first sweep of a top-15 team in five years.

Alabama (19-8, 6-3 SEC) will take on UL-Monroe in a one game home-stand on April 1 before traveling to College Station to play a three game series against Texas A&M.

In the last season of baseball at Sewell-Thomas Stadium, the Crimson Tide is 15-3 when playing at home as of Sunday’s win.

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