TALLAHASSEE, Fla. — Travis Bergen threw 8 2/3 innings Friday to lead the third-seeded Kennesaw State baseball team to a 1-0 victory against second-seeded Alabama in the opening round of the NCAA tournament Tallahassee Regional at Dick Howser Stadium.
“Bergen did a terrific job today and just like they have in the last 24 to 25 games, Kennesaw State found a way to get a win,” Alabama coach Mitch Gaspard said. “We pitched well enough to win the game, but we couldn’t find any kind of rhythm on the offensive end today.”
Bergen allowed five hits in the longest outing of his career, which included three strikeouts and just one walk in 8.2 innings. Bergen has the Tide off balance all afternoon, as 16 of the 32 batters he faced were retired by fly outs.
“We knew going in that Bergen was going to throw fastballs and pitch away,” Gaspard said. “Our approach was to work away and stay up the middle of the field. We weren’t able to get above the ball and our swings were too long. We worked all week on the approach and it didn’t show up today.”
The Owls scored the only run of the game when Kal Simmons had a bases loaded sacrifice fly to left field to drive in Brennan Morgan in the fifth inning. After Brennan Morgan singled to start the inning, a bunt moved him into scoring position. After back-to-back walks by Spencer Turnbull, Simmons drove a ball to left center field to score Morgan easily.
Alabama got the tying run on second with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, when Austen Smith doubled of the wall in left field of Bergen. That was the last batter Bergen faced, as KSU turned to Justin McCalvin who got Kyle Overstreet to fly out to right field to end the game to record his 15th save of the season.
Turnbull was the tough-luck loser. He allowed one run on three hits and four walks in 6 1/3 innings. He struck out and two. In his last four starts, Turnbull has allowed five runs in 27 1/3 innings. Turnbull has been the tough-luck loser in his last four starts, as the Tide has scored no runs while he has been on the mound in the past four outings. Alabama has just three total runs in the last four games Turnbull has started.
Alabama had two-hit days from Smith and Chance Vincent. Smith was 2-for-3 with a pair of doubles and a walk and Vincent was 2-for-3 with a pair of singles. Alabama’s only other hit was a seventh-inning single by Overstreet.
Kennesaw State had four hits. Cornell Nixon reached base three times, including a double and two walks. Morgan was 1-for-4 with a run scored and Simmons was 0-for-2 with an RBI (sacrifice fly) and a walk.
Jay Shaw threw the final 2 2/3 innings for the Tide, allowing a hit and a walk. He struck out three.