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Smith leads Alabama's power surge against Ga Tech
Alabama’s Taylor Dugas rounds third base in front of Georgia Tech third baseman Matt Skole on a home run during the first inning of an NCAA college baseball game Sunday in Atlanta. - photo by JOHN AMIS

ATLANTA — Taylor Dugas, Jake Smith and Jon Kelton all belted home runs in a five-run first inning, and Adam Morgan pitched a five-hitter Sunday night for Alabama, and the Crimson Tide remained alive in the NCAA Atlanta Baseball Regional with an 8-1 victory over top-seeded Georgia Tech at Russ Chandler Stadium.

The Crimson Tide (40-23) earned their 40th victory of the season and the opportunity to face the top-seeded Yellow Jackets (47-14) again at 7 tonight. The winner advances to a Super Regional next weekend against Auburn or Clemson.

Dugas led off the game with his second home run of the year. After walks to Josh Rutledge and Ross Wilson, Jake Smith and Jon Kelton hit back-to-back blasts off Tech starter Brandon Cumpton (9-3) for a 5-0 lead. It was the first time Alabama had hit three homers in one inning this season.

“It starts with Dugas’ home run on the first pitch,” Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard said. “Then (we) left the yard three times in the first inning, which really hadn’t been something we’ve done much of this year. So, (there was) solid early offense for us to get a lead and then Adam (Morgan) was just tremendous today. We felt like if we could get to this game, he would give us a really good chance to win.

“The combination of good offense today and Morgan on the mound being really sharp was just a good combination to take us into (Monday).”

Matt Skole belted his 20th homer of the year to lead off the Tech second, but Ross Wilson answered with his eighth of the year with a man aboard in the second off Tech reliever Buck Farmer for a 7-1 lead. The Tide added an unearned run in the seventh on Skole’s throwing error and a RBI single by Wilson, his third hit of the game.

Morgan (7-4), a sophomore lefthander from Marietta, allowed only one other runner to reach second. He walked just one batter and struck out nine in pitching his second complete game of the year and third of his career.

“I fed off of (the offense) a lot,” said Morgan. “It’s great to go into the second inning with a five-run lead. So I kind of pitched attacking them. I knew I had a shot at a bunch of lefties, so I just attacked them with the slider and got ahead of them with the fastball, and it was all great from there.”

“First of all, he’s one of the best competitors that we have on the mound,” said Gaspard. “Adam, like much of our team, kind of went through a lull in the season where he struggled for three or four starts and then really got it back going last week against Florida. One thing about Adam-and our whole team-I don’t know if there’s a tougher group out there.”

Cumpton left the game after surrendering a lead-off double to Brock Burnett in the second. Farmer finished the game, allowing three runs on five hits the rest of the way.

“We definitely got off to a tough start,” Tech head coach Danny Hall said. “All told, I thought Buck did a good job of at least giving us a chance to come back. Hitting-wise, we didn’t have many answers. We kept chasing his breaking ball that was out of the zone.

“We chased it all night and didn’t have many answers for it. The good thing is we have a chance to play (today).”

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