The Crimson Tide used a combination of seven arms in the 4-0 shutout win over Middle Tennessee on Tuesday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The victory improves Alabama to 4-0 on the young season, its best start since 2013.

“It doesn’t get much better than a 4-0 shutout, and it was awesome to see these guys compete out there,” said Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon. “We pitched seven guys, and they all did a great job. I was a little extra excited for Garret (Rukes) and Brock (Love) because these two deserve to be successful. Out of all the players I’ve seen with injuries in my career, these two have been so diligent in their work ethic to follow their rehab plans, and it was exciting to see them get out there and get their season off to a good start.”

Alabama starter Garret Rukes, a redshirt freshman, worked 2.0 innings in his first outing of the season and his first appearance since undergoing season-ending surgery early in 2017. He was followed by redshirt sophomore Brock Love, who tossed 2.0 innings of his own, throwing for the first time since he was sidelined for a majority of 2017 with a season-ending injury, as well.

Senior Tyler Adams (1-0) earned his first career win to highlight the relief effort. Redshirt sophomore Connor Stutts, junior Mason Duke, sophomore Deacon Medders and junior Dylan Duarte each provided an inning of work on the way to Alabama’s first shutout win of the season.

The Crimson Tide struck first, scoring three in the bottom of the second to grab an early lead. Senior Hunter Alexander led things off, reaching on a single before advancing to second on a groundout. In the next at-bat, fellow senior Chandler Avant lined a double down the third base line to cross Alexander for the game’s first run. After juniors Jett Manning and Kyle Kaufman both drew walks to load the bases, Cobie Vance, also a junior, sent a single through the left side that brought in a pair and built the Tide a 3-0 advantage after two innings of play.

Both teams went scoreless for the next five innings before Alabama added an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth. Junior Kyle Kaufman was hit by a pitch with one down and a single one out later from junior Joe Breaux put two aboard for the Crimson Tide. Chandler Taylor capitalized on the opportunity, with the third-year outfielder sending a single through the right side for his first RBI of the season and the Tide’s fourth run of the game.

Following a leadoff single by Middle Tennessee in the ninth, Duarte sat down the next three in order to secure the win for the Crimson Tide on Tuesday afternoon.

Vance and Alexander each provided multi-hit efforts for UA, with the Tide third baseman finishing 2-for-5 with two RBI and Alexander contributing a 2-for-4 night with a walk and a run scored.

Next up for Alabama is a three-game weekend series with Washington State. The Crimson Tide and Cougars are scheduled for a 3 p.m. CT first pitch on Friday followed by a 1 p.m. start on Saturday. The series finale is slated for 9 a.m. on getaway day. All three games can be seen live on SEC Network+.

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