Count the memorable moments for Jake Walters in his final collegiate start.
There was the strikeout looking to finish Alabama’s 3-0 win over No. 5 Ole Miss. That capped his first collegiate complete game, which came in his final collegiate start.
There were the moments before, like when Walters escaped a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the top of the eighth. That inning ended with a long fly ball to the warning track in right field.
“I thought it was gone off the bat,” Walters said. “As soon as I saw (Chandler Taylor) running back in from the fence, I was so pumped.”
There were the moments after the game ended. A fan seated in right field dumped a beer on Walters as the team celebrated the win. Later, Walters found his brother, team manager Garrett Walters.
“He has worked harder than I have these past few years,” Jake Walters said. “I feel like I work pretty hard. But he gives it all and tonight, it was just great to go out like that. We hugged. I was a little emotional and it made him more emotional.”
You can also count up his statistics. It was Walters’ 52nd career start, tying him for the most in program history. He fanned seven Rebel batters to finish his career with 292 strikeouts, third in school history. He finished fourth in school history with 295 innings pitched. It was also Alabama’s first complete game shutout since 2014.
“It’s hard to lose when they go nine innings without giving up a run,” coach Brad Bohannon said. “Jake has had some really good outings this year and has really gotten better at pitching deeper into the game. He was able to get some early contact out of the Ole Miss hitters which allowed him to get to the ninth instead of the seventh. He was awesome.”
Walters wasn’t the only senior to play a big part in the win. Bohannon started all four of Alabama’s senior position players. Second baseman Chandler Avant was 2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. Third baseman Connor Short was 2-for-3.
“To get a couple hits on Senior Night after being up and down this year, yeah, I was happy to go out there and get a couple hits to help my team win,” Short said.
The top of the eighth was Walters’ most dangerous spot. Ole Miss trailed 1-0 and led off with a double, followed by a sac bunt to move the tying run to third. Walters hit two batters to load the bases, but got a strikeout and a long fly ball to end the inning.
His complete game came on 114 total pitches. He gave up four hits, two walks and hit two batters to even the series after a 3-2 loss on Friday. Alabama can clinch its final series of the season with a win on Saturday.
Walters did his part when he finished his last collegiate start.
“It was just a great night,” Walters said. “It’ll be a long time before I can start to forget.”
Reach Ben Jones at email@example.com or 205-722-0196.