The 15th ranked Alabama Crimson Tide took on the UL-Monroe Warhawks Tuesday night in a game that should have been a mismatch. The 'Hawks brought an 11-17 record into the tilt and had recently fired their head coach. Just three games ago, Bruce Peddie was named interim coach for the rest of the season. After sweeping the 9th ranked Ole Miss Rebels over the weekend, the Tide seemed to have an expected letdown. However, they were able to get the pitching and just enough offense to win the game.
The Tide reached their magic number of three runs in the third inning and held on for the victory. 'Bama is 20-0 on the season when scoring at least three runs and 0-8 when scoring less than three.
Tucker Hawley received the starting nod, his second of the year. Hawley allowed a run in the second inning on a single, and a two out dropped fly ball in left field by Casey Hughston.
Alabama got all the runs they would need in the third as the team batted around the order. Chance Vincent led off with a single, followed by a walk to Daniel Cucjen. Hunter Webb, in the lead off spot, executed a perfect sacrifice bunt to advance the runners. Georgie Salem singled to score one run. Mikey White hit a fly ball to left that was dropped, scoring the second run. Ben Moore hit a long drive to right for a sacrifice fly and the Tide's third and final run of the game. Hughston just missed a grand slam, hitting a ball deep in the right center gap that was run down for the third out of the season.
Jay Shaw replaced Hawley in the sixth and was perfect for two innings with three strikeouts. Normal Tuesday night starter Nick Eicholtz pitched the eighth and a walk and throwing error advanced the tying run to third base, where he was left stranded. Thomas Burrows threw the ninth inning and was perfect, with one strike out, earning his third save of the season along the way.
'Bama had several opportunities along the way to put the game on ice, but could not come through with the big clutch hit to do so.The Tide stranded 11 runners on base, including the bases loaded twice. 'Bama outhit the Warhawks 10-4 on the game with Salem, White, and Wade Wass each collecting two hits. Webb, Vincent, Cucjen, and Austen Smith had one safety each.
Hawley went the first five innings, allowing four singles, striking out four and not walking anyone. The two runs he allowed were both unearned, giving the righty a run of 18 innings with out allowing an earned run. Hawley lowered his ERA to 0.92 on the season.
Alabama played without second baseman Kyle Overstreet who is nursing a sore hamstring that he "felt pop" running to first base in Sunday's victory over Ole Miss. The Gold Glover said "I'm receiving treatment, and will Wednesday and Thursday also, and see if I can do anything in practice Thursday." Hopefully the sophomore from Boaz will be given the green light to play, as he is swinging a hot bat, in addition to having not committed an error all season on defense. Overstreet is riding an 11 game hitting streak. Freshman catcher Will Haynie was also out of the lineup with concussion symptoms suffered from taking foul balls off of his mask in Saturday's game. He had to leave the game in the seventh inning on Saturday and missed Sunday's game altogether. Haynie and Overstreet should both be available for the weekend series against Texas A&M.
The victory was called by Coach Mitch Gaspard "an ugly one, but we will take it. We expected somewhat of a letdown, but we did just enough to win. Gaspard also said, " we felt like if we could get through five, and get to the bullpen with a lead, we would be alright." And they were, with the three relievers allowing only one walk and no hits in their four innings of work.
- Austen Smith continues to lead the team with a .352 average, and with 24 RBIs, He also is tied for the home run lead with three.
- Kyle Overstreet is second with a .320 mark, and carries an 11 game hitting streak, the longest for the team this year.
- Ben Moore is next with a .294 average, and is co-leader with three home runs.
- Mikey White is hitting .292
- Wade Wass is hitting .290, and leads with 11 doubles, and is second in RBI with 17.
- Casey Hughston also has three home runs.
- Jon Keller is 5-1 on the mound with a 1.50 ERA
- Spencer Turnbull is 3-1 with a 1.63 ERA
- Thomas Burrows is 3-1 with three saves and a 1.12 ERA
- Justin Kamplain is 2-2 with a 3.35 ERA, and leads the team with 44 strikeouts.
- The team batting average is .274 and the team ERA is 2.23
The team flies out of Tuscaloosa on Thursday to College Station, Texas to take on the Aggies of Texas A&M in a three game set. Game times are: Friday, 6:35 p.m., Saturday, 2:05 p.m. and Sunday, 1:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday's games will be televised on Fox Sports Net Southwest.
Bama Baseball Fever, Catch it!
Roll Tide Y'all
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