When a team come to town carrying a record of 1-20 on the season you are expected to win, and win big. You should pile up hits and runs, and get plenty of guys playing time. 'Bama was able to do just that, racking up 14 hits and 17 runs on Tuesday and 15 hits and 12 runs on Wednesday. Five pitchers pitched on Tuesday and three on Wednesday. Fifteen position players played on Tuesday and 16 got game action on Wednesday. Overall it was a successful two game set, giving players confidence heading into a big series at Arkansas this weekend.Arkansas, who was ranked highly in preseason has an 11-7 overall record and a 1-2 SEC mark.
Game One, Tuesday, Won 17-3
Freshmen right hander Nick Eicholtz started for 'Bama, in a game where he was held to a pitch count, and lasted two innings. Although not as sharp as he was in his last start against Samford, where he pitched seven sparkling innings,Eicholtz allowed three hits,walked two and struck out four. The Odessa Florida native allowed on un-earned run. Alcorn actually jumped out to a one to nothing lead after their first at bat. Two walks, a single and an error allowed the run to score. 'Bama answered quickly in the bottom of the first with two three run homers, one by Ben Moore and one by Austen Smith. Georgie Salem led off with a walk, and Mikey White was hit by a pitch, one of seven hit batters for the Tide on the night. Moore then blasted his second home run of the season over the left field wall. Kyle Overstreet and Wade Wass were then both hit by pitches, and Smith blasted his second home run of the season, for a six run first inning. Taylor Guilbeau replaced Eicholtz on the mound in the third and pitched two innings, allowing three hits, hitting two batters and walking one.
The lanky lefty struck out four and allowed two runs, one earned. 'Bama scored two more in the third on a single by Smith, another hit batter, a fielders choice and an error. The fifth inning brought three more Tide runs as the hot hitting Smith blasted a double, J C Wilhite was hit by a pitch and Hunter Webb lined a single, scoring two runs. Georgie Salem followed with an RBI single. White was also hit by a pitch in the inning. The Tide continued to pour it on in the sixth, Overstreet led off the inning with his second home run of the year. Smith and Wade Wass singled, and both scored on a single by Wilhite. After Salem was hit, White slapped a two RBI single to center. 'Bama wrapped up to scoring in the bottom of the seventh. Stephen Cole walked,
Taylor Poe legged out his first career hit and Casey Hughston singled. Wilhite lifted a sacrifice fly to center, for his second run driven in. Geoffrey Bramblett pitched the fifth, sixth and seventh innings, and didn't allow a base runner while striking out three. Colton Freeman, in his first Crimson Tide action, pitched a perfect eighth inning and struck out two, Cary Baxter, seeing his first 2014 action, pitched the ninth and allowed a single, but had the runner erased on a double play to end the game. Smith continued his torrid streak by going 4-4 and raising his average to .377. He had a home run and a double and drove in three runs. Webb was 2-5 with two RBIs. Salem, White, Moore, Overstreet, Wass, Poe, Hughston and Wilhite all had one hit.
Game Two, Wednesday, Won 12-0
Senior Tucker Hawley received his first start of the season and pitched seven shut-out innings, allowing three hits and striking out seven, with one walk. Once again the Tide jumped out early , scoring four times in the first inning. Mikey White crushed a one out double, and scored on an RBI single by Kyle Overstreet. Wade Wass then blasted a long drive to right center field, and scooted in to third base with a stand up triple. Austen Smith walked, and then Casey Hughston doubled to score the final two runs of the inning. Hawley never faced any trouble, never allowing more than one base runner in any one inning. 'Bama scored again in the fourth when Georgie Salem hit his first home run of the season, a blast into the right field plaza.
The Tide put the game on ice in the fifth inning by scoring three more runs. Austen Smith and Casey Hugston both singled, and Hunter Webb was hit by a pitch(for the second time in the game.) Daniel Cucjen hit a sacrifice fly to score the first run and White singled, scoring two more. The Tide closed out the scoring in the eighth inning. Chance Vincent reached on an error, and Riley Colburn got his first career hit, a single. Vincent scored on a ground out by Cucjen. Jay Shaw and Mitch Greer both pitched on perfect inning, with Shaw striking out one batter, and Greer striking out two. Salem, White,Moore, Overstreet, Wass, and Hughston all had two hits. Smith, Colburn and Webb had one hit each. Hughston, White.Webb and Cucjen drove in two runs apiece. Webb and Smith each stole a base.Justin Lemond suffered the loss for the Braves.
Competition wise there is not a whole lot the team can draw from this two game series. However, several players were able to see action (some for the first time in their careers) and some stat building is never a bad thing. The team raised their team average .274 with the offensive out burst. Smith continues to lead the team with a lofty .381 average, and 17 runs batted in. Salem his hitting .325, Will Haynie .298 and Overstreet .297. Wass leads in doubles with seven. Smith, Haynie, Overstreet, Moore and Hughston all have two home runs each to lead the squad. The pitching staff has a 1.77 ERA, with Spencer Turnbull being the top starting pitcher with a 0.31 ERA in 29 innings. Freshmen relievers Thomas Burrows, in seven appearance, and 11 innings, as yet to surrender a run. Bramblett has allowed one run in 11 innings for 0.79 ERA. Jon Keller has four wins (and a 1.63 ERA) and Burrows has three victories. The freshmen pitchers for 'Bama, Eicholtz, Bramblett, Burrows and Freeman have combined to pitch 47.1 inning and have a 0.76 ERA.
'Bama travel to Arkansas this weekend to take on the Razorbacks. The Hogs have struggled some what to an 11-7 record, after being highly regarded to begin the season. They are always tough at home, and it would be great to win the series. Arkansas has a .261 team batting average, led by Brian Anderson and his .333 average. The Hogs have hit seven home runs as a team. Arkansas also relies on pitching and carries a 1.82 team ERA. Jalen Beeks (3-2, 1.15 ERA) and Chris Oliver (1-2, 2.25 ERA) are the leading pitchers. 'Bama will start Turnbull on Friday at 6:35 p.m., Justin Kamplain on Saturday, at 2:05 p.m. and Jon Keller on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. Sundays game will be televised on CST ( Cox Sports Television.)
This team continues to be fun to watch, and in just the last two weeks they have: thrown a no hitter, turned a triple play, threw three straight shut outs, had a two out two run home run in the ninth inning to tie a game, and a two out, two run home run to win the same game in the 10th inning. Bama Baseball Fever, Catch it!
Roll Tide Y'all