In his first start for the Crimson Tide, junior college product Will Carter showed why he is so highly regarded. Carter pitched seven outstanding innings and allowed two hits, walking three and striking out six. The Tide wrapped out 14 hits, scoring 11 runs to win comfortably.
'Bama jumped out quick, scoring the only runs they would need in the bottom for the first inning. Chandler Avant led off with a walk, stole second and scored on Mikey White's single. Casey Hughston singled and Kyle Overstreet then drove in White with a single of his own for a quick 2-0 lead.
The Tide broke the game open in the fourth inning, batting around and scoring four times. Will Haynie and Ryan Blanchard both reached on errors to start the inning. Daniel Cucjen beat out a bunt for a single, loading the bases. Avant and Georgie Salem were both hit by pitches with the sacks jammed, giving both players an RBI. Hughston added an RBI single, and another run scored on a ground out by Overstreet, giving the Tide a 6-0 lead.
'Bama added three runs in the sixth as White singled, followed by Hughston reaching on a hit by pitch and an RBI single by Overstreet. Chance Vincent riffled a double over the third base bag, scoring two more runs. The Tide finished their scoring in the seventh with Blanchard singling, Cucjen doubling, and White having a sacrifice fly and Overstreet another RBI single.
Meanwhile Carter was cruising along mowing down the Hawks inning by inning, with only one runner reaching as far as second base. Carter was followed by freshman Alex Watkins, an Albertville native, who threw a scoreless eighth inning with a strikeout. Side arming J.C. Wilhite pitched the ninth and allow a lead off single, before retiring three straight, two via the strikeout, to close the game out.
Hughston had a 4-4 game with a hit by pitch, and an RBI. The Baker High product has now reached base eight straight times, with seven hits and the HBP. Overstreet was 2-5 and drove in three runs, and White continued his hot start with a 2-4 day, with a sacrifice fly and two RBIs. Blanchard was 2-4 while Cucjen was 2-3 with a double and a sacrifice bunt. Vincent was 1-4 with a double and two runs driven in. William Elliott came in as late replacement for Avant and was 1-1 with a walk and drove in a run.
Will Haynie threw out the only runner that tried to steal on him and the Tide added three more stolen bases, one by Avant and two by Hughston. 'Bama has stolen seven bases in the first two games, and has yet to be caught.
In all, 17 Tide players saw the field in the game as coach Mitch Gaspard experiments with different combinations early in the season. The team is deep with several players who can play multiple positions, which is a big plus in the college game.
'Bama should finish off the vastly over-matched Maryland Eastern Shore team on Sunday.
The Tide and the Hawks will play game three of their series on Sunday at 1:00 p.m. CST, in what will be frigid conditions. Sophomore Hoover native Geoffrey Bramblett will pitch for 'Bama. The game can be screened on the SEC Network Plus sight on line.
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