The Alabama Crimson Tide swept a double-header on Tuesday at the Hoover Met, defeating Savannah State by scores of 7-2 and 4-2. The Tide improved to 6-2 on the season. The first game began at 2 p.m in 38 degree weather. The second game started at 5:50 p.m. in even worse conditions.
In game one sophomore Nick Eicholtz made his season debut on the mound and struggled with his command. Eicholtz made it through the first three innings without giving up any runs despite hitting three batters, walking four, and allowing one hit. When the first two batters in the fourth reached base (walk and hit by pitch), coach Mitch Gaspard called on freshman Jake Walters. Walters walked a batter to load the bases, but struck out the side to keep SSU scoreless.
The Tide loaded the bases with no outs in the first on a Chandler Avant double, a Georgie Salem bunt single and a hit by pitch to Mikey White, but could only score one run on a wild pitch. Alabama put the game away in the second on three walks, one hit batter and a long grand slam home run off the bat of Casey "Casey Baseball" Hughston. Bama scored one more run in the fourth when Salem singled, stole second and third and scored on a White ground out.
Walters pitched 3.1 effective innings to get his first career victory. Savannah St. finally scored in the seventh on three singles, two walks and a couple of wild pitches. Colton Freeman followed Walters on the mound before Thomas Burrows closed out the final 2.2 innings. Burrows struck out three, walked one and allowed one hit.
Red-shirt junior Jake Hubbard drew the starting assignment in game two, and made a case for more meaningful innings as the season goes forward. The big Birmingham native looks fully recovered two years removed from Tommy John surgery. Hubbard pitched six impressive innings, allowing three hits, walking only one, striking out six and allowing only one run.
Freshman Alex Watkins followed Hubbard and pitched 1.2 innings, allowing three hits and one unearned run. Senior submariner J.C. Wilhite replaced Watkins with two on and two out in the eighth and retired the first batter he faced on a comeback to the mound.
Salem got the Tide started in the third with a bunt single, and then stole second base. White singled before Kyle Overstreet blasted a triple in the right center field gap to score both runs. Chance Vincent slammed a long home run over the left field fence with one out in the sixth for the Tide's third run.
SSU cut into the lead with their unearned run in the top of the eighth, but the Tide answered with an insurance run in the bottom half. Vincent doubled over the third base bag and scored on an RBI hit and run single by Taylor Poe. Wilhite came back out for the ninth and slammed the door, catching a line drive for the first out, and then striking out the final two hitters to gain a save.
* Poe was 3-5 with a double and RBI in the two games
* Salem was 3-8, with four stolen bases with three runs scored. Salem now is 8-8 in stole bases attempts in 2015, and has reached base in every game this year.
* Casey Baseball was 3-8 with a grand slam home run, four RBIs, and has an eight game hitting streak. Game one was his first game this season without at least two hits, and game two was his first game without an extra base hit
* Kyle Overstreet was 2-8 with a triple and two RBIs and now has 14 RBIs on the year
* Vincent was 2-7 with a home run, double, a BB and an RBI
The Tide welcomes the Louisiana-Lafayette Raging Cajuns to Hoover this weekend for a three game series. ULL is 4-3 so far this season, and are in a bit of a rebuilding mode after an outstanding 2014 season. Game one is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. CST on Friday, game two is Saturday at 2:00 p.m and game three is a 1:00 p.m first pitch on Sunday. All three games will be available on SEC Network Plus (on line)
Bama Baseball Fever, Catch It!