Alabama did what they were expected to, sweeping a double header from Mississippi Valley State on Tuesday at the Hoover Met. Game one was much closer than expected and was a 3-1 Crimson Tide victory. Game two went more to script as the vastly superior Tide won 16-5, as their first seven batters of the game scored. 'Bama is now 22-18 on the season, and the Delta Devils fell to 6-29-1.
Game One: Won 3-1
Nick Eicholtz pitched the first game for 'Bama and had his longest and best performance of the season. The sophomore from Odessa Florida went seven innings, allowing three hits with two walks, five strikeouts and one run over 92 total pitches. Eicholtz improved his record to 3-0, and lowered his ERA to 1.86 for the season.
The Tide did most of their damage in the first inning, scoring two runs. Chandler Avant led off with a hustling double on a hit to center field. Mikey White, moved into the two spot for this game, lifted a short fly ball to right field that fell among three Devil's for a single, putting runners at first and third. Pitcher Tyler Case tried to pick White off of first, and threw the ball away, scoring Avant and sending White to third base. Cody Henry drew a walk, and when Kyle Overstreet hit a ground ball to short, White scored.
MSVU scored their only run in the third Edward Cox worked a two out walk, stole second, and scored on a single by Quentin McDonald. Eicholtz picked McDonald off of first base to end the inning. 'Bama got the last run of the game in the fourth when Overstreet and Casey Hughston both singled, followed by a walk to J.C. Wilhite. Georgie Salem hit into a force play, driving in Overstreet.
Eicholtz was relieved in the eighth by Ray Castillo, who allowed only one walk with no hits while striking out one in earning his fourth save of the year. 'Bama collected eight hits on the game, with White and Chance Vincent both tallying two. Overstreet threw out three runners attempting to steal, and Eicholtz picked one runner off of first base. The soft throwing Case pitched a complete game and earned the loss falling to 3-7 on the year.
Game Two: Won 16-5
Game two went more according to script, as the Tide scored early and often, and 19 players saw game action. The first seven batters in the first all reached base, and all scored staking the Tide to a 7-0 first inning lead. Chandler Avant led off with a walk, and J.C. Wilhite, in the two spot for this game, was hit by a pitch. Mikey White then blasted his team leading sixth triple of the year in the right center gap. Cody Henry stroked an RBI single, followed by Casey Hughston tripling over the first base bag. Kyle Overstreet drew a walk and Georgie Salem and Chance Vincent followed with RBI singles.
'Bama added to their lead in the second, sending nine men to the plate. Henry doubled and scored when Overstreet's smash to second base was mis handled. Salem singled, and Will Haynie drilled an RBI single to left. Chance Vincent dew a walk to load the bases, and then Avant drew a walk to drive in the teams 10th run of the night cap.
Will Carter started on the mound for the Tide and allowed three runs in the third, albeit with only a couple of hard hit balls. After hitting the first batter of the third, Quentin McDonald, Carter got two quick outs before giving up a little dribbler in front of the mound that Drew Wheeler beat out to continue the inning. Brady McBride doubled to score McDonald. Arrington Smith hit an identical dribbler in front of the plate to keep the inning alive. Alex Bravo guided a single through the infield to score the third run of the inning.
The Tide got another run in the fourth when Salem led off with his third hit of the night, a triple, and scored on a wild pitch. Haynie lined a double down the left field line, but was stranded. 'Bama added three more in the fifth when Henry and Hughston walked, followed by an RBI single by Overstreet. Salem continued his fine night, blasting his second triple of the game, scoring two more runs.
Carter finished five innings, allowing eight hits with six strikeouts, and more importantly, no walks. The junior right hander improved his record to 2-5 with his first victory since opening weekend. Little used Colton Freeman, Tyler Adams and Tyler McMurray as well as Jake Hubbard all pitched one inning apiece to finish the game out for the Tide. 'Bama got the last two runs of the game in the bottom of the eighth when Daniel Cucjen lined a two run single to right field.
Salem's 4-4 night with two triples and four RBIs with three runs scored led the way on offense. Henry, Hughston and Haynie added two hits apiece to the Tides 14 hit attack.
Alabama was clearly the vastly superior team, and needed two wins badly. It is hard to take any other real positives from these games, other than a lot of players getting some game action. Carter has struggled, and he needed a positive game to help him going forward. Tide hitters did a much better job of walking ( 11 ) and of not striking out as much (five times) over the two games. Tide pitchers struck out 19 hitters and only issued six free passes, which also is a big improvement.
The Tide travels to Oxford Mississippi this weekend for a crucial SEC series. The games times are: Friday, 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 7:00 p.m., and noon on Sunday. Friday's game will be available on SEC Network Plus, Saturday's is scheduled to be televised on the SEC Network, and Sunday will be shown on ESPN. (As long as the weather cooperates.)
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