In a doubleheader rescheduled because of an early season rainout, Alabama defeated Alabama A&M 7-2 and 7-2 on Tuesday at the Hoover Met. The Tide improved to 25-24 on the season with the two wins. 'Bama travels to Auburn this weekend for a three game series that is vital to the team's SEC tournament hopes.
Game One: Alabama 7 Alabama A&M 2
Sophomore Nick Eicholtz started on the mound for the Tide and had control issues, lasting only 1.1 innings, allowing one hit with four walks, one hit batter and two runs, both earned. Jay Shaw replaced Eicholtz and pitched 4.2 very sharp innings, allowing three hits, one walk and striking out five, and no runs, and collecting the win. J.C. Wilhite pitched the final three innings and picked up his second save of the year, allowing two hits and striking out five, with no walks.
Alabama scored one in the first when Georgie Salem scored on an RBI single by Casey Hughston. The Bulldogs took a temporary lead in the second, plating both of their runs on three walks, a bunt single, an error and a wild pitch. The Tide regained the lead in the bottom of the second when they strung together four straight singles after two were out. Will Haynie and Riley Colburn both had infield singles, followed by an error, and an RBI single by Chandler Avant. Salem added another RBI single to make the scored 4-2.
The Tide added another run in the third when Mikey White and Kyle Overstreet both had singles, and White scored on the back end of a double steal, stretching the margin to 5-2. Meanwhile Shaw was mowing down the Bulldogs, ending his outing after striking out the side in the sixth inning.
The Tide added a run in the sixth when Hughston blasted a long triple and scored on a single by Cody Henry. 'Bama tallied their final run in the eighth without the benefit of a hit, as White was hit by a pitch and Hughston and Ryan Blanchard drew walks to load the bases. Chance Vincent hit a sacrifice fly, plating White with the games final run.
'Bama collected 10 hits in the game with Hughston and Colburn having two each. The team added four walks and struck out five times. 'Bama pitchers allowed six hits walked five, and struck out 10.
Game Two: Alabama 7 Alabama A&M 2
Seldom used freshman left-hander Alex Watkins received his first collegiate start in game two and was nothing short of brilliant, getting his first win while pitching seven innings and allowing five hits, one walk, nine strikeouts and one run. The soft-tossing lanky lefty kept the Bulldogs off balance with his curve ball and change up, mixing in an occasional fast ball.
Alabama took a 3-0 lead in the second inning on Cody Henry's ground rule double, followed by a J.C. Wilhite single and Chance Vincent's infield single. Taylor Poe hit a long drive to right for a sacrifice fly, scoring Henry. Chandler Avant then doubled, one of seven doubles by the Tide in the game, scoring two runs for an early 3-0 lead.
Mikey White walked leading off the third and scored on a double by Casey Hughston. Kyle Overstreet singled and Henry walked to load the bases with no outs, but a line drive double play by Wilhite, and a strikeout ended the inning with a 4-0 Tide lead.
Watkins was breezing through the A&M line up until Allen Smith hit his first home run of the season with two outs in the seventh. A single followed, but Watkins recovered to strike out Dustin Dhanani to end the inning and his night. The seven innings was the longest outing of his career.
The Tide closed out the scoring in the sixth when Avant singled and scored on a double by Georgie Salem. White's second double of the game scored Salem with the games final run. Mitch Greer took the mound in the eighth and after walking the lead off man, struck the next three batters out, mostly with a fast ball that was touching 94-96 MPH on the radar gun. Colton Freeman pitched the ninth inning and allowed an unearned run, following a leadoff walk. The next batter hit a come backer to the mound, which Freeman fielded and threw to second, but the throw glanced off of shortstop Daniel Cucjen's glove, putting two on with no outs. A wild pitch scored the run, Freeman struck out the side, ending the game with the Tide winning 7-2.
'Bama collected 13 hits and three walks, striking out five times. The Bulldogs touched Tide pitching for five hits, with four walks and struck out 13 times. Avant had three hits, White, Hughston and Henry added two each. Both of White's and Hughstons hits were doubles, and Avant, Salem and Henry had one double apiece.
The main thing garnered from today's games was breaking a four game losing streak, and getting the season record over .500. Also Hughston, Avant and Henry getting back into a groove and hitting several balls hard was an encouraging sign. For the most part the pitching, especially Shaw, Wilhite, Watkins and Greer was outstanding, albeit against an out manned opponent. The two losses dropped Alabama A&M to 26-28 on the season.
- Avant was 4-8 with two walks, a double and two RBIs and two runs
- White was 3-6 with two doubles, three runs, an RBI and two runs scored
- Hughston was 4-7 with two doubles, a triple, two RBIs and two runs scored
- Henry was 3-5 with a double, and two runs driven in
The Tide travels to Auburn this weekend for a three game series with their arch rival. The games are scheduled for 6:00 p.m on Friday, 3:00 p.m on Saturday and 1:00 p.m on Sunday. All time are CST.
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