In the need of wins, the Crimson Tide baseball team delivered, sweeping the Arkansas Razorbacks in a three game road series this weekend. The Tide improved to 30-21, 15-12 in conference, while the Hog's fell to 28-27, 7-20 in league play. 'Bama used seven home runs among 11 extra base hits in the three game set to help secure the wins. After a 12 single, no walk, 8-1 loss to Auburn last Sunday, Alabama came out banging in their visit to Fayettville. Will Haynie, Chandler Taylor and Georgie Salem were the big guns for the Tide.
Game One: Won 8-6
Geoffrey Bramblett took his normal Friday night spot in the rotation, and earned his fifth victory of the season, against three defeats. Bramblett surrendered runs in the first and second innings, but settled down there after, lasting six innings, allowing five hits, three walks, three strikeouts and allowing only the two runs.
'Bama took the early lead when Cobie Vance blasted a one out home run in the first off of the batters eye in dead centerfield, a blast that estimated at 425-450 feet. The long ball was the freshman's second of the season. Arkansas's runs in the first and second came off RBI singles following lead off doubles.
'Bama took the lead for good in the third with three runs, and put the game away with four runs in the fourth inning. In the third Keith Holcombe lead off with a walk, followed by a Vance single and a Georgie Salem sac bunt. Chandler Taylor's ground out scored one, a wild pitch scored another, and a Will Haynie bomb scored the third. A two out rally in the fourth brought four runs across. Holcombe singled, followed by a Vance walk. Salem lined an RBI single before Taylor blasted an opposite field three run home run to end the Tides scoring in the night.
Arkansas started chipping away at the lead after Bramblett was replaced, touching Sam Finnerty for two runs and Matt Foster for another pain in the eighth. With two outs in eighth, and the tying run at the plate, All American closer Thimas Burrows was called on and proceeded to record the five out save, his 11th of the year.
Vance led the way with his two hits, including his home run, and three runs scored. Taylor had a three run homer and a walk, while Haynie's only hits was his solo home run.The Tide had four extra base hits among its eight hits, and walked five times while striking out six times. 'Bama pitchers combined to allow 11 hits with four walks and six strikeouts.
Game Two: Won 10-4
Jake Walters took the hill for game two, and was staked to an early 4-0 lead. The first three 'Bama hitters, Keith Holcombe, Cobie Vance, and Georgie Salem all walked. After a strikeout for out one, Will Haynie hit a massive grand slam home run to left.
Walters was touched for one run in the third, and was in danger for more when Haynie turned a home to first double play with the bases loaded to thwart the effort of the Hogs. The Tide padded their lead in the top of the fourth in a two run double by Daniel Cucjen, making it a 6-1 game.
'Bama started piling on in the top of the seventh on an RBI double by Georgie Salem and a two run home run by Chandler Taylor. Walters allowed one run in the bottom of the seventh, and ended his night with seven innings pitched, allowing eight hits with two walks, nine strikeouts with two runs allowed, only one of which was earned. In the top of the ninth Haynie slammed his second home run of the night, third of the weekend, and ninth of the year, deep into the camera bay in left center field. Arkansas broke through with a two home run in the bottom of the ninth to cut the final margin to 10-4 .
Walters improved to 5-3 in the season with the win. 'Bama banged out eight hits again, with five going for extra bases, also drawing eight walks along the way. Tide pitchers allowed four hits, with four walks and 11 strikeouts. Haynie's two home runs with five runs driven in led the way, Taylor added two hits with a home run and two driven in.
Game Three: Won 7-4
For the second weekend in a row, and fourth time in the SEC, 'Bama went into Sunday with a chance for sweep. Unlike the previous times, the Tide finished off the Hog's, winning 7-4 in dramatic fashion. A sweep is exceedingly hard to pull off in baseball, especially in the SEC and the three wins gives the Tide a 15-12 SEC mark.
Nick Eicholtz got his turn in the mound, and following one of his few poor performances of the year last week, was outstanding. Eicholtz pitched six innings, allowing only three hits, with three walks and four strikeouts. The junior righty allowed two runs, only one of which was earned.
Georgie Salem got the Tide off to a fast start when he stroked a two out first inning home run, his third of the year. Arkansas took a 2-1 lead in the second after two walks, a double and a misplayed ball in the outfield. Salem once again came through in the third with a RBI double to tie the game.
That was the last run scored until the top of the eighth, when the Tide broke the tie. Two walks, a single and two wild pitches scored Cobie Vance with the go ahead run. With a 3-2 lead, coach Mitch Gaspard called on his All American, Thomas Burrows to slam the door. Burrows had given up only one run and one extra base hit all year as he took the mound. He struck out the first batter, but an error at third on a hard hit ball gave the Razorbacks new life. After a strikeout for out two, second baseman Rick Nomura shocked everyone with a two run home run to left to give the Hogs a 4-3 lead heading to the ninth. The runs off of Burrows where both unearned.
Down to their last chance the Tide responded. After one quick out, Gene Wood and Daniel Cucjen both singled, putting the tying run in second base. After out two, and down to the teams final out, Cobie advance worked a walk to load the bases, bringing Salem to the plate. Down to his last strike, in a 1-2 pitch, Salem drilled a single up the middle, scoring two for a 5-4 lead. Chandler Taylor walked, and then Will Haynie delivered another two run single, and a 7-4 lead.
Given new life, Burrows wasn't about to let the game slip away again. A two out hit batter and error on a ground ball, brought the tying run to the plate, but Burrows induced a fly ball to Salem in center field to end the game. With the win, Burrows improved to 2-0 on the season.
Salem led the way with his big game, with a 3-4 game, with a home run, double, walk, two runs scored, and four driven in, most likely the best game if his four year career. Salem was the only player with multiple hits in the game but seven other players recorded one each, for a total of 10. The team also drew eight walks, and struck out nine times. 'Bama pitchers allowed only four hits, walking five, and striking out five Razorbacks.
The Tide bats have heated up at the right time, and combined with their fine pitching, are becoming a dangerous team. After 34 hits, but only 11 runs in the Auburn series, the Tide bounced back with 26 hits and 25 runs on the weekend, while also drawing 21 walks. Eleven extra base hits, including seven home runs and four doubles helped lead to more runs being scored.
Salem had a 5-11 weekend with a double, home run, six runs driven in and two walks. Haynie was 4-11 with three home runs and eight runs driven in. Taylor was 4-11 with two home runs, three walks and five runs driven in.
With a 15-12 conference record 'Bama is tied with Vanderbilt overall in the SEC. Florida leads the way with s 18-8 mark (The Gators have a rain out, so have played one less game.) TAM and MSU are right behind at 18-9. Next weeks opponent, South Carolina, is 17-9, and 38-17 overall. VU and Alabama are tied for sixth in the league.
Four home games end the regular season with a Tuesday contest with Samford at 6:30 p.m. South Caroline comes to town for a Thursday- Saturday series prior to the SEC tournament in Hoover, which begins the next Tuesday.
This team has a chance to make some noise, get behind them.
Roll Tide, Bama Baseball Fever, catch it
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