The red hot Crimson Tide baseball team took to the road for the first time, traveling to Birmingham to take on the Samford Bulldogs. The Tide used two big innings to help defeat the Dogs by a score of 13-3. Alabama improved to 8-0 on the season , while Samford fell to 5-4.
Garret Rukes started for the Tide and in his second appearance of the season, 11 months after Tommy John surgery, was awarded the win. Rukes pitched two innings, allowing one hit, with one walk, while striking out four. Brock Love, also 11 months removed from Tommy John surgery, followed with two very good innings, allowing one hit with one walk and two strikeouts. Dr. Lyle Cain, who performed both surgeries, was on hand to check out his handy work, and walked away pleased with the results. ‘Bama used five pitchers in the game.
The Tide scored twice in the third after John Trousdale singled, followed by Cobie Vance reaching base after being hit by a pitch. Hunter Alexander earned an RBI with a bases loaded walk, and Chandler Taylor drove in the other with a sacrifice fly. Alabama added four runs in the fifth on only one hit, being helped by three walks and a hit batter. Taylor drove in one with a bases loaded walk, followed by a two run single from Chandler Avant. Sam Praytor brought the other run home with a sacrifice fly.
In the sixth inning, Samford was finally able to scoreh, pushing three runs across on two hits and two walks. Taylor got one of those runs back in the top of the seventh with a no doubt home run into the woods beyond the right field fence. In the top of the ninth the Tide looked to go out meekly after the first two batters made outs. However after two were out, ‘Bama sent eight more batters to the plate, scoring six times. Taylor started things off with his second long home run of the game. The blast was the slugger’s third of the year. Cody Henry added a three run triple and Vance ended the scoring with an RBI single.
The Tide collected 10 hits, walked seven times and had three hit batters, while stranding seven runners off of eight SU pitchers. The team now has reached base 24 times via hit by pitch in eight games. Samford collected six hits and walked four times off of five Bama pitchers.
Who Did What?
- Chandler Taylor 2-3, two home runs, four RBI, three runs
- Keith Holcombe 2-5 (seven game hitting streak, 15-24 on the season)
- Chandler Avant 2-4, two RBI, run, walk (eight game hitting streak)
- Cody Henry 1-3, triple, three RBI
- Cobie Vance 1-3, two runs, two walks, one RBI
The Tide continues to have big innings, play good defense, and pitch well. The team batting average is .340, with a .510 slugging percentage, .470 on base percentage, and averages 10 runs per game. In the field, they have committed only six errors in 296 chances, a .980 mark. The pitching staff has an ERA of 3.12 over 72 innings, allowing 64 hits, walking 20 and striking out 62, giving them a WHIP (walks and hits per inning) of 1.16. The pitchers have combined for only three wild pitches on the season, and there have been no passed balls.
Coming into the night’s play, Holcombe was leading the nation in batting average and on base percentage, and was fourth in slugging percentage. Holcombe's 2 for 5 game “dropped” his batting average to .625. Avant’s average is second on the team at .455. Holcombe and Henry are tied for the team lead with 11 runs driven in, with Taylor just behind with 10. Avant and Vance lead the team with 10 runs scored each.
‘Bama returns home to host Alabama State on Wednesday in a 3 p.m. game, before traveling to Norman, Oklahoma for a three game series this weekend. The OU game times are 6:30 p.m., 4 p.m., and 12 noon.
The team is off to a fast start, thanks in part to the work that coach Brad Bohannon and his staff have put in. They will lose at some point, but when they do you can count on them going down fighting. The staff and the players have meshed well, and look to continue to surprise the pundits.
Roll Tide, Bama Baseball Fever, Catch it
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