The red hot Crimson Tide baseball team ran their record to 9-0 on Wednesday, with an 11-1 over the Alabama State Hornets. ASU, who is favored to win the SWAC, fell to 5-4. Junior right-hander Mason Duke started for the first time in an Alabama uniform and secured the win with five sparkling innings. Duke allowed one hit, no walks and rang up seven strikeouts. Hunter Alexander was the big bat with three hits, two runs driven in, and two runs scored.
Coach Brad Bohannon chose to rest some regulars for the second game of five to be played this week. The nation’s leading hitter, Keith Holcombe, got the day off, as did regular catcher Sam Praytor and shortstop Jett Manning. Chandler Avant moved to short for the day, and Cobie Vance returned to second, allowing Connor Short to be inserted at third base. Matt Malkin took over at catcher, while John Trousdale played first base. That moved Alexander to right field and Chandler Taylor to left.
The Tide stranded the bases loaded in the first inning, but broke through with two runs in the second. Alexander drove in Malkin, who had walked, and Short who had singled. ‘Bama added to the lead with one run in the third when Avant doubled and scored on a single by Malkin.
The Hornets were able to push one run across in the sixth off of Tyler Adams before Davis Vainer entered and got the final out of the inning on a nice play by center fielder Jeaux Breaux. The Tide got that run back in the bottom of the sixth when Trousdale doubled and scored on an error, then broke the game open in the seventh with four runs. Alexander started things with a single, followed by Chandler Taylor with a single of his own. Avant bunted to move the runners, but beat the ball out to load the bases. Cody Henry ripped a two run double, followed by a run scoring hit by Walker McCleney and a sacrifice fly by Malkin. ‘Bama closed out the scoring in the eighth on a two run double by Kyle Kaufman and run scoring double by McCleney.
Vainer went 2.1 innings, allowing two hits with two walks and three strikeouts. Freshman Brady Greene pitched a perfect ninth to close out the game. The Tide collected 14 hits, drew six walks and struck out seven times. The trend of double-digit men left on base continued, with 10 stranded. The plus side of that is that a ton of runners are reaching base safely. The Hornets had four hits and drew four walks off of four ‘Bama pitchers, striking out 10 times and leaving seven runners on base.
Who Did What ?
Hunter Alexander 3-4, two runs, two RBI, one walk
Chandler Avant 2-4, two runs, double
Walker McCleney 2-2, two RBI, double
Matt Malkin 2-4, two RBI, run, SF
Kyle Kaufman 1-1, two RBI, double
Mason Duke (W) 5 IP, 1 H, 0 BB, 7 strikeouts, no runs
The Tide travels to Norman, Oklahoma this weekend for a three-game series. Friday’s game is a 6:30 p.m. start followed by a 4:00 p.m. game on Saturday, with a noon Sunday game. The starting pitchers should remain the same: Sam Finnerty for game one, Jake Walters for game two, and Sam Gardner in the finale.
Bama Baseball Fever, Catch
I’ll be in Norman for the series so follow @rogerpatmyers on Twitter for your baseball fix.