The Crimson Tide slogged its way to a 3-0 win over Alcorn State on Wednesday to break a four-game losing skid. The Tide improved to 22-17, while Alcorn fell to 8-28 on the season.
In a Wednesday night game against SWAC cellar dwellers, Alcorn State, the Alabama baseball team probably expected to cruise to an easy win. After all, the Brave’s entered the game with a record of 8-27, while hitting only .247 as a team and posting a putrid team ERA of 8.63.
ASU had different ideas, though, and made the Tide work for its lethargic 3-0 victory. Five Tide pitchers combined on the two-hit shutout, while the ‘Bama “offense” scored their three runs by collecting only three hits on the night. (This is somewhat of a theme the past week: On Tuesday night, the Tide was held to two hits while being shutout 6-0 by visiting Samford.)
Dylan Duarte started on the mound for the first time since the 2016 season, having been used out of the bullpen all of last year and so far this season. Duarte went the first two innings before being replaced by Brady Greene. Duarte didn't allow a hit and walked one. Greene pitched a career high 2.1 innings, allowing one hit and walking two. Tyler Adams was next up and also pitched a career high in innings, 3.2. Adams also threw a career high 42 pitches while allowing one hit with one walk and a career high tying three strikeouts. Connor Stutts was the final hurler for the Tide, coming in from left field to pitch the ninth and earn his first career save with a nine-pitch perfect inning and one strikeout.
‘Bama got all the runs they would need in the fourth inning when Chandler Avant led off with a walk and scored on a long double by Hunter Alexander. Chandler Taylor flied to deep center, moving Alexander to third, where he scored on a sacrifice fly by Sam Praytor. Alexander was responsible for the last run of the game in the sixth after lining a one-out single. Alexander advanced to second on a wild pitch, then stole third base and continued home when the ball was thrown into left field.
Who Did What
Greene earned the victory with Stutts claiming the save. Alexander had a double, single, RBI, two runs and a stolen base. Praytor had the only other hit for the team, and added a sac fly RBI and a walk. Cobie Vance had a walk and his fifth stolen base of the season.
The Tide really was unimpressive in claiming the victory, just 24 hours after being two-hit in a shutout loss to Samford. Alcorn really is a team that is used for padding stats and confidence-building...neither of which happened. A win is a win is a win, but they aren't all created equally.
Coach Bohannon summed it up perfectly: “I’m glad we won. Three hits, four walks, two HBPs and a bad infield error, I’m just glad we won.”
Looking Ahead to Auburn
Struggling against the Braves, when the team is two days away from hosting the Auburn Tigers, is not ideal.
Auburn started off the season great, but has struggled recently. However, AU does have the nation’s number one pitcher in junior Casey Mize. Mize has a very good chance of being the first player taken in this summers MLB draft. The Springville AL native leads the NCAA in WHIP ( walks and hits per innings pitched) with a ridiculously-low 0.64. Mize has pitched 63 innings, allowing 37 hits, walking only FOUR and striking out 86.
Auburn is 26-12 overall and 6-9 in the SEC after taking two-of-three from Mississippi State last weekend. The Tigers enter the weekend with a team average of .270 and ERA of 3.96. In the SEC those numbers are much worse, with a .199 team batting average and a 4.25 ERA. The Tide is hitting .261 overall all with a 3.03 ERA. In conference play only the average drops to .232 and the ERA goes up to only 3.09.
The Tide will need to continue to get great pitching and will need to play flawless defense to take the series. The bats need to wake up too, but Mize is on a different level than anyone the team has seen this year. Daniel Davis and Tanner Burns are likely the game two and three starters for the Tigers. The Tide will continue with Sam Finnerty, Jake Walters, and Garret Rukes.
The Friday game is scheduled for 6 p.m. on SEC Network Plus, while Saturday nights 7 p.m tilt will be on the SEC Network. The finale is set for Sunday at 1 p.m and once again will be on SEC Network Plus.
‘Bama Baseball Fever, Catch it
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