One thing the Crimson Tide baseball team has not done much this year is get off to a fast start. They took care of that on Tuesday, sending nine men to the plate in the bottom of the first and scoring four runs on five hits and walk. Cobie Vance led off the inning with an eight pitch at-bat ending in a double, followed by a walk to Jeaux Breaux. Troy native Chandler Avant then drilled his third home run of the season over the left-center field fence for a quick 3-0 lead. After two were out Keith Holcombe and Sam Praytor singled, and Holcombe trotted home on another single by Jett Manning. The Tide would only collect three more hits the rest of the night, and did not score another run, but were able to hold on for the 4-3 victory.
Brock Love saw his first action on the mound since March 18th after complications from last season’s Tommy John surgery. Love was very sharp in facing only three men, striking out two of them, and tossing 12 pitches in his only inning of work. Love was followed by Mason Duke who allowed one run on two hits and a walk in his only inning of work.
Brock Guffey was the third of seven Tide hurlers on the night, and pitched two scoreless innings. Davis Vainer and Sam Gardner then threw a scoreless inning apiece. Dylan Duarte took over and had a scoreless seventh inning. When the first two batters in the eighth singled off of Duarte, and one scored on a wild pitch, and the third had a 2-0 count, Kyle Cameron was summoned from the bull pen. Cameron gave up a sacrifice fly to cut the lead to 4-3, but got a great play against the left field wall by Holcombe and a fly ball to Breaux in center field to thwart the rally.
Bama tried to add some insurance in the bottom of the eighth, getting a double from John Trousdale, but he was stranded. Cameron got two quick outs in the top of the ninth before giving up a single to ninth place hitter Manning Early. Lead off man Matt Sanders took one pitch for a strike and Praytor gunned a throw to Trousdale at first to pick Early off and end the game.
The Tide had eight hits, only three after the first inning, walked twice, struck out 10 times, and stranded five runners. The Trojans had six hits, walked five times, struck out seven times, and stranded six runners. Love (2-0) was awarded the win, while Cameron earned the first save of his career. Bama improved to 23-20 while Troy fell to 28-13.
Who Did What ?
Chandler Avant 2-4, home run, three RBI, run
Sam Praytor 2-3, picked runner off of first base to end game
Jett Manning 1-3, 1 RBI
Cobie Vance 1-4, double
John Trousdale 1-1, double
Keith Holcombe 1-4, run
It was good to get the Tuesday night monkey off of the teams back, and with 23 wins they are four ahead of last seasons total. As has been a problem all year, the team has one big inning, and then nothing else. Fortunately tonight the pitching staff was able to make the four run first stand up.
Whats Next ?
A road trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas to take on the seventh ranked Hogs. Arkansas may very well be the best team in the country. They have a team batting average of .308 with 63 home runs. The Razorbacks hit even better in SEC games, at .317. The pitching staff, led by the electric Blaine Knight (6-0, 2.24 ERA) have a team ERA of 3.41. The games will be played on Friday at 6:30 p.m., Saturday at 6 p.m., and Sunday at 1 p.m. (all CT) The games are available on SEC Network Plus, Watch ESPN App.
Roll Tide, Bama Baseball Fever, Catch It
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