The Alabama Crimson Tide improved to 23-11 on the season with a demolition of the Samford Bulldogs in Homewood on Tuesday night, 21-2. Eleven players had hits, and thirteen guys scored runs. Coach Brad Bohannon used every available position player and five pitchers in the win. The Tide blasted nine home runs in the game, giving the team 32 long balls on the year. Samford fell to 22-11.
Left-hander Garret Rukes was the starting pitcher, and had a 1-0 lead when he took the mound for the first time. Keith Holcombe, recently moved to the top of the order, led things off with a single and then scored on a single by Drew Williamson.
In the third, the Tide had a historic inning, sending 17 players to the plate — 10 straight reaching base at one point— and scored 13 runs. In the third, Alabama hit five home runs, three doubles, and a triple. Freshman T.J. Reeves had two absolute no-doubt round-trippers in the inning and a double, tying an NCAA record from 2011 and setting an Alabama and SEC school record. Holcombe lead off the explosive 3rd with a long opposite-field shot to the warning track in left field. Reeves followed with a blast over the centerfield fence, and the next two batters, Morgan McCullough and Tyler Gentry, both hit long home runs. Reeves came back around and smashed a three-run shot over the wall. At that point Reeves was the 10th straight Tide player to reach base. Four batters later, Brett Auerbach smacked his first home run of his Tide career, a three-run job.
Rukes finished his night with three innings pitched, allowing only one hit, with one walk and one strikeout. Jacob McNairy followed with two scoreless, one hit, innings with one strikeout. Dylan Smith, Conner Shamblin, and Dylan Oliver finished off the night for the Tide.
‘Bama added to the lead in the fifth with three runs, highlighted by back-to-back home runs from Gentry and Williamson. Williamson’s ball was hit so hard and so far the rightfielder never moved as it rocketed over everything in right field. The Tide’s longball production still wasn’t finished on the night. In the sixth Alabama added two more, including the first home run of Tyler Ras’ career, a two-run shot, and another two-run homer from catcher Johnny Hawk, giving the Tide nine home runs in the game.
Samford finally dented the scoreboard with one run in the sixth and one run in the ninth. Alabama finished with 19 hits, 13 for extra bases, with seven walks, two hit batters, 10 strikeouts, and eight runners left on base. The Bulldogs had seven hits, walked four times, struck out seven times, and stranded eight runners on base.
Who Did What?
- T.J. Reeves- tied an NCAA record with two home runs in an inning. 2-4, two home runs, four RBI, two runs
- Tyler Gentry 3-4, two home runs, double, two RBI, three runs
- Drew Williamson 3-3, walk, triple, home run, three runs, two RBI
- Brett Auerbach 2-5, home run, four RBI,
- Keith Holcombe 2-3, two runs, BB, two runs
- Garret Rukes W 2-0, 3 IP 1 H 1 BB 1 K
- Conner Shamblin 2 IP 1 H 1 BB 4 K
The 11 hits in an inning set a new Alabama record for an inning. So too were the Tide’s five home runs in the frame. The Reeves-McCullough-Gentry back-to-back-to-back homers was the first Alabama had done so in over a decade (Auburn, 2008).
The nine straight hits set record for consecutive hits in an inning. The 13-run inning were the most by the Tide in 20 years (La. Tech, 1999.) Alabama’s 31 total bases in a game was a new program record, and the most in 20 years, easily shattering the 23 Alabama tallied against Niagara in 1999. The 21 runs scored by the Tide was the most since a 25-1 win over Ilinois-Chicage in 2010.
The Bulldogs are not a bad team at all. In fact, their skipper, Casey Dunn, alongside ECU’s Cliff Godwin, was on the shortlist for the Tide vacancy back in 2016. Samford has had a good season, and they do have a good chance to win the conference. Perhaps more importantly, the Tide improved to 9-1 in midweek games, and 9-1 versus teams from the state. In a rugged SEC, with a rebuilding program down its best position player, picking up these midweek wins may prove to make the difference in whether the Tide make regional play in Coach Bo’s second season.
A road trip to Starkville to take on the nation’s No. 2 team, the Mississippi State Bulldogs. The games are scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Friday, 3 p.m. on Saturday, and 3 p.m. on Sunday. The first two games will be on SEC Network Plus, and the Sunday game is a SEC Network game. Sam Finnerty and Brock Love will pitch on Friday and Saturday, respectively, and the Sunday starter will be announced later.
Bama Baseball Fever, Catch It
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