The Crimson Tide baseball team continues to beat up on in state teams, improving to 11-1 against teams from the Yellow Hammer State by defeating Jacksonville State 6-3 on Wednesday night. Alabama swept the two game season series after beating JSU in Tuscaloosa back in February. The Tide is 21-3 in out of conference games, and 4-14 in the SEC for an overall record of 25-17.
Tyler Ras got the rare double start for Bama on Wednesday, as the starting pitcher as well as the DH in the game. Ras pitched two scoreless innings, allowing one hit, with no walk, one strikeout, and no runs allowed. Wil Freeman relieved in the third and allowed a run on a double, sacrifice bunt, and ground out to shortstop to give the Gamecocks an early 1-0 lead. The Tide evened the score in the fourth when Drew Williamson walked and scored on a double by Brett Auerbach.
The ‘Cocks scored twice off of Connor Shamblin in the fourth on two hits, a hit batter, and an error. Tyler Gentry’s sacrifice fly in the fifth scored Keith Holcombe, who had singled to cut into the lead. The Tide evened the score in the sixth when Kolby Robinson singled in Auerbach, who had walked, advanced to second on a passed ball, then stole third base.
Kyle Cameron followed Shamblin to the mound to begin the fifth, and was the star of the game. The redshirt junior from Tuscaloosa pitched four perfect innings, 12 up and 12 down, with six strikeouts in his longest outing, and most strikeouts of his career.
The Gamecock relievers kept the Tide at bay until the ninth when they broke through with three runs. Robinson started the rally with a walk before Walker McClenney came on to pinch hit to try to bunt him over. Christian Edwards couldn't find the strike zone and walked McCleney on four pitches. Holcombe was called on to sacrifice the runners over, and did so by laying down a perfect bunt with two strikes. A wild pitch brought Robinson home to give the Tide a 4-3 lead. T.J. Reeves delivered an insurance run with a sharp single, then stole second base. Morgan McCullough singled to put runners on first and third. Gentry hit a ball back to the pitcher, who threw the ball into centerfield trying to get an inning ending double play, allowing Reeves to score for a 6-3 lead.
With a three run lead heading to the bottom of the ninth, coach Brad Bohannon called on closer Jeremy Randolph. The grad transfer from Wright State earned his seventh save of the year, allowing only one harmless single and getting a strikeout to end the game.
Cameron was the winning pitcher, improving his record to 3-0 on the season. The tall right hander was electric, and the Gamecock batters didn't have a chance against him. The Tide finished with eight hits, drew eight walks, stuck out eight times, stranded eight runners on base, and took advantage of four JSU errors. Bama pitchers combined to hold the home team to five hits while striking out nine and not walking a single batter. The ‘Cocks stranded four runners on base.
Auerbach led the offense by reaching base in all four plate appearances, with a double, single, two walks, and adding a run scored and a run driven in. Reeves finish 2-4 with one walk, one RBI, and one runs scored. McCullough was the only other multi hit player with a 2-5 game. Gentry drove in two runs with a sacrifice fly and a fielder’s choice.
The win was much needed for the Tide after being swept by Vanderbilt this past weekend. Despite the conference record, anyone who has been watching closely and paying attention knows the team is headed in the right direction. A non-conference record of 21-3 is a huge improvement, and beating the in-state teams is important. The Tide is battling teams in SEC play, but are still a recruiting class or two away from being on even footing with their rivals. After finishing last season with a 27-29 record, the team is two wins away from matching the victory total. The schedule doesn't get any easier, with LSU, Auburn, Texas A&M, and Georgia left on the conference slate the wins will not come easy. The only two midweek games left are a visit to Troy and a home game with Samford. With only four SEC wins, the Tide will have a tough time beating last seasons eight conference victories.
Bama Midweek Games
- Mon, Feb 18 vs Jacksonville St W 13 - 2
- Wed, Feb 20 vs Alabama State Postponed
- Tue, Feb 26 vs North Alabama W 8 - 0
- Wed, Feb 27 vs North Alabama W 4 - 1
- Tue, Mar 5 vs UAB W 4 - 3
- Wed, Mar 6 vs South Dakota St W 5 - 4
- Tue, Mar 12 vs Middle Tenn W 2 - 0
- Tue, Mar 19 vs Maine W 16 - 0
- Tue, Mar 26 vs Auburn W 6 - 3
- Tue, Apr 2 vs Troy L 4 - 8
- Tue, Apr 9 @ Samford W 21 - 2
- Tue, Apr 16 @ UAB W 3 - 2
- Wed, Apr 24 @ Jacksonville St W 6 - 3
LSU visits this weekend for a three game series on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The games are scheduled for 6 p.m., 2 p.m., and 1 p.m. All will be available on the SEC Network Plus, watch ESPN App.
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