The Crimson Tide baseball team improved to 4-0 on the young season by defeating Alabama State 10-3 on Wednesday afternoon. The Tide was suppose to have played Troy on Tuesday, but that game was washed out by Mother Nature.
The Tide used eight hits, six walks, three hit batters, and solid pitching and defense to defeat the Hornets. Senior William Freeman was scheduled to start against Troy on Tuesday, but after the rainout was given the ball for the Wednesday game.
Freeman allowed two base runners in the first on a hit batter in a single, but stranded both runners. The Tide scored all the runs they would need in the bottom of the first. Brett Auerbach led off with a walk, then stole second base. Drew Williamson then drew a walk, and a double from Tyler Gentry chased both runners home for quick 2-0 lead. Owen Diodati continued his hot hitting with a single, before Gentry scored on a wild pitch, and Diodati came home on an RBI ground out by Zane Denton.
The Hornets touched Freeman for a run in the second after a walk, a stolen base, a wild pitch, and another single. Freeman bounced back to record three strikeouts in the inning. The Tide added two runs in the third when Diodati singled to drive a run in, followed by another RBI from Denton, this time on a sacrifice fly.
Freeman was relieved by eventual winning pitcher Dylan Smith in the top of the fourth. Freeman finished with three innings pitched, allowed three hits, walked none, struck out five, and allowed on run (earned). Smith allowed one hit with one walk and two strikeouts in his two scoreless frames.
The Tide then went four innings without scoring, until an explosion in the bottom of the eighth. Denton led off the eighth with a double, followed by the first hit of Myles Austin’s career, a run scoring double. Jim Jarvis was hit by a pitch, but was forced out at second on what should have been a sacrifice fly for Peyton Wilson. However, the right fielder dropped the ball, and threw Jarvis out at second as Austin scored. Jackson Tate, who had replaced Auerbach in center field in the sixth inning, blasted a long home run for his first career long ball in Crimson, ending the scoring at 10-3 for the home team.
Kyle Cameron pitched the 6th and 7th, Landon Green the 8th, and Garret Rukes the ninth to finish the game out for the Tide. A seventh inning two-run homer from AJ Gardner was the only damage against the trio. Denton and Diodati both had two hits for the Tide, while Gentry, Denton, and Tate drove in two runs each.
‘Bama finished 8-of-29 on the day with six walks, three strikeouts, and stranded five runners. The Hornets collected six hits, drew three walks, struck out 11 times, and also left five on base.
Overall, it was a good midweek win for the Tide. Catcher Sam Praytor and shortstop Kolby Robinson had the day off. Coach Brad Bohannon instead played an interesting mix of upperclassmen and younger guys — five freshman, two seniors, two sophomores, and a junior got the call for the game, and eighteen players saw action.
The Tide now travels to Las Vegas to play a three-game series with UNLV this weekend. Game one is Friday at 8:05 p.m CT, followed by a Saturday game at 4:05 p.m CT, and a Sunday 12:05 p.m. CT first pitch. Games are available on the UNLV YouTube channel. The team will be staying at the MGM Grand, the site of Saturday nights Wilder-Fury fight. (I will be staying there as well, and will also attend the fight, my sixth Wilder Championship bout so far.)
Roll Tide, Bama Baseball Fever, Catch It
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