The Alabama baseball team took to the road for the first time this season and swept the UNLV Rebels in a three game series this weekend. The Tide won both games of a Friday double header by scores of 8-0 and 5-4, followed by a day off and a 5-1 victory on Sunday morning. Coach Brad Bohannon’s team improved to 7-0 on the season, while UNLV fell to 1-6.
Dinger 1 and Dinger 2, @AlabamaBSB’s Sam Praytor goes 3-3 with 2 home runs and was intentionally walked in his last at bat. Controlled violence that works through the middle of the field, kid can hit. Alabama takes game one 8-0.@PGCollegeBall— Perfect Game Scout (@PG_Scouting) February 22, 2020
Game One: Won 8-0
With rain expected in Las Vegas on Saturday, the schedule was altered to play a 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. double header on Friday and a single game at 10 a.m. on Sunday. For game one the Tide sent out their outstanding freshman left hander, Connor Prielipp, to pitch. With UNLV pitching coach Greg Maddux, who you may have heard of, looking on, the Wisconsin native didn’t disappoint. Prielipp won for the second straight week, improving to 2-0, and maintaining a 0.00 ERA.
The Tide got the only run they would need in the top of the second when Sam Praytor smashed his first home run of the season (and of the game) over the left field wall. Bama added to the lead in the second when TJ Reeves slapped an RBI single, and scooted around the bases to score himself when the right fielder booted the ball around. Kolby Robinson doubled to lead off the top of the fifth and later scored on an sac fly by Brett Auerbach.
Meanwhile Prielipp was making quick work of the Rebels, retiring the first 14 batters he faced before issuing a two out walk in the fifth. Prielipp stopped that “rally” before it happened by striking out Austin Kryszczuk to end the inning, and his outing for the day. Prielipp allowed no hits, one walk, and had eight strikeouts in his five inning of work.
Praytor added another “Praytor Tater” in the sixth to build the lead to 5-0. Tyler Ras took over on the mound for the Tide in the sixth and went the next three innings, allowing five hits with no walks and one strike out.
Bama poured three more runs across the plate in the top of the eighth on Auerbach’s second home run of the season, and sacrifice flies from a pair of freshman, Owen Diodati, and Zane Denton. Ryan O’Connell pitched the ninth for the Tide, and despite allowing three hits, kept the shutout in tact by striking out two and inducing a game ending pop up.
The Tide finished with nine hits in 34 at bats, walked once, struck out eight times, and left only three runners on base. UNLV was 8-35 with one walk, 11 strikeouts, and nine runners left on base. Praytor finished 3-3, adding a single to his two home runs, with a walk, two runs scored, and two driven in. Reeves and Robinson were the only other players with multiple hits, garnering two each.
Game Two: Won 5-4
Sophomore Connor Shamblin was the game two starter for the second straight week. His teammates staked him to an early 1-0 lead when Auerbach led off the game with a double, and scored on sac fly by Praytor. An error, followed by a sac bunt and a single tied things up for the Rebels in the bottom of the first.
The Tide retook the lead, 2-1, in the second when Robinson doubled in Jackson Tate after Tate reached on a fielders choice. In the third Auerbach walked, stole a base, and scored on a Gentry double. UNLV used three singles to score two runs in the third to tie the game up. The Rebels used a walk and a double in the fourth to take the lead at 4-3.
Casey Cobb relieved Shamblin to start the sixth, and threw two scoreless innings while allowing three hits with one walk and four strikeouts. The Tide evened the score in the top of the eighth on a walk by Reeves, followed by a Gentry single and a wild pitch to advance the runners. With one out Praytor knocked in Reeves with a ground out to short stop.
Brock Guffey came out of the pen in the eighth for the Tide, and made quick work of the Rebels, sending the game to the ninth with a tie score of 4-4. Jackson Tate took on the role of hero when he lined a 2-0 pitch over the right field fence for his second home run of the season. With a ninth inning lead, Bohannon called on The Viper, Chase Lee, to close out he game. Lee did not disappoint, striking out one and getting two weak ground balls to earn his second game of the year, Guffey was the winning pitcher, his first of the season.
Alabama finished 10-33 with three walks, nine strikeouts, and six runners left on base. UNLV was 10-35 with two walks, 10 strikeouts, and seven runners left on base. Tate was the hero with us game winning home run, but Gentry finished with three hits and two runs driven in. Robinson and Drew Williamson both finished with two hits, and a double apiece.
Game Three: Won 5-1
A day off in Vegas for 35 college students, on a Saturday, at the MGM Grand, with the biggest heavy weight fight in decades on the premises, what could go wrong? Actually , nothing. When you treat young men like young men, with a degree of trust, recruit good players, and good people, as Bohannon has, good things happen. The players and staff pulled the day off without incident, the “kids” got to have some fun, and the sweep was procured by a score of 5-1 on Sunday.
The Tide jumped out ahead in the first after Reeves singled and scored ahead of Gentry’s massive home run to left, the sluggers first of the season, but not his last of the game. Freshman Antoine Jean drew the starting assignment on the mound for the second weekend in a row. Jean tossed up zeros in the first and second, before being touched for a run in the third on back to back doubles.
The Tide added two runs in the fifth when Auerbach doubled, and jogged home on Gentry’s second no doubt shot over the left field wall. Jean finished with four innings pitched, allowing five hits, with one walk, and three strikeouts. Jacob McNairy relieved in the fifth and pitched four scoreless with allowing two hits with no walks.
Praytor jacked his third home run of the weekend with two out in the eighth to stretch the lead to 5-1. Landon Green was called in to pitch the ninth, and after a lead off walk, and a stern talking to by his childhood teammate Praytor, struck out the next three batters to end the game. The Tide finished 7-33 with three home runs, three walks, six strikeouts, and stranded four runners. The Rebels were also 7-33, drew two walks, struck out six times, and left eight runners on base.
Gentry led the way with a 2-4 day with two Hines runs and four runs driven in. Auerbach was 2-3 with a double, a walk, two stolen bases, and a run scored. Jean was credited with the win, running his record to 2-0.
Who did what?
- Tyler Gentry: 6-12, two home runs, six RBI, double, three runs scored
- Sam Praytor: 4-9, 3 HR, double, BB, 3 runs scored, 5 RBI
- Brett Auerbach: 5-10, home run, two doubles, four stolen bases, sac, Sac fly, five runs
- Kolby Robinson: 5-12, two doubles, RBI, run, stolen base.
- Connor Prielipp: Win, 5 IP, 0 H, 1 BB, 8 K
Overall a great weekend for the Tide. A sweep is always great, even against a team that is truthfully not very good. For the young players, which there are many, to get a road trip under their belts, with all the distractions that Vegas brings, but especially on this weekend with the fight, NASCAR, Democratic debate, and President Trump in and out of town all weekend, and still to get three wins was fantastic.
To start 7-0 is a great, and there should be some more opportunities to stack some wins this coming week. All position battles haven’t been settled, and the pitching rotation is still being looked at, but the play has been outstanding thus far. All three aspects are preforming well with the offense hitting an even .300 with 12 home runs and 16 doubles. The pitching staff has a 1.29 ERA in 63 innings pitched. The defense has only committed two errors and carry a .992 fielding percentage.
Five games at home, Tuesday at 3 p.m. with UT Martin and Wednesday at 3 p.m. with Middle Tennessee. Senior William Freeman is set to pitch Tuesday’s game. Over the weekend the Tide will welcome Harvard for a three game series.
Roll Tide Bama Baseball Fever, Catch it
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