The Crimson Tide went on the road for the first time in the young season and came away with a 5-2 victory over the Jacksonville State Gamecocks on Tuesday night. Alabama improved to 4-0 while JSU fell to 1-3. Coach Brad Bohannon is now 31-2 in the month of February in his Alabama career.
The Tide used the long ball again to help snare the win. Switch hitting Peyton Wilson, batting left-handed, shot an opposite field home run over the left field fence to lead off the game for Bama. The next two batters, Owen Diodati and Drew Williamson both reached base via walk and hit by pitch, but were stranded. Senior Will Freeman got the start on the mound for the Tide. Alabama now has nine home runs in the first four games of the season with Wilson, Diodati, Sam Praytor, and Zane Denton having two each and Williamson has one.
The Gamecocks touched Freeman for a run in the bottom of the second on a single by Tuscaloosa native Cameron Crowe, followed by an RBI double from Isaac Alexander. Freeman pitched four impressive innings, allowing four hits, no walks, just the one run, and striking out five.
Alabama took the lead for good in the top of the fifth on a two out, two strike, two run home run from Praytor. Diodati scored in front of Praytor’s second long ball of the season. Landon Green followed Freeman, entering in the fifth and allowing a two out solo homer run to Tre Kirklin to close the gap to 3-2.
The Tide added insurance in the top of the seventh when William Hamiter stroked a two run single with the bases loaded to score Diodati, who had singled, and Williamson, who had walked. Green put two runners on in the bottom of the seventh with a hit batter and walk. Bohannon called on closer Chase Lee with two outs and two strikes on the batter at the plate, Cole Fredrick. Lee finished him off with a one pitch strikeout and then struck out Kirklin to close the inning.
Lee ran into trouble of his own doing in the 8th when he walked two batters, but got two strikeouts and a fielders’ choice ground out to take the game to the ninth. The Tide could not add to their lead in the ninth and it came down to Lee needing three outs to secure the victory. The side winding righty made it interesting by walking the first two batters of the frame, but got a double play on a line drive to Wilson at second base and a strikeout to end the game.
Alabama finished with six hits, walked eight times, struck out nine times, left eight runners on base, and committed one error. JSU had five hits, walked six times, struck out 12 times, and left nine runners on base. Green earned the victory and Lee notched his first save of the year.
The first six batters in the Tide’s order got all the hits, one each. Praytor and Hamiter drove in two apiece and Wilson drove in one. Bama’s pitching was solid, with a good start from Freeman, but Green and Lee walked six batters between them in five innings, more than Bohannon and pitching coach Jason Jackson want to see. Green threw 40 pitches and Lee 41, more than they will typically throw in a game. With four more games this week, one on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, the teams pitching depth will be tested.
The Tide takes on UT-Martin today (Wednesday, February 24th) at 3 p.m. CT. Third year sophomore Connor Shamblin will start on the mound for Bama. The game will be available on SEC Network Plus and local radio.
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