The Crimson Tide baseball team swept a tough Wright State squad this weekend, winning a single game on Friday night and a doubleheader on Saturday. Game three was scheduled for Sunday but was moved to Saturday because of expected bad weather on Sunday. The Tide won 8-4 on Friday night and took the double dip by scores of 8-7 in 11 innings and 1-0 in a seven inning, get-away tilt. Coach Brad Bohannon improved to 34-2 in February contests since his arrival in Tuscaloosa.
Game One: Won 8-4
With All-American pitcher Connor Prielipp out with a “minor medical condition” and coming off of two midweek games, the Tide pitching was going to be stretched thin. Tyler Ras received the start in Prieilipp’s stead and gave Alabama just what they needed, a strong outing deep into the game. The Tide went ahead early when Peyton Wilson led off the bottom half of the first inning with an opposite field home run to left, his second lead off bomb of the week, and his third long ball overall.
Ras gave up his only hit, and only run, in the top of the second on a solo home run by Alex Alders. The Tide bounced back in the bottom half to score twice. The red hot Zane Denton singled, followed by an RBI double from William Hamiter. Caden Rose scored Hamiter with an RBI ground out and a 3-1 lead after two. In the fourth, Bama got solo home runs off the bats of Denton and T.J. Reeves, and a bases loaded RBI walk to Drew Williamson to push the margin to 5-1. Rose doubled home Hamiter in the fifth and the Tide looked like they would coast home with an easy win with their 7-1 lead.
Ras finished his six inning stint allowing only the one hit and run, while walking two and striking out five. Freshman left hander Grayson Hitt relieved in the seventh and immediately found trouble. Hitt hit the first batter he faced, then with one out gave up back to back singles - the second of which hit off his forearm and forced him from the game. Brock Guffey replaced Hitt and after a sacrifice fly, a single, and a error the Raiders had cut the lead to 8-4.
The Tide got one of the runs back in the bottom of the seventh when Hamiter doubled and later scored on a sac fly from Rose. Guffey finished the game off allowing three hits over the last two innings and striking out four. Ras got the victory to move to 1-0 on the season. The three Tide home runs led an offense that finished with 12 hits, walked four times, struck out six times, and left 10 runners on base. WSU had six hits, walked four times, struck out 11 times, and left nine on base.
Game Two: Won 8-7 in 11 innings
Antoine Jean started game one on Saturday and was cruising along pretty well until his defense let him down in the fourth. The Tide once again took an early lead after the first three batters walked and a ground out from Sam Praytor plated one run and a single from Zane Denton scored another. Bama added two more in the third when William Hamiter singled to scored two runs. With a 4-0 lead Jean ran into trouble in the fourth when two walks, two errors, and a single led to three Wright State runs. The Raiders took the lead in the fifth on three hits and a sac fly. Jean was replaced after 4.2 innings by Jacob McNairy, who ended the inning with a fly out.
Alabama tied it in the fifth when Praytor walked and game around to score on a Denton single and a wild pitch. WSU took advantage of another Tide miscue to score two more unearned runs in the sixth to take a 7-5 lead. WSU held that lead until the bottom of the 8th when the Tide struck back. Hamiter walked to lead off the inning, and moved to third on a one out double by Jim Jarvis. Peyton Wilson then lined a clutch two run single to tie the game at 7 apiece.
McNairy kept the Raider at bay through the ninth inning. Bama had a chance to win it in the bottom for the ninth after a lead off single by Praytor. Caden Rose pinch ran for Praytor and was cut down trying to steal. The Tide got two walks after that but could not push the winning runs across. Alabama closer Chase Lee took over in the 10th and had two uneventful innings, leading to the Tide scoring in the bottom of the 11th to win the game. Drew Williamson led off with a walk and advanced all the way to third after Denton was hit by a pitch and Davis Heller walked. Needing only to get one run in with one out, Hamiter banged one off the wall to score Williamson with the winning run and a thrilling 8-7 victory.
The Tide had nine hits, walked 11 times, struck out 10 times and left 13 on base. The Raiders had 10 hits, walked four times, struck out 13 times, and left eight on base. Lee was the winning pitcher, pushing his record to 2-0 on the year.
Game Three: Won 1-0, 7 innings
A classic pitching duel took place between Alabama’s Dylan Smith and Jake Schrand from Wright State. Hits and runs were at a minimum in the crisp, quickly played game. Smith walked a batter in each of the first two innings but was never in trouble. The Tide got their first two batters on in the first on a Peyton Wilson single and Owen Diodati reaching on catcher’s interference, but Schrand put down the next three hitters to squelch the rally.
The Tide thought they scored in the second when Caden Rose and Jim Jarvis both singled and seemed to have scored on a double by Wilson down the left field line. Originally called fair by the third base umpire, Wright State asked for a review, and the call was overturned.
After that neither pitcher was threatened. Smith walked a batter with two outs in the sixth and was replaced by Landon Green. Green picked the runner off of first to end the inning. In the bottom of the sixth, the Tide got the only run of the game when Drew Williamson walked and raced around to score on a double by Sam Praytor. Green allowed a single in the seventh, but struck out the side for the Tide sweep.
The Tide had five hits, one walk, 10 strikeouts, and left seven on base. The Raiders had two hits, three walks, 10 strikeouts, and four left on base. Smith went 5.2 scoreless innings allowing one hit with three walks and seven strikeouts. Green was the victor, he is now 2-0, and allowed one hit in his 1.1 innings of work and struck out three.
Who Did What ?
- Zane Denton: 5-12, home run, three runs, two RBI, BB, HBP
- Peyton Wilson: 4-13, home run, three RBI, stolen base, two runs
- William Hamiter: 4-11, two doubles, four RBI, four runs, HBP
- Sam Praytor: 3-11, home run, two RBI, double, run
- Jim Jarvis: 3-7, double, BB, HBP,
- Caden Rose: 3-6, double, three RBI, sac fly
- Tyler Ras: W, 6 IP 1 H 2 BB 5 K 1 run
- Dylan Smith: 5.2 IP 1 H 3 BB 7 K
- Landon Green: W, 1.1 IP 1 H 0 BB 3 K
- Chase Lee: W, 2 IP 2 H 0 BB 4 K
Alabama hit .273 in the series, 26-95 and walked 16 times while striking out 26 times. The defense was shaky at best and the middle relief had a couple of let downs, but overall this was a good sweep against a team that will challenge for an NCAA Regional. The Raiders won-loss record is now 0-5, but the first two losses were against top five Vanderbilt. WSU is an older team with several players 22-24 years old that have a ton of experience. Their pitching showed several strong arms and the offense should be a powerful one going forward, particularly when they reach conference play.
To be 7-1 at this point is outstanding for the Tide while battling youth and injuries. Twenty-one of the Bama players are either first or second year freshman and they are learning the ways of college baseball. Hopefully by the time SEC play begins, the team will be healthy and will have faced enough good competition to ready them for the grind of the conference.
The Tide has midweek games at Birmingham U on Tuesday night and home with Troy on Wednesday at 3 p.m before traveling to Charleston to play the College of Charleston on March 5-7th.
Bama Baseball Fever, Catch It