The Crimson Tide entered the weekend struggling, having lost nine of their last 10 games. Brad Bohannon’s squad cinched up their britches and swept the Texas A&M Aggies in a three game series, by scores of 5-3, 6-3, and 7-4. The Tide improved to 19-12 overall and 5-7 in the SEC. TAM fell to 19-15, 3-9 in league play. Bama used great pitching, timely hitting, and outstanding defense to earn their first SEC sweep since 2017 at Auburn.
Game One, Won 5-3
Tyler Ras continues to take the Friday slot normal filled by Connor Prielipp, and earned his team leading fifth victory of the season. Ras could not have had a more auspicious start, allowing a double and a two run home run to the first two batters he faced. Ras settled in thereafter and pitched a career high 7.1 innings.
The Tide tied things up in the second when Owen Diodati led off the inning with a single, Caden Rose was hit by a pitch, and both advanced on a sac bunt by Jim Jarvis. The red hot Peyton Wilson lined a single to score both runners and tie the game at 2-2. Bama took the lead in the 6th after Sam Praytor singled and later scored on a single by Diodati. The Tide added a run in the 7th on a double by Jarvis, a single by Wilson, and a sac fly RBI from Zane Denton.
Ras retired the first man in the top of the 8th, but Will Frizzell launched his second home run of the game to cut the lead to 4-3. The long ball brought Chase Lee into the game to shut the door. Bama added an insurance run in the top of the 9th when Wilson singled, again, advanced on a sac bunt by William Hamiter, went to third on a fly ball from Denton, and scooted home on passed ball.
Manned with a two run lead, Lee made things interesting in the 9th when he allowed a lead off double and a one out walk to put the winning run at the plate. A ground ball that Wilson smothered to save a run and a pop out ended the game with the Tide 5-3 winners.
Ras improved to 5-1 allowing eight hits with one walk, four strikeouts, and three runs. Lee earned with third save. The Tide was 10-34 in the game with two walks, a hit batter, 10 strikeouts, and left eight on base. A&M was 10-35 with two walks, five strikeouts, and stranded seven runners. Wilson finished 4-5 with two runs driven in, and Diodati also had a three hit game with a run driven in.
Game Two, won 6-3
Dylan ““The Real Deal” Smith made a return to his home state to start for the Tide in Saturday’s game two. Smith, a Houston native, had over 40 friends and family in attendance at the game. Smith has been outstanding all year, but has not received much run support when he has pitched.
The Tide remedied that in the third, scoring four times. Jim Jarvis led off the inning being hit by a pitch, followed by walks to Peyton Wilson and William Hamiter. Zane Denton singled ina run, followed by a sac fly from Sam Praytor, and RBI singles from TJ Reeves and Drew Williamson. Bama added a fourth run in the fourth when Wilson doubled and scored on a Denton single.
Smith was cruised through the first three innings, allowing only three singles, and striking out six. However he ran into trouble in the 4th, allowing three runs in three hits, a walk, and the only error the Tide committed all weekend. In the fifth Smith allowed back to back singles to start the inning. After getting a ground ball for force out, he was replaced by Connor Shamblin on the mound. Denton and Praytor combined a great play to cut the lead runner down at the plate, and a fly ball ended the inning with no Aggies crossing the plate.
The Tide scored the last run of the game In the sixth when Denton singled with two outs and scored on a double by Praytor. Shamblin walked three in the bottom of the sixth, but used two strikeouts and a ground ball to stand the runners. Landon took over in the 7th and slammed the door on the Aggies, allowing one hit, walking two, and striking out three to earn his first save, as the Tide win 6-3.Shamblin improved to 3-2 with the victory.
The Tide finished 10-35, reached by being hit four times, walked twice, struck out 11 times, and stranded seven runners. TAM was 9-35 with six walks, 12 strikeouts, and 10 runners left in base. Denton finished 3-5 with two RBI, two runs, and a stolen base. Reeves was 3-4, reached on a HBP, and drove in a run. Wilson was 1-3 with two runs, a double, a walk, and reached after being hit.
Game Three, won 7-4
Antoine Jean made his return to the rotation after missing the last two weeks with an injury. The Montreal native was on a strict pitch count and Coach Brad Bohannon wanted to get whatever he could out of his lefty, and had several arms left in the bullpen for the game.
Texas A&M used three singles to score a run in the bottom of the second. Bama bounced back half three in the third. After Jim Jarvis walked Peyton Wilson singled, and William Hamiter walked to load the bases. Zane Denton singled in Jarvis and Wilson. Sam Praytor crushed a ball to left that looked like at least a double, but Brett Minnich dove and made the catch, but Hamiter trotted home on the sac fly with the third run.
Jean ran into trouble in the third, allowing back to back one out singles. Having reached his limit, 41 pitches, Jean was replaced by Jacob McNairy. The first two batters her faced singled, and the third hit a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 3-3. The Tide retook the lead in the 6th when Owen Diodati walked and scored on a TJ Reeves double. Ty Coleman tied the game for TAM in the bottom half with a solo home run off of McNairy.
The top of the seventh was money time for the Tide. Wilson led off with a single, followed by fly outs from Hamiter and Denton. With Praytor at the plate, Wilson took off for second and was initially called out. After a review the call was corrected to extend the inning. Praytor was walked, bringing the Canadian Cannon, Diodati, to the plate. The big lefty blasted the second pitch he saw into the Bama bullpen for a three run home run, and a 7-4 lead.
Senior William Freeman replaced McNairy and threw two sharp innings, allowing only a double, and striking out three. Chase Lee was called in the close out the game in the ninth and got two strikeouts and a ground ball in 10 pitches to end the game. Lee has yet to allow a run this season.
The Tide was 10-35 in the game with five walks, six strikeouts, and six left on base. TAM finished 10-34 with zero walks, 10 strikeouts, and six stranded runners. Denton was 3-5 sixth two RBI and was joined with multiple hits by Wilson at 2-4 with a walk, two runs, and a stolen base, and Diodati with 2-3 with three RBI, a walk, and two runs. Reeves was the fourth man with multiple hits, 2-4 with a double and run driven in. McNairy moved to 1-0 with the victory and Lee earned with fourth save.
Alabama finished 30-103 for .291 average for the weekend, drew nine walks, got hit five times, struck out 27 times, and left 21 on base, The Aggies hit .278 on 29-104, walked eight times, struck out 28 times, and left 21 on base.
Who Did What?
*Peyton Wilson: 7-12, five runs, two RBI, two stolen bases, HBP, BB
*Zane Denton: 6-14, five RBI, sac fly, two runs, stolen base
*Owen Diodati: 5-11, four RBI, three runs, HBP, BB, stolen base, game winning home run
*TJ Reeves: 5-11, double, two RBI, HBP, BB
*Chase Lee: Two saves (4) , 2.2 IP, 1 BB, 2 H, 3 strikeouts
*Tyler Ras: W (5-1), 7.1 IP 8H 1BB, 4 K, 3 R
*Landon Green: Save (1), 3 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 3 K
*William Freeman: H 2 IP, 1 H, 3 K 0BB
*Jacob McNairy: W (1-0), 3.2 IP, 4 H, 3 K, 0 BB
What a much needed weekend for the Tide! A sweep in the SEC is hard to come by, especially on the road. After playing three top six team in the first three series it was a welcome relief to go against a team not in the top 10. The Tide played a great series in all aspects, offense, defense, and pitching. The team only had one error all weekend, and hit a robust .291 in the series. Bohannon has lamented the teams inability to score runs without home runs, but the did it this weekend. Diodati’s game winning blast was the only long ball the team hit all series. Patient, timely, hitting was a site for sore eyes. Clutch pitching out of the bullpen was much needed. Things are coming together at the right time for the team, and Bohannon hinted at a possible return of Connor Prielipp this coming weekend. If so that would be a huge boost as the Tide goes down the stretch in the SEC.
A home game with Samford on Tuesday, and a three game series with Auburn on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. The Tigers are in last place in the conference with a league record of 1-11. Tuesday game is at 6 p.m. and will be available on SEC Network Plus. The Barn series has a 6p.m. Thursday game on the SEC Network, with Fridays also at 6, and Saturday’s at 4. The last two will be on the SEC Network Plus.
Bama Baseball Fever, Catch it