Alabama got good pitching from three seldom-used arms and a sparkling all-around game from Caden Rose to defeat Birmingham by a score of 9-3 on Tuesday night. Bama improved to 25-15, on the year while the Blazers fell to 13-28.
Freshman right-hander Jake Eddington started for the first time and pitched three solid innings and earned his first career victory. Eddington allowed two runs on five hits, did not walk a batter and struck out four. Freshman Eli Giles followed him and pitched the three best innings of his young career, allowing four hits, one run, walking none and striking out two. Hunter Ruth earned his first save in Crimson pitching the final three innings while allowing two singles, also with no walks, and had four strikeouts.
The Tide scored in the top of the first when William Hamiter doubled with one out and scored on a single by Zane Denton. The Blazers tied it in the bottom half. Chandler Simpson led off with a single, stole second, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored on a sacrifice fly from Jess Davis. Bama tallied twice in the second. Drew Williamson led off with a single and advanced on a wild pitch. Freshman centerfielder Rose than laced a double down the left field line to score Williamson. Rose advanced on a fly out from Jim Jarvis and scooted home on an RBI ground out by Bryce Eblin. The Blazers got one back in the bottom of the second. Ian Ladner singled and scored on a triple by Darryl Buggs. In the third Denton doubled and later scored on a sacrifice fly from Sam Praytor.
Rose lined a ball over the left field fence in the fourth for his fourth home run of the season and a 5-2 lead. The Tide next scored in the sixth after Williamson just missed a home run and settled for a double. A wild pitch advanced him to third and a Jarvis ground out scored him. In the bottom of the sixth Giles allowed a lead off single on a bad hop over Williamson’s head at first base. follow by a run scoring double from Zack Davis. Eblin, Williamson, and Praytor then combined on an unusual 6-3-2 double play. On a ground ball to Eblin at short the runner on third was late breaking and Williamson had time to fire the ball from first to Praytor behind the plate for the twin killing. Giles struck out the next batter to end the inning.
Ruth came in to pitch in the seventh and made quick work of Birmingham with a ground ball and two strikeouts. The Tide broke the game wide open in the top of the eighth. Rose singled for his third hit of the game, followed by a single from Jarvis and run scoring single from Eblin. Peyton Wilson got his only hit of the game, a drive that just missing leaving the park but turned into an RBI double. Hamiter drove in Eblin with a ground out to end the Tides scoring. Ruth was back for the eighth and struck out the first batter, however the ball was swung at in the dirt and Praytor had to make a throw to first to record the out. The throw sailed on Praytor over Williamson’s head and Simpson made it all the way to third base with no outs. Jess Davis then hit a fly ball to center field that Rose made the catch and then uncorked a perfect throw on the fly to Praytor who tagged out the diving Simpson hard in the chest/shoulder area. Simpson was laid out for a couple of minutes then called out. Ruth allowed two singles with one out in the ninth but got a ground out and a strikeout out to end the game with a score of 9-3.
The Tide finished 12-38, walked one time, had two hit batters, four strikeouts, and left six on base. The Blazers were 11-34, had no walks, struck out 10 times, and left five on base. Rose led the way with his 3-4 night with a home run, double, three runs scored, and two driven in. Denton and Williamson both had two hits, while Eblin drove in two. Eddington is now 1-0 on the season and Ruth had his first save.
A good bounce-back win by the Tide over a bad Birmingham team. The young pitchers did their job and allowed their veteran staffmates to have the day off. For the third time in the last four games the pitching staff did not walk a batter. Rose was spectacular in both facets of the game. The throw to the plate was beautiful and his three hits were all hit on the nose. Eblin reached base a couple of times as well as driving in two while playing flawless defense at shortstop. With Eblin getting a spot start, regular shortstop Jarvis moved to second and Wilson played left field for the first time this season. Praytor and Williamson were the only players in the game that were on the team in 2019, so a lot of young guys played and played very well.
Missouri and their 5-13 conference record will be in Tuscaloosa for three games this weekend. Friday’s first pitch is at 6 p.m. and can be seen on SEC Network Plus. Saturday the game starts at 2 p.m. and will also be on SEC N Plus, while Sunday’s is set for 11 a.m. and will be on the regular SEC Network.
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