Coach Brad Bohannon and his Crimson Tide baseball team started the season off on a positive note by sweeping Xavier this weekend. Bama won game one in walk off fashion by a score of 5-4, took the second game by an identical score and finished off the Musketeers by a score of 9-4 on Sunday.
Game One: won 5-4
Junior Garrett McMillian got the opening day start on the mound for the Tide. The Hillcrest and Shelton State alum said pitching for his hometown team was a dream come true. McMillian was greeted rudely when the first pitch he threw was driven out of the park by Xavier first baseman Luke Franzoni. XU added another run in the second after a two out walk and a RBI double by Jack Housinger.
The Tide finally got on the board in the bottom of the fourth when junior catcher Dominic Tamez blasted a solo home run on top of the playground area in left field. McMillian shut down the Musketeers in the fourth and fifth innings but gave up a two run home run to Housinger to put Bama behind 4-1. Xavier pitchers Trevor Olson and Luke Bell were handling the Tide batters with ease, combining for eight innings of three hit ball with two walks and five strikeouts.
Jacob McNairy followed McMillian and gave the Tide a shutout inning to keep things within reach. Fifth year senior lefty Brock Guffey handled the eighth and ninth with ease, striking out three and not allowing a base runner to set up the Tide’s bottom of the ninth heroics. Xavier brought in their closer Lane Flamm to finish the Tide off. Those plans went awry quickly.
Tamez led off the inning with his second home run of the game. Zane Denton followed with a double and William Hamiter lined another double to score Denton. That brought the Canadian Cannon, Owen Diodati to the plate as the winning run. Diodati wasted no time, blasting the first pitch he saw for a game winning two run home run into the right field plaza. The blast was measured at 411 feet with an exit velo of 103 miles per hour and a launch angle of 32 degrees. The shot gave Bama the win 5-4.
The Tide finished 7-29 with three walks, five strikeouts, and three men left on base. Xavier was 6-32 with two walks, 10 strikeouts, and three left on base. Tamez finished 2-4 with his two home runs, two RBI, and two runs scored. Hamiter was 2-4 with a double and run driven in. Diodati made maximum use of his only hit, driving in two. Guffey was the winning pitcher.
Game Two: won 5-4
Game two finished with the same score, but came about in a much different way. The Tide built an early lead and bumbled and stumbled to the finish line but held on to win. Junior left hander Antoine Jean from Montreal, Quebec got the start on the mound for Bama. This time the Musketeers waited until the second batter of the game to hit a home run. Jack Housinger took Jean deep over the left field fence for the quick 1-0 lead. Jean then loaded the bases with two walks and a single but wiggled out of further damage with a groundout to end the inning after throwing 42 pitches. Jean walked two more in the second but didn't allow any more runs.
In the bottom of the second, the Tide erupted for four runs. Caden Rose and Jim Jarvis opened the frame with back to back singles. Leadoff man Drew Williamson lined a single up the middle to score Rose. Dominic Tamez lifted a sacrifice fly to left to plate Jarvis. Zane Denton doubled in Williamson and William Hamiter singled Denton to the plate to give the Tide a 4-1 lead after two innings.
Left hander Hunter Furtado, a Wake Forest transfer, took the mound for Bama in the third and gave the team just what they needed, three shutout innings. The lanky lefty allowed one hit with two walks and four strikeouts. Dylan Ray made his Alabama debut in the sixth. Ray is a redshirt freshman who missed all of last season after Tommy John surgery. Ray pitched two innings, allowing two hits, two walks, two strikeouts and one run on a solo home run.
After their four spot in the second Bama couldn't push a run across through the the seventh inning, stranding five runners during those innings. Tide closer Landon Green was called on to try and earn the two inning save in the eighth. Xavier scored after a hit batter, two stolen bases, and a wild pitch to cut the margin to 4-3. Drew Williamson blasted a home run to lead off the bottom of the eighth for an insurance run for the Tide.
Green struggled with his command in the ninth, allowing a lead off double and throwing a wild pitch to put a runner on third. The next batter walked followed by a strikeout for out one. A potential double play ball that would have ended the game was bungled when second baseman’s Jim Jarvis pitch to Bryce Eblin at shortstop was booted, allowing a run to score. Green then struck out the next batter for out two and was replaced by Brock Guffey. Guffey hit the first batter he faced to load the bases but got a ground out to Jarvis at second to end the game with the Tide on top 5-4. Furtado was the winner and Guffey earned a save.
Bama finished 13-35 with five walks, eight strikeouts, and left 12 runners on base. Xavier was 7-35, drew 10 walks, had three hit batters, struck out 10 times, and stranded 17 runners on base. Denton was 3-5 with a double, a walk, a run, and a run driven in. Rose was 3-4 with a run scored. Jarvis, Williamson and Hamiter had two hits each.
Game Three: won 9-4
Sophomore left hander Grayson Hitt got the start on the mound for game three and acquitted himself admirably. Hitt worked out of a two out bases loaded jam in the first after two singles and a walk. The Tide scored first in the game when Drew Williamson drove in Jim Jarvis with a bases loaded walk. Jarvis reached on a single and advanced when Tommy Seidl walked and Bryce Eblin was hit by a pitch.
Bama notched a four run third inning. Zane Denton led off with a walk and moved to third on a William Hamiter double. Owen Diodati singled in one run, a Jarvis sac fly plated the second one, and Siedl and Eblin both hit run scoring singles in the frame.
Hitt finished his outing after four innings and allowed three hits with one walk and six strikeouts over 64 pitches. Freshman Luke Holman entered for his first appearance in the fifth. After a scoreless fifth inning, Holman allowed two runs in the sixth and one in the seventh to cut the lead to 6-3. The Tide scored two in the seventh on a two run error on the Musketeers. Brayden Gainey took over for Bama in the 8th inning and allowed one run on three hits. Seidl got the run back for the Tide in the bottom of the 8th when he doubled Jarvis home. UNC Asheville transfer Hunter Hoopes pitched the 9th for Bama and struck out two while allowing a harmless single.
The Tide finished 12-34 with six walks, eight strikeouts, and left 11 on base. Xavier was 13-40 with one walk, 11 strikeouts, and left 10 on base. Seidl was 3-4 with two RBI, two runs, a double, and a stolen base. Hamiter was 2-5 with two doubles and Jarvis added two hits in four tries. Hitt was the winning pitcher.
A series sweep over a good mid-major team was a good first step for the Tide. With a challenging pre-conference schedule and the grind of the SEC, the team needs to stack wins when ever they can. The team has a deep pitching staff that will have even more pieces when a couple of guys get cleared after preseason injuries. The defense will be very good and the team has a ton of power.
Alabama hit .327 for the weekend at 32-98 with seven doubles, four home runs, 14 walks, 21 strikeouts and had a .410 on base percentage and left 26 runners on base. The Tide fielded at a .981 clip with two errors in 101 chances. Xavier finished 26-107 for a .243 average with 13 walks, 31 strikeouts, and 30 runners left on base.
Who Did What?
- William Hamiter 6-12, 3 doubles, 2 RBI, 1 run, 2 walks
- Dominic Tamez 4-12, 2 runs, 2 home runs, 4 RBI, 2 Sac Flies
- Zane Denton 4-12, 3 runs, 2 doubles, RBI
- Tommy Seidl 3-5, 2 runs, 3 BB, double, stolen base
- Jim Jarvis 4-10, 3 runs, 1 RBI, Sac Fly, walk
- Caden Rose 4-8, 3 runs, 1 walk
- Owen Diodati 2-12, 2 runs, 1 walk, 3 RBI, game winning walk off home run
- Brock Guffey 2.1 innings, 0 hits, 0 runs, 3 strikeouts, Win, Save
- Grayson Hitt W 4 innings pitched, 3 hits, 1 walk, 6 strikeouts
- Hunter Furtado W 3 innings pitched, 1 hit, 2 walks, 4 strikeouts
The Tide has five scheduled games next week. Tuesday the Jacksonville Gamecocks come to town for a 3 p.m. single game, followed by a contest with Alabama State on Wednesday at 3 p.m. Bama will travel to Austin, TX on the weekend for a three game series with the number one team in the country, the Texas Longhorns.
Alabama Baseball Fever, Catch it