The Alabama Crimson Tide looked to build on their win over Mississippi State on Sunday in a contest with South Alabama on Tuesday night. The Tide has struggled in midweek games over the last few weeks but used a walk off wild pitch to defeat Jaguars 5-4. Bama improved to 15-11 on the season while USA fell to 16-7.
Freshman Ben Hess started the game on the mound for the Tide and has been gradually increasing his pitch count, and innings, each time he goes out. The big righty pitched the first three innings battling through four walks in his 67 pitch outing. After two scoreless innings South used a walk and a one out home run to take the early 2-0 lead over the home team. The Tide squandered a golden chance in the bottom of the first when they loaded the bases with no outs. Jim Jarvis led off by getting hit by a pitch followed by a Tommy Seidl walk. Zane Denton singled to load the bases but a strikeout and a double play ended the threat.
Hagan Banks replaced Hess to start the fourth and tossed a scoreless inning while allowing a single. Then the Tide took the lead with a big two out rally. Andrew Pinckney walked after the first two batters were out, and advanced to second on a ball in the dirt. Drew Williamson then lined a single to score Pinckney. Designated hitter Eric Foggo then lifted a ball to deep right field that bounced over the fence for a ground rule double, but unfortunately forced Williamson to stop at third. Second baseman Bryce Eblin made that point null and void by blasting his first career home run in to the right field plaza for three runs.
Banks walked the first batter of the fifth and was replaced by Hunter Hoopes. Hoopes walked the first batter he faced followed by two ground ball outs, the second of which scored the Jaguars third run. A strikeout ended the inning with the Tide still on top. Hoopes pitched a very efficient three innings allowing one hit with one walk and three strikeouts.
Landon Green took over in the eighth for Bama, his first action in over three weeks due to injury. Green struck out the first batter he faced but then gave up a weak infield single to Santi Montiel. A ground ball to first base advanced the runner and a walk put a second man on base. Kasey Donaldson lined a single to left to tie the game, but Tide left fielder Owen Diodati made a perfect throw to Jarvis at shortstop who in turn threw a strike to catcher Dominic Tamez at the plate to nail the potential go ahead run.
Jake Leger took over for Bama on the mound in the 9th and worked around a leadoff single to record three straight outs, setting up his team to walk the game off. Jarvis led off the bottom half with a double down the right field line. Seidl did his job with a ground out to second to advance Jarvis to third. South Alabama choose to intentionally walk Denton and Diodati to load the bases. The strategy looked like it might work when Tamez struck out and Pinckney fell behind 0-2. However South pitcher Jackson Boyd threw a ball in the dirt that bounced away from catcher Reid Powers, just far enough for Jarvis to race home and dive across the plate with the winning run.
Bama finished 8-34 in the game, walked seven times, had one hit batter, struck out nine times and stranded 10 runners on base. USA was 6-32 with seven walks, one hit batter, 10 strikeouts, and left nine on base. Jarvis was 2-4 with a double and run scored as the only Tide player with a multi hit game. Eblin finished 1-4 with three runs driven in on his home run. Seidl, Denton, Pinckney, Williamson, and Foggo had one safety apiece. Leger improved to 1-0 on the season as the winning pitcher.
It was good to see the Tide build on their Sunday win and have some momentum going into their weekend series with Texas A&M. The pitching staff walking seven batters wasn't optimal but overall they made big pitches when needed. Green working his way back will be a great help on the back end of the pen. Hess and Banks, both freshmen, are starting to flash their potential. Leger has pitched some big innings since returning from a preseason injury and will be a big part of the staff going forward. Coach Brad Bohannon gave an injury report after the game and mentioned that outfielder William Hamiter could possibly be back from his broken foot by the Ole Miss series in two weeks. Bohannon also mentioned that Seidl was “very sore” from the collision he had in the outfield with Caden Rose on Sunday, and said “Tommy is a tough kid, but this morning I didn't think there would be any way he could play today.” Of course the Harvard Grad transfer, known as Sarge, showed his toughness and answered the bell.
The Tide hosts the Texas A&M Aggies this weekend with games at 6 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. on Sunday. Saturday’s game will be shown on the SEC Network while the other two will be available on SEC Network Plus.
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