The 20th ranked Alabama Crimson Tide improved to 4-0 with a sloppy 7-4 victory over Tennessee Tech on Tuesday. The Golden Eagles fell to 2-2 on the season. Former Tide star shortstop Mikey White is an assistant coach for Tech after retiring from professional ball. Bama used the long ball, three home runs, and some clutch relief pitching to snag the win.
Sophomore right hander Luke Holman was the starting pitcher for the Tide, facing off with righty Matt Gelorme for TTU. Holman got off to an inauspicious start when leadoff man Troy Baunsgard blasted a home run on a 1-2 pitch for a quick 1-0 Eagle lead. Holman gave up two more hits in the inning but a pitchers best friend, a double play, closed out the innings. The Tide tied things up in the bottom half. Jim Jarvis led off with a single and moved to second on a walk to Colby Shelton. Andrew Pinckney then walked to load the bases before Drew Williamson rapped into a double play, with Jarvis crossing the plate to tie the game.
Bama took the lead in the third when Shelton led off the frame with his first collegiate home run- a knock into the right field plaza. Pinckney followed and just missed matching his teammate when his drive was just short of leaving the yard. The speedy Pinckney reached third and looked to be intent on heading home, but Coach Brad Bohannon threw up the stop sign. Williamson lined a single to score Pinckney to make the score 3-1.
Holman gave up a solo home run to John Dyer in the top of the 4th, but escaped with no more damage. Holman left after the fourth having allowed four hits, two walks, one strikeout, and two runs.
Left hander Jake Leger took over in the 5th, and looked like he was going to have a quick inning. After a ground ball out and a strikeout the normally reliable Leger walked the next three batters. Righty Zane Probst was called in to put out the fire and talk all of three pitches to induce a ground ball to end the threat.
The Tide added to the lead in the fifth with a two spot. The red hot Pinckney lined a single and trotted home on a line drive home run by Williamson into the right field plaza. Hagan Banks replaced Probst in the top of the sixth and had a quick, four pitch, perfect inning. Bama added to the lead in the bottom half, Caden Rose reached on an error and stole second, continuing to third when the ball sailed into centerfield. After Pinckney reached base yet again- this time on a hit by pitch- Williamson got his fourth RBI of the game with a run scoring single.
Banks came back out for the 7th for the Tide. Baunsgard led off and reached second base on a throwing error by Shelton at third base. Banks recorded a strikeout for out one but Theo Bryant IV singled to score Baunsgard. A walk and another single loaded the bases, summoning Braylon Myers out of the bullpen for Bama. Dyer hit a sacrifice fly to plate a run before Myers got another fly ball to end the inning with the score 6-4 in favor of Alabama. Will Hodo hit his first home run of the season in the bottom of the 7th to give the Tide a little breathing room at 7-4.
Myers had a perfect 8th inning and gave up a harmless single to start the 9th before retiring the next three batters to record the Tide’s first save of the year. Holman was the winning pitcher and Tyler Zarella, the 2nd of eight Eagle pitchers took the loss.
Alabama hit 11-34 in the game, walked seven times, had two hit batters, struck out only three times, and left 12 men on base. Tennessee Tech was 7-34 in the game with six walks, four strikeouts, and left 10 on base.
Williamson was the big stick for the Tide with his 3-4 day with four RBI, a home run-his second of the season, and a walk. Pinckney kept up his early season hot streak with with 2-2 day with a triple, two walks, a hit by pitch, and two runs. The redshirt junior is now 10-12 on the season and has reached base 14 times. Rose reached base for the 22nd game in a row, going back to last season, with a single, a walk, and his third stolen base of the year. Shelton was 1-3 with a walk and his first career home run. Bama committed three errors, walked six batters, and only struck out four.
A win is a win is a win. A sloppy game the type game the Tide has lost over the last couple of years. Probst made a clutch pitch to leave the bases stranded in the 6th with the Eagles threatening. Myers cooly finished the last 2.2 innings throwing 29 pitches with 25 of them strikes. Four of the 11 hits for Bama were for extra bases with three home runs and triple. The team faces a arduous week with five games in the next six days, with a cross country flight mixed in.
Next up is a 3 p.m. game on Wednesday with UT Martin. Grad student and Birmingham U transfer Jackson Reynolds will start the game on the mound for the Tide. After the game the team will head west to Malibu for a three game set with Pepperdine on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The weather forecast in Malibu is not promising at all with chances of rain on Friday and Saturday and hit temperatures from 43-50 degrees.
Bama Baseball Fever, Catch it!