The 18th ranked Crimson Tide went on the road for the first time this season, playing the Samford Bulldogs in Homewood on Tuesday night. The Tide used a sparkling pitching performance from Luke Holman and two more home runs from freshman super star Colby Shelton to win by a score of 11-6. Shelton has seven home runs in the last four games and nine on the season. The team hit five home runs on the night, but their four game streak of hitting a grand slam when a blast by Caden Rose was about two feet short. Rose had to settle for a double on the play. Bama improved to 13-0 while the Bulldogs fell to 6-6.
The Tide scored in the first after Will Hodo was hit by a pitch and scored on a triple by Andrew Pinckney that just missed leaving the yard. In the top of the second Jim Jarvis drove his first home run of the season over the right field fence, followed two batters later by a solo blast by Shelton. Holman faced seven batters in the first two innings and one hit batters and struck out six.
Bama added another long ball in the third when first baseman Drew Williamson hit a 420 foot rocket out of sight to right field for a 4-0 lead. The Tide did load the bases with two outs, bringing Shelton to the plate for a chance for his third grand slam in the past three games. Alas the freshman struck out- this time. Holman struck out four more over the next two innings.
In the 5th inning Mac Guscette reached base on an error and trotted home on Dominic Tamez’s second home run of the season. Rose drew a walk before Shelton destroyed yet another baseball for his second home run of the game and ninth of the season. In the bottom of the 5th Holman struck out two more and issued his only walk of the night.
In the 6th, the Tide looked like they were going to make this a run rule game. With an 8-0 lead coach Brad Bohannon started substituting players into the game. Ed Johnson, batting for Williamson, walked to start the inning. Max Williams replaced William Hamiter and doubled to put runners on 2nd and 3rd. Guscette was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Jaxson West replace Tamez and worked a walk for a run batted and a 9-0 lead. With two outs Rose drove a pitch into the right center field gap that looked like it was gone for what would have been the teams fourth grand slam in the last four game. However the ball just missed leaving the park and Rose had to settle for a two run double.
With an 11-0 lead Kade Woods replaced Holman on the mound. Holman pitched 5 innings, allowed no hits, walked one, hit one, and struck out 12. Woods had a tough outing, hitting the first batter he faced before getting a force out for the first out. The next batter lined the first hit of the game for the Bulldogs, just off the glove of a leaping Will Portera at 2nd base. Two hit batters, two walks, and two wild pitches ended the red shirt freshman’s night in favor of Hunter Furtado. Furtado allowed a two run single to Garrett Howe and a fielders choice RBI to Garrett Staton and a run after an error. By the time the inning was over the Dogs had sent nine men to the plate and scored five runs on only two hits.
Furtado was pulled after two out in the 7th. The Bulldogs got two runners on by a walk and single before Zane Probst replaced Furtado. Propst threw a wild pitch to score a run, then walked on and hit one to load the bases, but bounced back with a strikeout to stop the bleeding. Over the last three innings the Tide did not score again, and collected only a single by Williams and double by Portera in those frames.
Hagan Banks replaced Probst and worked two perfect innings with two strikeouts to close the door for the 11-6 win. Holman and Banks combined to pitch seven innings allowing zero hits with one walk and 14 strikeouts.
The Tide hit 12-40 in the game with three doubles, a triple, and five home runs. Bama walked five times, had four hit batters, struck out 13 times, and left 11 men on base. Samford hit 3-30 with five walks, four hit batters, 16 strikeouts, and left six on base.
Shelton finished 2-4 with his two home runs, three RBI, and two runs scored. Tamez was 2-3 with two runs, a home run, and a run driven in. Williamson had a 1-2 night and reached on a hit by pitch, and hit his 6th home run of the season. Jarvis was 2-3 with a home run and Rose finished 1-3 with two walks, a double, two RBI and a run scored, and stretched his on base streak to 30 straight games.
The Tide raced out to the big lead and looked like they would run rule another opponent. Holman cruised through his five innings with easy and the offense was cooking. Bama got a little sloppy from that point on and although not every in danger to lose, did sweat out the last few innings. Bohannon utilized 17 position players and five pitchers in the game. The walks, hit batters, and wild pitches, have not been the norm thus far in the season. With the five home runs the team has now homered at least once in every game this season and has 30 long balls through 13 games.
Shelton now has a 10 game hitting streak and has homered in four straight games. During the streak, the lefty swinger is 15 of 34 with nine home runs, a double, 13 runs, five walks, and 19 RBI, and has hit two home runs in three of his last four games. Williamson has been on base every game this season and Rose now has a 30 game on base streak. Holman’s 12 strikeouts are the most by any Tide pitcher this season.
Next up is a Wednesday game at home with Alabama State. First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m and can be seen on the SEC Network Plus App.