The surging Crimson Tide won their second straight SEC series under interim head coach Jason Jackson, going on the road and taking the series vs Texas A&M 2-1. This was on the heels of their huge series win against Vanderbilt the week prior.
Alabama improved to 35-17 overall and 13-14 in the SEC with an RPI of 10. The Aggies fell to 30-22 and 12-15 in league play. The home team won on Friday 11-5 before the Tide fought the elements to win 12-1 in a run-rule game on Saturday and a dominating 11-0 win on Sunday, despite long delays in both games.
Bama used sterling starting pitching and the long ball to take the series, led by newly-minted SEC player of the week in Andrew Pinckney. The team improved to 5-2 in Jackson’s tenure.
Game One: Lost 11-5
Alabama sent Luke Holman to the mound to face Nathan Dettmer for the Aggies on a windy night at Blue Bell park. A&M took much better advantage of the wind than the Tide did, hitting six home runs to three for the Tide. Four of the Aggie long balls were two-run shots, including three by Trevor Werner.
The scoring began in the bottom of the first, when the Aggies took advantage of a one-out walk and a two run home run by Brett Minnich to grab the early 2-0 lead. Minnich’s opposite field ball to left appeared to be a medium range fly ball that kept drifting. Left fielder Tommy Seidl continually backed up toward the fence and made a leap and had the ball in his glove before banging his hand off the top of the ball, and glove and ball sailed over the fence for the two-run home run.
Alabama answered with a solo home run from freshman phenom Colby Shelton in the top of the second to cut the lead in half. In the top of the third a two out single by Jacks Moss was followed by Werner’s first blast of the night, on another ball that Seidl again leapt and just missed grabbing. In the top of the fifth Bama tied the game with a pair of home runs of their own. Shelton hit his second of the game, and 18th of the year, to start the frame. Ed Johnson doubled with one out and came home on Bryce Eblin’s first long ball of the year.
Holman walked Hunter Haas to lead off the bottom of the fifth and with one out Werner blasted his second two run home run to give Aggie the lead back 6-4. Hagan Banks replaced Holman on the mound and finished the inning with no further damage. Texas A&M freshman star Jace LaViolette hit a legitimate bomb to lead off the bottom of the sixth to pad the lead. Banks bounced back to strike out the side afterwards. Werner cranked is third bomb of the game in the seventh inning after a single by Haas.
With the score 9-4, the Tide threatened in the top of the eighth, loading the bases on singles by Seidl, Drew Williamson, and Andrew Pinckney, but could only plate one run. In the bottom of the eighth LaViolette hit his second home run of the game and a Jack Moss singled in another run to make the score 11-5 entering the ninth inning. The Tide went down meekly in the ninth and the Aggies took the game one victory.
Alabama went 8-34 in the game, drew one walk, struck out five times, and left three men on base while committing one error. Shelton was 2-4 with his two solo home runs and Eblin drove in two with his long ball. Holman suffered the loss and fell to 6-3 on the season.
The Aggies hit 10-34, had four walks, one hit batter, 11 strikeouts, four men left on base, six home runs, and one stolen base. Evan Aschenbeck was the winner and improved to 7-1. Werner drove in six and Minnich and LaViolette had two RBI each.
Game Two: Won 12-1
Saturday’s game two pitted Alabama’s Garrett McMillian against Will Johnston for A&M.
The game was delayed about 45 minutes due to threat (but not actual) rain. Once started, The Tide jumped on Johnston early. Jim Jarvis led off the game with a single and advanced to second when Tommy Seidl was hit by a pitch. Andrew Pinckney was up next and hit a 3-2 fastball 455 feet over the scoreboard to stake Bama to a quick 3-0 lead. Johnston struck out the next two batters before walking the next three. Another called strikeout- all three were looking- ended the inning as the Tide sent nine men to the plate.
McMillian retired the Aggies in order on eight pitches in the bottom of the first, but ran into his only trouble of the game in the second. After two quick outs, a single followed by walk and another single loaded the bases. A ground out to third ended the uprising with no runs scored. The Tide created a run in the top of the third with a two out run. Ed Johnson worked an 11 pitch walked, advanced on a wild pitch, and scored on a single by Mac Guscette. Meanwhile McMillian was carving up the Aggies on a minimum of pitches.
‘Bama busted the game wide open scoring eight times in the top of the fifth.
Jarvis singled in two runs, followed by an RBI single by Seidl before Pinckney crushed his second three run home run of the game and Colby Shelton finished off the frame with a two run bomb of his own. The Tide sent 12 men to the plate and had six hits, a walk, and a hit batter against three Aggie pitchers. With a threat of rain, and the Aggies having to bat to make the game an official contest (if rain washed out the rest of the weekend) A&M coach Jim Schlossnagle was not in a hurry to make his continued trips to the mound to change out hurlers.
In the bottom of the sixth, Jace LaViolette lead off with his 15th home run of the season before the umpires pulled the teams off the field for an unknown reason. There was no rain, and there was no stated lightning warning, but a 30-minute delay followed. McMillian did come back out and struck out three of the next four batters, only allowing a single that caromed off of the big right handers leg.
With a 12-1 lead Braylon Myers replaced McMillan in the seventh and after a leadoff walk retired the next three batters to secure the 12-1 run rule victory to even up the series at a game each.
Alabama hit 12-33 in the game, drew six walks, had three hit batters, struck out seven times, and left nine men on base. The Tide had three home runs, and a double among their 12 hits. Pinckney was 3-5 with two home runs, six RBI, and two runs scored. Shelton was 2-4 with a walk, a home run, and two driven in. Jarvis was 2-4 with a hit by pitch with two driven in and two scored out of the lead off spot. McMillian was the winner with his six innings of six hit, one run ball, while walking one and striking out seven.
Texas A&M was 6-27 in the game with two walks, one hit batter, eight strikeouts, and left eight on base. Johnston fell to 3-3 with the loss.
Game Three: Won 11-0
Sunday was an absolute shitshow. The game was originally slated for 3 p.m. on the SEC Network. With bad weather in the area all weekend, it looked to be iffy to find a window to get the game in. On Saturday night the notice went out that the game would be at noon. Around 9:30 Sunday morning TexAgs.Com announced that the game had been canceled.
But, not so fast my friend, Alabama really wanted to play and it appeared the Aggie did not want to have the contest.
Bama coach Jason Jackson talked with the SEC as did Alabama Athletic Director Greg Byrne to try and work out a time to get the game in. Meanwhile, Aggie coach Jim Schlossnagle reportedly told his players there would be no game and go on about their day. Then the rain stopped and 3 p.m. was back in play.
The Tide team had to check out of their hotel in the morning and went to the ball field dressed and ready, only to have to return to Hilton, and then back to the stadium at 1 p.m. The teams were both there and warming up while staff, parents, students, and volunteers were working to get the field in shape to play. The next announcement was that the game would try to be played at 7 p.m., with a 4 p.m. re-check of the condition of the facilities. All the while, the sun had been out since around 10 a.m. The 4 p.m. check passed muster and the game was on for 7 o’clock for sure- although anywhere from 2 p.m. up until 6 p.m. looked viable as well.
At this point, the Tide had been in uniform for 10 hours and sitting in the dugout for over six hours prior to first pitch. That all being said, Bama sent super senior Jacob McNairy to the mound to face Troy Wansing for the Aggies. Andrew Pinckney got the Tide started with a two out first inning home run to the opposite field. Wansing then allowed a single to Drew Williamson and walked Dominic Tamez and Colby Shelton on eight straight balls. Wansing was then replaced by Justin Lamkin who induced a ground ball to strand the bases loaded.
McNairy allowed a single and walk in the bottom of the first but stranded the runners at second and third with a strikeout to end the frame. The Tide busted things wide open in the second inning. Mac Guscette led off with a single and advanced to third on a double from Caden Rose. Jim Jarvis walked to load the bases with no outs. Tommy Seidl blasted a 3-2 pitch over the fence for a grand slam and a 5-0 lead for the visitors.
McNairy had a perfect second and retired the first two batters in the third before allowing a double and single, but a fly out ended the only real threat the Aggies had all game. Lamkin settled down after Seidl’s long ball and retired eight in a row, with only Seidl being hit by a pitch through the fourth. Brandyn Garcia replaced Lamkin and continued mowing down the Tide. From no outs in the second through the sixth Bama only managed a walk and hit batter while striking out seven times.
All the while, McNairy was masterful had all four of his pitches working, and had the Aggies eating out of his hands.
The Tide finally added to their lead in the top of the seventh when Seidl and Pinckney singled and Williamson drove in the run on a ground out. McNairy finished the seventh inning strong with a perfect inning, striking out the final two hitters to end his night. The right hander from Athens (AL) pitched a career hit 7 innings, allowing six hits, with one walk, and a career high nine strikeouts.
Bama scored five runs after two were out in the ninth. Guscette, Rose, and Seidl all singled in one run and Pinckney singled in a pair. The Tide had five singles and two walks in the inning. Alton Davis II replaced McNairy in the eighth and pitched the final two innings allowing one hit and striking out one.
The Tide hit 14-40 in the game with seven walks, one hit batter, struck out 10 times, left 11 men on base and had two home runs, two stolen bases, turned one double play, and had one sac bunt. McNairy improved to 6-1 with his gem, and has been fantastic his last three starts. Sunday night’s game was his best during his five years at The Capstone. Seidl was 3-5 with five RBI, two runs scored, a stolen base, a hit by pitch, and his 8th home run. Pinckney matched Seidl in hits with a 3-6 night of his own with his 14th home run, three RBI, a run scored. Guscette was 3-5 with two runs, and a run driven in. Rose was the other player with multiple hits, breaking out of a slump with a 2-3 game with a walk, a sac bunt, a double, two runs scored, and one RBI.
Overall Alabama hit 34-107 for a .317 batting average, with 14 walks, four hit batters, 22 strikeouts, eight home runs, three doubles, 23 men left on, two stolen bases, and one error.
TAMU hit 7-33 in the game with one walk, 10 strikeouts, two stolen bases, and left seven men on base. Wansing was the loser and fell to 2-3. Jordan Thompson led the way with three hits. Overall the Aggies were held to 23-94 for a .244 average, walked only seven times, had two hit batters, struck out 29 times, and left 19 men on base.
Who Did What?
- Andrew Pinckney was named SEC player of the week- 7-15, three home runs (12-13-14), nine RBI, three runs
- Tommy Seidl 5-12, six RBI, grand slam home run (8), stolen base, five runs, walk, hit by pitch
- Colby Shelton 4-11, three home runs (17-18-19), four RBI, four runs, walk
- Mac Guscette 4-8, walk, three runs, two RBI
- Garrett McMillian W (2-2), 6 IP, 6 hits, 1 BB, 7 strikeouts, 90 pitches
- Jacob McNairy W (6-1) 7 IP 6 hits, 1 BB, 9 strikeouts, 101 pitches
What a gritty, gutty, mature group of guys this team has.
Given all they have faced over the last two weeks, ‘Bama has won two SEC series in a row and are working toward having a chance not only to make the NCAA Tournament but to be in consideration to host a regional.
Coach Jason Jackson has been a steady hand in leading the team after being suddenly thrust into the head spot, on the day of the first game of the Vanderbilt series. The players have responded. The team didn't let the distractions of the weekend weather and opponent shenanigans affect them and just went about their business. After losing Game 1, Bama outscored the home team 23-1 on Saturday and Sunday and 28-12 overall. Last week, the Tide outpaced Vanderbilt 14-7 in the three games.
The last three games of the regular season are this week on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday against Ole Miss, prior to the SEC Tournament the next week.
With 35 wins, the Tide has the most wins for the team since the 2014 team finished 37-24 and played in the Tallahassee Regional — the last team Alabama has that made the field of 64. Thursday and Friday the games will be played at 6 p.m. and the finale on Saturday will be at 2 p.m. All games will be available on the SEC Network Plus.