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Bama Baseball: Tide Wins Walk-Off Thriller, 4-3

The Crimson Tide defeated Nicholls 4-3 on Friday night in their first NCAA Tournament game of 2023.

Syndication: Tuscaloosa News
Jim Jarvis lined a game winning single in the bottom of the 9th for a thrilling 4-3 victory over Nicholls. Bama advances to play Saturday at 8 p.m against Troy.
Gary Cosby Jr.-Tuscaloosa News / USA TODAY NETWORK

Life is a waiting game, so what was a three-hour rain delay compared to waiting 17 years between hosting a Regional? And at least it was worth both waits

Alabama Crimson Tide baseball defeated Nicholls 4-3 on Friday night, on a walk-off single by Jim Jarvis in the bottom of the 9th inning.

The thrilling victory came in front of a sellout crowd that was worked into a frenzy. Troy defeated Boston College in the first game of the day, 11-10 in a slugfest. The Troy-BC game began at 2 p.m. and only made it until the bottom of the 2nd before rain blew in and put the game on hold for nearly three hours.

The Alabama game that was set to start at 6 p.m. had first pitch at 9:14 p.m. and finished right before midnight. Tomorrow Boston College and Nicholls will play an elimination game at 2 p.m. and Bama and Troy will face off at 8 p.m.

Nicholls isn't widely known around the country, but they have one of the best pitchers in the nation on their squad. Freshman right-hander Jacob Mayers entered the game with a record of 9-1 and a sterling ERA of 1.79. Mayers and Alabama sophomore Luke Holman squared off in a pitching duel, with both teams having trouble scoring.

Holman was touched for a two-out solo shot in the top of the 2nd by McRae Kendrick to give the Colonels a quick 1-0 lead. Holman followed up that long ball by allowing a double and walking a batter. But he regrouped and struck out leadoff man Parker Coddou to end the threat.

Meanwhile, Mayers held the Tide hitless through four innings — and was perfect through three, actually — with the only baserunner being Andrew Pinckney, who walked, stole second, and advanced to third on a throwing error while leading off the second. However, two strikeouts and a ground-out stranded Pinckney 90 feet from the plate.

Alabama finally scratched on Mayers in the bottom of the 5th. Colby Shelton rocketed a triple down the right-field line to lead things off, and scored on a sacrifice fly to left off the bat of Ed Johnson. Nicholls retook the lead in the top of the 6th with a leadoff triple from Edgar Alvarez and a sacrifice fly from Gerardo Villarreal.

The Tide tied the game up in the bottom of the 6th. Caden Rose led off with a double and moved to third on a sacrifice bunt by Jarvis. After a strikeout for out two, Drew Williamson bounced a double into the right field plaza to drive in Rose. The Colonels struck right back in the top of the 7th. Kade Woods replaced Holman to start the frame and was touched for a leadoff home run by Wes Toups to give Nicholls the lead back. Woods recovered to strike out the next three batters.

The Tide bounced back in the bottom of the 7th. William Hamiter was robbed of an extra base hit on a nice play by Xane Washington in right field. Mac Guscette then took an 0-1 pitch from Gavin Galy and drove it just inside the left field foul pole for his 8th home run of the season.

With the scored tied at three, Woods was back out for the top of the 8th inning. After retiring the first two batters on fly balls Woods allowed a single to Austin Cain. With one strike to the next batter, Garrett Felix, Alabama coach Jason Jackson summonsed freshman closer Alton Davis II out of the bullpen to replace Woods. Davis finished off the batter with a strikeout.

Bama had a chance to take the lead in the bottom half of the 8th. Tommy Seidl, regulated to DH duties while still suffering with a lower body injury, doubled inside the third base line to start things off. Seidl was replaced as a pinch runner by Will Hodo. However after two weak ground outs could only get Hodo to third base, the Colonels intentionally walked Shelton and then induced Johnson to also ground out to squander a golden scoring opportunity.

Davis sandwiched a pair of strikeouts around a walk in the 9th, with Guscette gunning down Toups trying to steal for out two.

With the score knotted at 3-3, the Tide used small ball to take the victory.

Hamiter led off the inning with a walk and moved to second on a perfect sacrifice bunt by Guscette. After a strikeout out for the second out, Jarvis lined a single between short and third, allowing Hamiter to race home with the winning run and keeping the Tide in the winners bracket.

Bama hit 6-29 in the game, drew five walks, struck out 10 times, and left seven on base. Five of the team’s six hits were for extra bases, with three doubles, a triple, and a home run. Defensively Guscette threw out the only runner that tried to steal, and Pinckney gunned out a runner from right field when he tried to stretch a single into a double. As “they” say “not on Pink!” Jarvis, Williamson, Johnson, and Guscette all drove in one run each.

No batter had more than one hit in the game. Shelton added two walks to his triple and scored a run. Davis with his 1.1 scoreless innings earned the victory and improved to 1-2 on the season.

Nicholls hit 7-31 in the game, had three walks, one hit batter, struck out 11 times, and stranded six runners. Five of the Colonels hits were for extra bases, two double, a triple, and two home runs. Nico Saltaformaggio was tagged with the loss and fell to 5-2 on the year.

The Joe was electric on Friday night, a crowd unlike any I’ve seen there in a number of years. Bama fans have been hungry for this moment for a long time and this resilient bunch fed them well.

The job the leaders of the team and the staff, led by Jackson, have done has been incredible.

After the game Jackson said that “Tommy Seidl is our heart and soul. He’s a leader in the dugout, and a great performer on the field”, “just his presence in the lineup is huge for the team.” Seidl, Williamson, Jarvis, Pinckney, and many other of the older players have shown their maturity and helped this Tide team reach their potential.

Another late night coming on Saturday, with Bama and Troy set to play at 8 p.m. CT to try and reach the Regional finals, played on Sunday night. Boston College and Nicholls will tangle at 2 p.m., and no bad weather is showing in the forecast. If you are in town try to come by and help #PackTheJoe, otherwise you will have to resort to ESPN Plus, or the Crimson Tide radio broadcast of the game- or my Twitter feed -@rogerpatmyers. [Ed Note: The Joe is already packed. Tickets sold out in about 20 minutes. But come on out and hang out in the right field.]

Roll Tide!