Alabama Baseball Shows Out to Beat Samford
Alabama baseball (20-12, 5-7 SEC) welcomed in-state foe Samford into Sewell-Thomas Stadium for some midweek night baseball. Coming off a huge series sweep over Texas A&M, the Crimson Tide kept their winning momentum in a big way. On a fifteen hit, sixteen walk night, Alabama scored 19 runs to win 19-3 over the Bulldogs in front of a COVID-sellout crowd.
Freshman Grayson Hitt got the nod to be the starting pitcher for Alabama against the Bulldogs. He had a 10.93 ERA entering the midweek contest. Hitt came out firing hitting 92 MPH on the gun. Samford struck early, stringing together hits and scoring a run on an RBI single from catcher Tyler McManus. Hitt found his groove quickly after, getting a double play ball to end the first inning and pitching three more scoreless innings.
Coming in to Tuesday night, the top three of Alabama's order in Peyton Wilson, William Hamiter, and Zane Denton were hitting a combined .343 at the plate. The offense struggled to get going early but finally got on the board in the third with a little help from the Bulldogs with two walks, an error, and a hit by pitch bringing in the Crimson Tide's first run to tie the game.
Senior outfielder Jackson Tate let loose on a pitch and sent a moonshot into the net in left after a leadoff walk in the fourth to give Alabama the lead 3-1. It was his first home run of the year, and it began a huge inning for the Crimson Tide in which they batted, or more accurately, walked around the order. A multitude of Bulldog pitching could not seem to find the strike zone, gifting Alabama eight runners in the half-inning.
"Obviously they helped us out a lot, but kudos to our guys for taking advantage of it," head coach Brad Bohannon said. "You're seeing multiple guys that are seeing the ball better and making better decisions of what to swing at"
Fellow freshman Jake Eddington relieved Hitt, and he tossed two scoreless innings for Alabama. A much needed mid-inning performance from the Alabama bullpen.
Catcher Sam Praytor sent a missile over the wall in left center to start the sixth inning, and he was followed by so many more Crimson Tide hits. Diodati dropped a hit in front of the center fielder, and Williamson toasted a double into the gap in right-center. Tate came through again with a sacrifice fly to center to score Dio, and Bryce Eblin followed with another gap hitter to score Williamson and give Alabama an 11-1 lead. Alabama was not done in the sixth, as Pinckney lined one to left to send Eblin to third. Wilson fundamentally lifted one to center for the sac-fly, scoring Eblin.
Caden Rose took over the second spot in the lineup for William Hamiter, and he blasted the first pitch into the playground in left for a two-run homer to put Alabama up 14-1.
Another freshman in Eli Giles pitched the seventh, and he loaded the bases with a single and two walks. He clipped a batter to bring in a run for Samford but proceeded to strike out the side. The progression of these freshman pitchers was evident as they allowed only three runs combined.
Rose came through again in the seventh with a two RBI-double to give 'Bama more cushion with a 16-2 lead. Johnny Hawk, who relieved Praytor in the sixth, singled into left to score Rose, and after a couple walks, Davis Heller hit a ground ball that was whiffed on to score Denton and Hawk. Alabama lead 19-2 after seven innings.
Hunter Ruth pitched the eighth, and he allowed one run on a sac-fly that Andrew Pinckney made a smooth sliding catch on in. He closed down Samford in the ninth, and the Crimson Tide emerged largely victorious after a 3-hour 40-minute midweek game. Most of the starters got rest tonight after the sixth inning because of the sizable lead, which was vital heading into another SEC weekend.
Alabama currently sits at fourth in the SEC West, behind three top-ten teams in Arkansas, Mississippi State, and Ole Miss. They will take on the last place Auburn Tigers (1-11 SEC) this weekend starting Thursday at 6 p.m.