Tide snaps five-game losing streak

Laura Owens

The Alabama baseball team defeated Jacksonville State 7-3 Tuesday night in Tuscaloosa at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The win snapped a five-game losing streak for the Crimson Tide, and with this win, they improve to 17-6 overall, staying at 2-4 in the Southeastern Conference.

“Obviously, it’s nice to win when you’ve lost five in a row,” said head coach Mitch Gaspard. “I think as much as anything, that gives you a little bit of confidence and a little bit of feel for our team individually, just to get back in the winning column.”

After the first inning, the Tide trailed 2-1. Then in the second inning, things picked up for the team when they posted five hits and three runs. After the Tide went up 3-2, the Gamecocks switched pitchers to Tanner Freshour. One of his first pitches was called a balk, which brought in Alabama’s fourth run. The score at the end of the inning was 5-2.

After the third inning, the score settled at 7-3. Alabama had one error, allowing a runner on base. The Tide earned four hits and two runs to push the lead to four. Gaspard said the team has been struggling with scoring later in games, and this one was no exception.

“We’ve got to have better at-bats throughout the ball game and have more constant pressure,” he said. “It’s a still a work in progress for us.”

In the game, freshman Adam Windsor got his first start as pitcher, throwing 38 pitches in two innings. He posted one strikeout and allowed five hits with two runs.

Junior Jason Townsend came in to pitch at the top of the third inning, making it his eighth relief game of the season. In his two innings, he had two strikeouts and gave up one hit.

At the top of the fifth, freshman Trey Pilkington came in to pitch, making it his third appearance of the season. He left the game after two innings, with one hit, one walk and no strikeouts. Pilkington was also credited for the win, giving him his first college win.

“It feels good,” he said. “I didn’t know I got it, but it feels good. I just wanted to come in and do a good job because my last outing was a little shaky.”

At the top of the seventh, junior Brett Whitaker came into his eleventh game to finish out the win. Then the final pitching change came at the top of the ninth, when senior Jake Smith finished the game.

“Our thought process on that was to continue to use Jake,” Gaspard said, “but we had been pretty good out of the bull pen, so we kind of held onto that bullet as long as we can. I thought he was excellent tonight.”

Alabama leads the all-time series with Jacksonville State 23-7, winning the previous five meetings between the teams. The last time they played was in Tuscaloosa in 2008, when the Tide swept the Gamecocks in a two-game series.

Next up for the Tide is the UAB Blazers on Wednesday at Regions Park in Hoover. Then this weekend, Alabama hosts the Auburn Tigers in a three-game series at Sewell-Thomas Stadium, with the first pitch at 6 p.m.