Baseball team looks to continue recent success

Kevin Connell

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The Crimson Tide continued its late-inning dramatics this season with a walk-off double from freshman Casey Hughston in a series-clinching 4-3 victory over Auburn at Sewell-Thomas Stadium on Sunday.

It was the fifth time this season Alabama has won a game on the final at bat after Wade Wass, Mikey White and Hunter Webb did it earlier this season.

All five walk-offs have come in five of the six home weekend series, with three coming against the last three Southeastern Conference opponents it has hosted. The lone home weekend series without a walk-off this season came against Mississippi Valley State.

In addition to its five walk-off victories, Alabama has also won two road games this season in the ninth inning.

(See also “UA baseball team falls in midweek game to UAB“)

The Crimson Tide defeated Auburn 4-3 in the Capital City Classic in Montgomery on March 5 when an Auburn throwing error to first allowed a runner to score, and Texas A&M 6-4 in College Station on April 5 off an RBI double from Webb.

The number of last-inning wins this season has led Alabama to believe that it can win any time the game comes down to a final at bat.

“We’ve been there so many times now at this point in the season that we’re not afraid to be in that situation,” freshman closer Thomas Burrows said. “We’re pretty confident there that we have guys throughout the lineup that can get it done.”

The Crimson Tide will host Jackson State on Tuesday at 6:05 p.m.

(See also “Alabama baseball team hits with more power“)

Attendance marks:

Sewell-Thomas Stadium, the home of the Alabama baseball team, set two top-10 home attendance records in this weekend’s series over Auburn.

In Friday’s 2-1 loss, Alabama had the 10th-largest crowd in Sewell-Thomas Stadium history with a crowd of 6,069. That total was then pushed back to 11th all-time after Alabama had the seventh-largest crowd with 6,142 fans at Saturday’s 4-1 win.

Over the course of the three-game series, Alabama drew 16,679 fans to the stadium.

“The fans were tremendous and really impacted the weekend with as many people as we played in front of,” Alabama coach Mitch Gaspard said. “I know again we all appreciate that all so much.”

Injury update:

Senior first baseman Austen Smith had X-rays on his wrist Monday after he was hit by a pitch during an at-bat in the seventh inning in Saturday’s win over Auburn.

Smith remained in the game for the final two innings Saturday but did not play in Sunday’s series finale.

Smith currently ranks fifth in the SEC in batting average (.355), seventh in slugging percentage (.536), fourth in on-base percentage (.445) and 12th in RBIs (26).

Last Thursday, he was named to the 50-man midseason Golden Spikes Award watch list, an award presented annually by USA Baseball to the top amateur baseball player in the United States.

(See also “Baseball team makes first SEC trip to College Station“)