Taylor Poe delivers: Alabama baseball defeats Troy

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CW | Marie Walker

Elliott Propes

Tuesday night featured an unlikely hero for the Alabama baseball team. Making just his second start of the season, catcher Taylor Poe delivered the game-winning blow in the bottom of the eighth inning. With runners on second and third and one out, Poe pulled a slider down the third-base line to bring in both runners and take a 5-3 lead, the score Alabama would eventually win on over Troy.

“Obviously on the offensive end he’s done a really good job, but his catching has really improved,” coach Mitch Gaspard said. “Hats off to Taylor. Every time we’ve called on him he’s done a nice job out there.”

The game was back and forth early on. Brock Love was cruising, pitching scoreless baseball until he had two outs in the fifth inning. He gave up three consecutive hits, which plated two Trojans for a 2-0 deficit. Troy’s lead quickly evaporated during the bottom half of the inning after a walk and four straight singles to plate three runs for an Alabama 3-2 lead. Love finished with pitching five innings with nine strikeouts.

“After the sluggish starts on Tuesdays that we were having, we felt like [Love] was the best option.” Gaspard said. “He’s a young guy with really good stuff. I think he’s going to be outstanding, and these are really good stepping-stone moments out there for him on Tuesdays to really become a complete pitcher.”

The game was then quickly tied again the next inning when Jon Keller came in for Love. The first batter he saw took him hard. Joey Denison launched one to left field for one of the longest home runs at Sewell-Thomas Stadium this season.

The Alabama defense looked sharp as Cobie Vance, Hunter Webb and Georgie Salem all made leaping and diving grabs. The score could have looked differently if those balls were dropped.

“It feels good watching those guys make plays for me,” Love said. “I’m trying to do the best I can to get balls hit at them so they can make plays, and they do a good job of it.”

Alabama now has an overall record of 23-14 and will be back in action at home Wednesday night against South Alabama. First pitch is set for 6:30 p.m. CT.