Four-run innings bookend 10-3 win for Alabama


CW / Hannah Saad

Carey Reeder | @realCareyReeder, Staff Reporter

Alabama proved in its 10-3 win over Alabama State on Wednesday afternoon that there is more than one way to win a baseball game.

The Crimson Tide’s five hits produced six runs through the first seven innings. Just one of those hits went for extra bases. Alabama relied on its aggressive base running and some help from the Alabama State pitching staff to tally 10 runs for the second time in four games.

Alabama (4-0) reached first base nine different times — six by way of walk and three batters hit by a pitch. In addition to nine free passes, the Hornets’ pitchers threw five wild pitches in the game. That helped 11 different Alabama runners advance a base including junior outfielder Tyler Gentry, who scored on a wild pitch in the first inning to increase the lead to three. Gentry finished the game 1 for 4 with a two-run double and two walks. Sophomore T.J. Reeves also earned two walks and scored a run in the win.

Four Alabama players attempted a steal, with three being successful. Coach Brad Bohannon, who was less than thrilled with Alabama’s play throughout the game, used the aggression on the bases as a wake-up call for the team.

“I felt like we needed to do something artificially to get us going, and a little out of frustration” Bohannon said. “I thought out guys came out distracted and we showed our youth.”

Freshman third baseman Zane Denton’s groundout to first base plated fellow freshman and outfielder Owen Diodati for the last of the four runs scored in the opening inning for Alabama.

The freshman duo drove in two more runs in the third inning, including an RBI single to right field by Diodati, his ninth of the season. Denton earned his second RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly to increase the lead to five. Denton went 2 for 3 with a double and two RBIs while Diodati went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a strikeout.

“I feel pretty good [at the plate]; just trying to get the job done,” Denton said. “As a team I think we need to have a better approach.”

After three straight scoreless innings, Denton’s double started a busy seventh inning for the Crimson Tide. Freshman second baseman Myles Austin followed Denton’s footsteps with an RBI double of his own, his first Alabama hit in his first career start. Along with Austin, freshman catcher Peyton Wilson made his first career start and scored Austin the next at bat with a fielder’s choice.  The freshmen duo combined to go 1 for 6 with two RBI and a walk.

“We wanted to get them both in before today since they haven’t had much opportunity,” Bohannon said. “They’ll both be a part of our success moving forward.”

Junior outfielder Jackson Tate smashed a two-run homer to center field to stretch the lead to 10-3. Diodati, Gentry and freshman infielder Jim Jarvis were the only Crimson Tide hitters with a hit prior to the four-run seventh inning.

Aside from three Hornets runs, the Alabama pitching staff struck out 11 batters and walked three in a solid performance by the five pitchers used. Sophomore Dylan Smith earned the win. An RBI single by Alabama State shortstop Christopher DeGuzman in the second inning posted the first Hornets run. A.J. Gardner pinch hit in the seventh inning and launched a rocket over the left field wall for a two-run home run for the last two Alabama State runs.

Alabama now turns its attention to a long road trip to Las Vegas, Nevada for a three-game weekend series against UNLV. The first road series of the year for the Crimson Tide comes with distractions of the surroundings and after today’s lackluster performance in the eyes of Bohannon, focus will be at the center of discussion for Alabama.

“Even though a lot of the guys are young they’re really mature and smart – they know today wasn’t a good day,” Gentry said. “We’re all going to learn from it and bring a better mentality to UNLV.”