Baseball wins wild second game after eight-run eighth inning


CW / Hannah Saad

Carey Reeder | @realCareyReeder, Staff Reporter

Approach any baseball fan and ask for the craziest play they have seen on a diamond. There may be many different answers, but the play that swung a 3-2 deficit for Alabama into a 10-5 win over Harvard on Saturday may top any list.

An inside-the-park home run on a fielder’s choice to first base is one of the wackiest entries recorded in a stat book as Alabama senior Kolby Robinson posted that in the eighth inning.

With Alabama (11-0) trailing by one run, the domino effect of misfortunes for the Crimson began as freshman Peyton Wilson loaded the bases after a mishandled bunt. Freshman Owen Diodati pinch hit the next at bat and a wild pitch during it plated redshirt sophomore Sam Praytor to tie the game at three. Diodati dropped a single down to score another run to give Alabama its first lead of the game. Junior Jackson Tate was elected as a pinch runner for Diodati at first and Wilson moved to third base with Robinson stepping into the batter’s box.

“No, I have never seen anything like it,” coach Brad Bohannon said.

Robinson hit a ball to first base and reached on a fielder’s choice. A throwing error by the Harvard first baseman, allowed Tate to move to third and Wilson to score. Robinson then advanced to second on another throwing error by the left fielder right as Tate came across for the second run. Finally, Robinson scored on a throwing error by the third baseman in a play that amassed three errors by Harvard which resulted in three Crimson Tide runs,to push the score to 7-3. Robinson finished the day 2 for 4 with two runs scored and an RBI.

“I have no idea that was crazy,” Robinson said. “Every time I went to a bag they overthrew the guy, I kept going and then I just went [home]. It was crazy.”

After the fiasco, senior Brett Auerbach sent a solo home run over the left-field wall to make it 8-3. Auerbach went 1 for 3 and his home run was the only extra-base hit for the Crimson Tide in the game. Freshman Drew Williamson sent a sacrifice fly to center to drive in a run and a second wild pitch in the inning brought junior Tyler Gentry across. After entering the eighth inning trailing 3-2, Alabama went to the top of the ninth holding a 10-3 lead.

Harvard’s woes in the eighth inning featured two hit batsmen, three bunt miscues and two wild pitches.

“We talked about it a lot that we’re never out of it with our offense,” Bohannon said. “I’m glad we got those experiences this game because we will have those in [SEC] play.”

Prior to the eighth inning debacle. the game was fairly tame. Alabama sophomore starter Connor Shamblin pitched five innings where he allowed three earned runs on six hits Those three runs all came in the fifth inning thanks to a three-run home run by Harvard center fielder Tommy Seidl. Seidl went 3 for 3 with three RBIs and was a triple short of the cycle. Harvard starting pitcher Owen Holt threw a solid five innings giving up four hits and no runs.

Gentry scored his first of two wild pitch runs in the sixth coming across to make it 3-1. Sophomore T.J. Reeves earned an RBI driving in Robinson in the seventh to cut the Crimson lead to one before the aforementioned eighth frame. Reeves went 2 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored. Harvard tacked on two runs in the top half of the ninth with Hunter Baldwin’s two-RBI double.

The win marks the second-best start to a season in school history and clinches the series win against Harvard. The series finale is Sunday at 10:30 a.m. at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

“Down 3-0 I told the team ‘Hey, we’ve actually played really well,’” Bohannon said. “I’m proud of the resolve and grit that our guys showed to come back – I’m glad to be in a tight game like this.”