CW / Kelsey Mullins
The Alabama Crimson Tide Baseball program has seen its fair share of high points. From walk-off victories to total domination of opponents, the team is no stranger to cheering fans. What moments reign as the all-time greatest hits of Alabama Baseball? Let’s take a look.
10: Alabama’s walk-off win against Lipscomb, March 6, 2020
Although this season was cut drastically short by COVID-19, the 2020 team had plenty of highlights to choose from. The offense, led by Brett Auerbach’s four hits, helped set up the late walk-off victory. With Jackson Tate, Jim Jarvis and Brett Auerbach loading the bases, a wild pitch allowed Tate to run home and seal the win. This win over Lipscomb propelled the team to a 14-0 start, the second best in school history. Not only that, pitchers Connor Prielipp, Chase Lee and Brock Guffey combined to strike out 24 players, creating a new school record. This game showed the team’s resilience and will to win. The offense showed up at the right moment for this team to snag the win. This all-around effort showed the team’s resilience and drive.
9: Alabama’s first appearance in the College World Series, June 15-23, 1950
In Tilden Campbell’s 12th season with the Crimson Tide, the team made school history. This team reached the College World Series for the first time. Pitcher Frank Lary helped lead the team to two wins in the tournament. Alabama placed fifth overall in the tournament, getting eliminated by Wisconsin. So what made this moment so special? After that year, Alabama would not reach the College World Series again until 1983 under Barry Shollenberger. The 1950 team proved that Alabama could compete among some of the best college baseball programs in the country.
8: Alabama wins sixth SEC tournament title, May 22-26, 2002
Alabama baseball had a mini renaissance under Coach Jim Wells. This SEC tournament win was a part of it. Alabama’s 6-2 victory over South Carolina earned the program its fifth SEC title under Jim Wells, which would also be the program’s sixth overall SEC win. Pitcher Jefferey Norris pitched a complete game, only allowing two runs on ten hits. This game was Norris’s fifth win overall. This was also his first game where he pitched longer than five innings. This win also improved Alabama’s record in SEC tournament championship games to 6-0. This moment is a top one because it reinforces the dominance Alabama baseball showed in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Alabama had a resurgence to among the top of college baseball programs after a relatively quiet stretch from the 1960s. This is just one of the many feel-good moments a Wells-coached team provided.
7: Alabama pitchers combine for a no-hitter, March 8, 2014
Every baseball fan loves a good no-hitter. Pitchers Justin Kamplain, Jay Shaw and Geoffrey Bramblett provided that back in March of 2014. This no hitter during a 7-0 rout of Mississippi Valley State was the first nine inning no-hitter since 1942, when Pitcher Eddie Owcar did it against Mississippi. This is also the eighth no-hitter in program history and the first since 1993. Justin Kamplain shined in this game, striking out a career-high 12 hitters. During his time on the mound, he struck out nine straight batters. This was an all-around strong pitching effort from Alabama. To continue the effective pitching into the bullpen was a key component of this victory.
6: Alabama’s walk-off win against Missouri, May 12, 2013
In the last home game of the 2013 regular season, Alabama earned a walk-off victory against the University of Missouri. This was the first time that season where the baseball team won a game when they trailed for seven innings or more. The Tide was down 6-4 in the ninth inning and they rallied late off Chance Vincent’s first hit of the game to score 3 runs and win the game 7-6. Austen Smith’s RBI double was the walk-off hit. This game is a great memory for Alabama fans because it could have gone very differently. The Tide initially led 4-1 before Missouri rattled off five runs. As this program has shown time and time again, the offense has the ability to come alive at the most crucial moments and get the job done. This was a feel-good win during a subpar season of Crimson Tide Baseball.
5: Alabama’s walk-off win against Auburn, April 7, 2012
No matter the sport, a win against in-state rival Auburn is automatically a joyous memory. In 2012, the baseball team really struggled against SEC competition, with a season record of 9 wins and 21 losses. This walk-off win, however, gave Alabama its first SEC series victory of the season. The win was sealed with a two-run home run from Taylor Dugas. This was the second walk-off home run of the season; the first was from Brett Booth against Mississippi. That home run snapped a five game losing streak. This win was a testament to the determination of the 2012 team. The game was a tug-of-war battle against a top 25 baseball team. Alabama proved resilient and showed that even in a rough season, the program can still hang with the best.
4: Alabama beats LSU for SEC tournament crown, May 14-18, 1997
In 1997, Alabama and LSU battled throughout the season for the title of best college baseball program in the country. The teams met for several titles, including the College World Series title, which LSU won. However, a few weeks prior, Alabama beat LSU 12-2 to earn the SEC tournament title and an automatic bid to the 1997 College World series. This is one of the many bright moments the 1997 baseball team provided. This one is particularly special because the prior weekend, Alabama lost to LSU in the SEC championship game. To bounce back against an opponent so quickly and defeat them so effectively proves the talent the 1997 baseball team had. This was also Alabama’s third straight SEC tournament win. A dominating victory over a rival is always a top memory in sports fans’ minds.
3: Alabama wins SEC tournament, May 27-29, 1983
The 1983 college baseball postseason proved to be a historic one for the Crimson Tide baseball program. During a fifteen win streak, Alabama won its first SEC tournament title in 1983, earning the program its first appearance in the College World Series since 1950. Alabama would go undefeated to win the title, beating Florida, Tennessee, and Mississippi State. The Tide would also have four members on the All-Tournament team. Dave Meacham was also named MVP. This was the only SEC tournament title under Coach Barry Shollenberger. After a very quiet 1960s and 1970s, winning this tournament was all the more special.
2: Alabama’s first College World Series finals appearance, June 4-11, 1983
The 1983 postseason boasts some historic moments that are forever a bright spot in Alabama baseball history. With the victory in the aforementioned tournament, the Crimson Tide baseball team reached the College World Series for the second time. That year, Alabama reached the final round for the first time. This was the team’s final appearance under Coach Barry Shollenberger. The team did well overall, only losing to the eventual winner, Texas. This was the first time, since 1950, that Alabama had made it to the College World Series. Returning to this tournament after such a long drought made this moment all the more special. It would also be another thirteen years before Alabama would return to the College World series.
1: The hiring of Jim Wells, June 4, 1994
Alabama baseball arguably saw the most success under former Head Coach Jim Wells. After Wells was hired in 1995, the program saw immediate success, amassing a 42-23 record in the first season and winning the SEC West division tournament. The following year, Wells would lead the team to its first College World Series appearance since 1983, placing fifth overall. During his 15-year tenure, Wells would earn 625 victories, making him the winningest coach in Alabama baseball history. The team would also reach the College World Series three times, win the SEC tournament six times, and he earned SEC Coach of the Year on two occasions. The hiring of Wells provided Alabama baseball prolonged success through the late 1990s and early 2000s. He turned the program into a competitive and successful team for an extended period of time – something no other coach has been able to replicate.