Strong pitching and hitting helps baseball cruise to a victory over Alabama State

Alabama shortstop Jim Jarvis (10) celebrates with Owen Diodati (16) and Will Hodo (1) after hitting a home run against Alabama State on Feb. 23.

CW / Davida Franklin

Alabama shortstop Jim Jarvis (10) celebrates with Owen Diodati (16) and Will Hodo (1) after hitting a home run against Alabama State on Feb. 23.

Austin Hannon, Staff Reporter

Just two days prior to a series with the No. 1 Texas Longhorns, the Alabama Crimson Tide (5-0) played their final tune-up, defeating the Alabama State Hornets (1-4) 9-2 Wednesday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium.

The win moves the Crimson Tide to a perfect 5-0 start to the season.

“Good performances on back-to-back midweek games,” Alabama pitching coach Jason Jackson said. “You worry about guys getting out of routines with the weather. This group has been great about not doing that.”

It was another solid day for the balanced batting order, with 11 different players recording hits. Shortstop Jim Jarvis and first baseman Drew Williamson both hit two-run home runs to propel the offense. The Crimson Tide had a total of eight extra base hits. Jarvis, Owen Diodati and Will Hodo each picked up two hits.

“I think it’s just the energy we have in the dugout that keeps me going,” Jarvis said. “I feel like in years past, if we had five games in six days, it’s hard to keep everyone focused on that fifth game. But it is high energy, no matter what. Doesn’t matter what inning, or what the score is, we are ready to go. It definitely helps me a lot.”

The pitching was strong again as well, with Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon going to six different arms, allowing just two runs. Hagan Banks, Hunter Ruth and Brayden Gainey all pitched two full innings. Connor Ball, Trace Moore and Eli Giles all recorded one inning of work. It was another “bend don’t break” type of day for the Crimson Tide pitching staff, with the Hornets recording eight hits.

The first run of the game came in the bottom of the second on a wild pitch by Alabama State right-hander Nat Palmer. Jarvis crossed the plate from third. Later in the inning, second baseman Caden Rose singled through the left side, bringing in Hodo.

Jarvis came back up to the plate in the third and sent a moon shot to right field to increase Alabama’s advantage to four. The homer was Jarvis’ first of his collegiate career.

“I think it was just funny,” Jarvis said. “As I was rounding the bases, I was right behind Dio because he thought it was a pop-up. Which, that’s fair. I think I kind of panicked a little bit when I touched home plate because I didn’t know what to do. I got to work on that.”

Diodati doubled to left center in the fourth to bring in William Hamiter, increasing the Alabama advantage to 5-0.

The Hornets wouldn’t be held scoreless. Right fielder Trenton Jamison singled up the middle to bring in left fielder Jabronski Williams in the top of the sixth.

Williamson wasn’t satisfied with the Crimson Tide’s 5-1 lead as he sent a long ball into right to make the score 7-1 in the bottom of the sixth.

In the bottom of the seventh, Alabama State catcher Hunter May lost control of a pitch, allowing Andrew Pinckney, who started the inning with a leadoff triple, to score on a passed ball. After loading the bases, infielder Davis Heller came off the bench to record an RBI single to add on to the lead.

The Hornets added one more in the eighth. Camden Hayslip committed an error in right field that saw a leadoff single turn into three bases for Williams. In the next at-bat, Jamison brought him in on a hard-hit ball into left field.

Alabama hasn’t been tested yet. That will change this weekend. The Crimson Tide will head to Austin, Texas, for a three-game series with the No. 1 Texas Longhorns. All games will be broadcast on the Longhorn Network.

“I think we’ve played really good defense these last two nights,” Jackson said. “On the mound, I think we’ve got a lot of chances to get guys into the game, so we should be firing on all cylinders there, too. After five games in six days, I think we’re getting everyone’s ‘newness’ to the season worn off. We feel good about it, and we know they’ve got a great ball club. We’re excited to get out there. It’s a good opportunity for us.”