Falling behind 3-0 after one full frame, the Crimson Tide rallied to score seven unanswered runs for the 7-3 win over Tennessee on Friday evening in front of a sold-out crowd at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The win was Alabama’s first SEC victory inside the new “Joe” and improves the team’s record to 14-7 overall, 3-1 in conference play.
“Bouncing back from the three-run deficit starts on the mound with Geoffrey (Bramblett),” said Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard. “In the first inning, they were on every pitch and it looked like the wheels were falling off, but that’s why he pitches on Friday night. That kind of inning is going to happen occasionally. It’s how you respond from it, and he did a hell of a job. He came back and started punching out zeros and our offense was able to get going.”
Tennessee built an early 3-0 lead after the first inning, using a two-run home run and a double to plate three off Crimson Tide starter Geoffrey Bramblett (3-0). Bramblett would rally to shut down the Volunteer offense across the next 5.1 innings for his team-leading third win of the season. After giving up three hits in the first, the junior allowed just five more hits the rest of the game. The righty finished with six punchouts and did not walk a batter to improve his record to 4-0 for his career when not allowing a free pass.
“Some of their guys just got on the barrel and they got hot,” Bramblett said of Tennessee’s early start. “You keep making pitches in the zone and you have nights like that or, hopefully, like we did, you shut that down as early as you can. You credit them – they’re a good offense, they came out swinging and they were hot. You keep making pitches and you keep doing what you can do and control what you can control to limit that, and it ended up working out for us.”
The Volunteers led off the game with a single and immediately followed with a home run to right field to take a 2-0 lead. A double and a groundout put a runner on third with one down, and then another groundout allowed the man on third to score and give UT the early 3-0 lead.
Alabama would begin its rally in the third when Will Haynie reached after being hit by a pitch and advanced to second on a single from Daniel Cucjen. Freshman Hunter Webb doubled down the left field line to score Haynie, and Cucjen would later score on a groundout by Connor Short to pull the Tide within one.
The Alabama offense opened up for four runs in the fifth. After Webb was hit by a pitch, Short picked up his second RBI with a double to left-center to even the score at 3-3. Back-to-back walks loaded the bases for Chance Vincent, with the senior delivering a bases-clearing double to left to move the Tide in front, 6-3.
Alabama added one more in the eighth after Georgie Salem started the inning with a single to center that he was able to move to third on when the ball bounced off the fielder’s glove for a two-base error. A Cucjen single one out later crossed Salem for the Tide’s final run.
Freshman reliever Dylan Duarte followed Bramblett on the mound, working the final 2.2 innings and allowing only one hit while striking out a pair to earn the first save of his career.
“Once we got the two, I thought we got some momentum and we really kept it on our side,” Gaspard commented on the rally. “A lot of credit to our pitching at that point, as they kept making pitches. I thought Dylan Duarte got a couple big double-play balls to help end any threat, and a lot of credit goes to Geoffrey tonight to give our offense a chance to get going.”
Alabama and Tennessee will meet for a pair of games on Saturday to close out the series. The first game of the doubleheader will begin at 2 p.m. CT with the final game of the series following at 8 p.m. CT on the SEC Network.