Alabama Baseball Holds on in 13 Innings to Take Down Georgia, 10-7
Alabama baseball secured the 10-7 win over Georgia in 13 innings on Thursday evening, outlasting the Bulldogs in a 5:12 contest that ranked as the second longest in Crimson Tide baseball history. With the win, UA improves to 16-9 overall and 5-2 in SEC action.
In a back-and-forth contest, Alabama was able to secure the win with three runs in the 13th and final inning. The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs were even at 7-7 after eight innings, but needed five more to decide the final outcome.
The Alabama rally started when Gene Wood, who had entered earlier in the game as a pinch-runner, reached when the Georgia center fielder dropped a flyout that would have been out No. 2 in the inning. Wood then stolen second to put himself in scoring position, before Chance Vincent was able to bring the freshman home with a two-out triple to left.
Georgia would change pitchers, but an intentional walk to Keith Holcombe gave Alabama two baserunners and eventually two in scoring position, as Holcombe would steal second one pitch later. With two in scoring position, backup catcher Taylor Poe delivered a double to center to score both runners and give Alabama a three-run cushion at 10-7.
“You got the big hit from (Chance) Vincent,” said Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard of the team’s late rally. “Then Taylor Poe came in and did a hell of a job for us. For a kid that has had limited playing time this year, he really stepped up and delivered for us in a key spot.”
Alabama took an early 4-0 lead, but surrendered its advantage when Georgia plated two in the fourth and five in the fifth to take a 7-4 lead going into the seventh. The Crimson Tide began to chip away at the deficit with a pair of runs in the seventh and then added one in the eighth to even things up.
The Georgia offense was held at bay thanks to a strong pitching performance from Matt Foster (2-2), who earned his second win of the season thanks to 4.0 innings of scoreless baseball. Foster allowed just two hits and issued only two walks while punching out six in the longest outing by a Crimson Tide reliever this season.
Foster was followed by Thomas Burrows who notched his fifth save of the season in his first outing since March 4. Burrows allowed three walks, but bounced back with the bases loaded and no outs to strike out three consecutive hitters to lock down the series-opening victory for Alabama.
“This is one of those good team wins,” Gaspard commented on the effort of his team. “We used about 20 of our 27 players on our roster, and they all contributed to the victory. Matt Foster was terrific on the mound, it was good to get Tommy (Burrows) back, and all the guys in between from the bullpen were good.”
Vincent, Holcombe and Will Haynie all had three hits in the contest to lead the Tide at the plate. Vincent added two RBI, both of which crossed on his go-ahead triple, and a team-high three runs scored on the night. Holcombe added two runs scored, while Haynie finished with two RBI and one run on the night.
The two teams went scoreless in the first, but Alabama struck for four runs in the top of the second. A leadoff walk from Cody Henry started the rally with a leadoff walk and then a one-out walk and a single loaded the bases for the Crimson Tide.
Haynie took advantage of the run-scoring opportunity, sending a single to center to move everyone up a station and give UA its first run of the game. Daniel Cucjen followed with a single of his own, bringing one across to widen the gap, and then a fielder’s choice by Hunter Webb cut down the runner at second but crossed one more to make it 3-0. Connor Short rounded out the scoring, singling to center to score Haynie and push the advantage to 4-0 after two. Short’s single extended his hitting streak to 10 games and his on-base streak to 15 in a row.
Georgia struck for two in the fourth to cut the Tide lead in half. The Bulldogs used a leadoff single and then a one-out walk to put two on before doubling to right to score the pair and make it 4-2 heading to the fifth.
In the bottom of the fifth, the Bulldogs took their first lead of the night, using three hits and three walks to score five total runs. A leadoff hit-by-pitch and a single put two on for Georgia and ended Alabama starter Geoffrey Bramblett’s night. The Tide reliever entered and issued a walk to load the bases and a sac fly to left scored the man from third to set the score at 4-3.
One out later, the Bulldogs recorded another walk to load the bases and then followed with a base on balls to make it even at 4-4. The Tide brought in its third arm of the inning, but a double to left gave UGA its first lead of the night. Georgia followed with an infield single to short on a high chopper that scored the inning’s final run and set the Bulldogs in front, 7-4.
Alabama did not sit by idly, scoring two in the seventh to cut into the Georgia lead. A single from Cody Henry led off the inning, then a passed ball and an infield groundout moved the leadoff man to third. Vincent sent a slow chopper to the shortstop, reaching himself and crossing Henry for the inning’s first run. Holcombe singled on a perfectly placed bunt, and an errant throw on the play allowed him and Vincent to both move into scoring position for Haynie. The Tide catcher followed with a 6-3 groundout that brought Vincent in and made it a 7-6 game after seven.
The Crimson Tide evened things up in the eighth using a pair of hits to score one. Webb began the inning with a leadoff single and then stole second base to put him in scoring position. Chandler Taylor followed with a double to right to score Webb and make it a 7-7 ballgame going to the ninth.
The two bullpens blanked the opposing offenses for three innings before the Crimson Tide broke through in the 13th.
“This team has some really good qualities about them, and their resiliency is one of them,” Gaspard said. “They stay in the game. They’ve shown the ability to come from behind, and that’s how you have to win games, particularly in the SEC and these tough environments.”
Alabama and Georgia are scheduled to return to the diamond on Friday evening at 6 p.m. CT for game two of the series. The Crimson Tide looks to sophomore righty Jake Walters while the Bulldogs counter with junior righty Robert Tyler.
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