Alabama Baseball Wins Game 3 Against No. 19 Kentucky
Crimson Tide starter Nick Eicholtz worked a career-long 7.2 innings, allowing only one run to help Alabama baseball claim the 2-1 win on Sunday afternoon at Cliff Hagan Stadium. With the victory, the Tide improves to 19-13 on the season and 6-6 in SEC play.
“Both teams played really good, clean baseball,” said Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard. “Kentucky is a really good team. We fought, scrapped and found a way to win today’s game. Nick (Eicholtz) gave us a great outing. He needed to go out there and dominate an SEC game for his confidence, and that’s what he did here today. That confidence goes throughout all 27 guys in the dugout and it helped us win today’s game.”
Eicholtz (2-1) tossed a career-long 7.2 innings, allowing only one run on three hits with a walk and three strikeouts for his second win of the season. The junior retired the first nine batters he faced before giving up a single, and then followed that hit with a streak of eight straight sat down before issuing a walk. Eicholtz recorded the first two outs of the eighth before giving up a single to end his day.
Thomas Burrows followed, allowing consecutive singles to score Kentucky’s lone run of the game. The Crimson Tide closer rallied to retire the next four batters in order for his seventh save of the season and his second in Southeastern Conference play.
Alabama struck first in Sunday’s finale, scoring one in the top of the first. Cobie Vance collected the Tide’s first hit of the day with a double to right and then scored two batters later when Chance Vincent sent a grounder to third that resulted in a throwing error to extend the inning and allow the Tide its first run of the day.
The two teams would go scoreless until the top of the eighth, when Alabama improved its lead to 2-0. Georgie Salem led off the inning with a single to center and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. A passed ball moved Salem to third before Chandler Avant’s single to left crossed the leadoff man for the second run of the game.
Kentucky answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the eighth to make it a 2-1 game. The Wildcats began their run-scoring sequence with two outs, sending a single to left to end Eicholtz’ day. Burrows entered and the first batter he faced singled directly off his foot to put two on. Another single followed to score one before the Tide closer forced a popup in the final at-bat of the inning. He would go on to strike out two of three batters faced in the ninth to collect the save.
“That’s what this league is,” Gaspard added. “A win comes down to one pitch, one play. Both pitchers were outstanding today. You had to really fight for the runs you got because both teams defended well. It was a well-played series on both sides in every phase of the game this weekend.”
Next up for Alabama is a single midweek contest on Tuesday, April 12, at Sewell-Thomas Stadium as UAB travels to Tuscaloosa. The Crimson Tide and Blazers are set for a 6:30 p.m. CT start on SECN+. The game will be the first of a six-game homestand that will next feature three contests with the Ole Miss Rebels from Friday-Sunday.