Combined Pitching Effort from Eicholtz, Love Helps Alabama Baseball Hold Off Presbyterian, 4-3
Alabama claimed its first victory of the year with a 4-3 win over Presbyterian College on Friday evening at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. Head coach Greg Goff earned his first career win at Alabama, as the Tide moved to 1-0 on the season.
“I’m just so thankful that the good Lord has brought me here and opened this door,” said Goff. “I’m glad that Coach Battle hired me. The biggest thing for me is that these guys have bought in to what we’re doing. Nick Eicholtz has been a tremendous leader on and off the field. Cody Henry has been one of our hardest workers, and I think that all of guys are like that. It’s a special night because great players make great coaches.”
Nick Eicholtz (1-0) earned his first win of the season behind a strong outing that saw the senior go 5.0 innings and allow three runs (two earned) on three hits with no walks and three strikeouts. The senior tossed 80 pitches before handing the ball over to sophomore right-hander Brock Love. Love followed with 4.0 innings of scoreless baseball to earn his first career save. Presbyterian starter Brian Kehner (0-1) suffered the loss, going 5.0 innings and allowing four runs (three earned) on nine hits with a pair of walks and strikeouts.
Alabama’s hitting was paced by its first four hitters, with the first four hitters batting a combined 7-of-15. Leadoff man Chandler Avant finished 2-for-5 with an RBI and a team-high two runs scored. He was followed by Cobie Vance, who added a pair of hits in four at-bats while contributing one RBI. No. 3 hitter Hunter Alexander reached base safely all four times at the dish, going 2-for-2 with a run scored, a walk and a hit-by-pitch. The Tide’s cleanup man, Chandler Taylor, finished 1-for-4 with a triple and a team-high two RBI.
The Tide struck early in the bottom of the first hopping out to a 1-0 lead. Avant led off with a single to right and would eventually come across to score on Taylor’s fielder’s choice. The Blue Hose answered back an inning later scoring two in the top of the second. A leadoff double to center followed by a single would score Presbyterian’s first run. Another single followed by a groundout resulted in their second run of the inning to give them a 2-1 lead.
Alexander sparked things in the bottom of the third with a one-out single to right field. One batter later, Taylor added his second RBI of the day, sending a triple to deep center and bringing Alexander across to even the score at 2-2.
Alabama regained the lead an inning later, plating a pair in the fourth. Cody Henry began the frame with a leadoff double before advancing to third on a groundout by Gene Wood. Avant collected his first RBI of the season in the very next at-bat, sending a fading single over the third baseman’s head to score Henry. Avant then advanced to second on a wild pitch and later came across to score on a single by Vance to give the Tide a 4-2 lead.
Presbyterian narrowed the gap in the fifth, scoring one. A hit-by-pitch followed by a pair of wild pitches and a throwing error allowed a run to score and reduced the deficit to 4-3 after five full.
Love would eventually shut the door, stalling the Blue Hose offense for the final four innings to earn his first save of the season.
The Crimson Tide and Blue Hose will return to action tomorrow evening at 5 p.m. CT. Alabama will send junior right-hander Jake Walters to the mound while Presbyterian will counter with a junior righty of their own, Tanner Chock. Fans can catch all the action on SEC Network+.