Offense Stays Hot as Alabama Baseball Cruises Past Alabama State, 11-1
The Crimson Tide collected 14 hits on the way to 11 runs in Alabama’s 11-1 win over Alabama State on Wednesday afternoon at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. With the win, UA moves to 9-0 on the season, the program’s best start since 2002 when the Crimson Tide began the year 10-0 under head coach Jim Wells.
“I’m really pleased with the start (to this season),” said Alabama head coach Brad Bohannon. “Generally speaking, we’ve done a good job of throwing strikes and playing defense along with stringing together at-bats. There have been some hiccups here and there, but if you do those three things consistently, generally you have a good chance of coming out on top. We’ve played cleaner baseball than our opponent nine times and that’s why we’re 9-0.”
The Alabama offense was highlighted by Hunter Alexander, with the senior finishing his afternoon 3-for-4 with a team-high tying two RBI and two runs scored to go with a walk. Also contributing multiple hits were senior Chandler Avant, junior Matt Malkin and sophomore Walker McCleney. Nine of the 11 Crimson Tide hitters registered at least one hit with the four players producing multi-hit games.
On the mound, right-hander Mason Duke (1-0) made his first career start for UA. The junior tossed 5.0 scoreless innings of one-hit baseball, striking out seven across 60 pitches en route to his first win. Duke retired the final 11 batters he faced before turning the ball over to his bullpen. The threesome of senior Tyler Adams, sophomore Davis Vainer and freshman Brady Greene worked the final 4.0 frames to secure the Crimson Tide victory.
The Tide struck first in the game, scoring a pair in the bottom of the second to grab an early 2-0 lead. After a walk to start the inning, back-to-back singles from Malkin and senior Connor Short loaded the bases. Two outs later, Alexander capitalized on the opportunity, sending a single through the right side to score a pair.
Alabama came back to add a single tally in the third and extend the lead to 3-0. Avant led the inning off with a double to right-center, before the senior advanced to third on a groundout one batter later. With two down, Malkin collected his second hit of the day, singling through the right side to score one and push the Tide’s lead to 3-0 after three frames.
Alabama State plated its lone run of the game in the top of the sixth, but the Tide would respond, scoring eight runs across the sixth, seventh and eighth innings to put the game out of reach. Sophomore John Trousdale lead things off in the sixth with a double before coming across to score in the next at-bat thanks to an ASU throwing miscue to make it a 4-1 game.
In the seventh, a trio of singles from Alexander, junior Chandler Taylor and Avant loaded the bases to begin the inning. In the next at-bat, senior Cody Henry collected his first double of the year to score two. McCleney followed with a single to right field, plating one, before Malkin capped the inning’s scoring with a sacrifice fly to left, setting the tally at 8-1 after seven innings.
The eighth inning rally began with Alexander and Taylor reaching on walks followed by a groundout that advanced both into scoring position. In a pinch hit effort, junior Kyle Kaufman cashed in on the opportunity with an RBI-double, allowing both Alexander and Taylor to score. McCleney followed suit, notching a double of his own to score Kaufman and make it an 11-1 contest, the eventual final.
The Crimson Tide will travel to Oklahoma this weekend for a three-game series with the Sooners. The two teams will begin the non-conference matchup on Friday at 6:30 p.m. CT followed by a 4 p.m. CT first pitch on Saturday. The Sunday finale from Norman is set to start at 12 p.m. CT. Friday’s series opener can be seen live on SoonerSports.com, with the final two games of the series airing live on Fox Sports Oklahoma+.