Offense Stays Hot as Alabama Baseball Takes Down Samford, 8-2
The offense continued its hot hitting on Tuesday night, as Alabama baseball defeated Samford, 8-2, at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. With the win, the Tide improves to 31-21 overall and 15-9 in non-conference play for the season.
“We were really good offensively all weekend, and then tonight the top of the lineup did a great job in the beginning of the first when (Keith) Holcombe and Cobie (Vance) had back-to-back singles, and then Georgie (Salem) hits a three-run homer to get us off to a really good start,” said Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard. “We just kind of continued that trend every time that top rolled back up again. We put a lot of pressure on them and had some big hits.”
Alabama’s offense was highlighted by the 1-2-3 hitters in Keith Holcombe, Cobie Vance and Georgie Salem. The trio finished 8-for-13 (.615) with seven of the team’s eight RBI and half of the team’s runs scored with four. Salem led the Crimson Tide overall, finishing 3-for-5 with a home run, four RBI and one run scored. The homer was his career-high fourth of the season and extended his hitting streak to nine games.
The pitching effort began with starter Brock Love, who allowed two runs on five hits and no walks while striking out seven in his fourth start of the season. Love was followed by Colton Freeman (1-0), who worked 3.0 innings of one-hit baseball, issuing a walk and striking out three for his first career win. Dylan Duarte closed out the game, throwing the final 2.0 innings for his third save of the year.
Alabama jumped out to the early lead, scoring three in the first thanks to Salem’s three-run home run. Holcombe and Vance each singled to put two on for the senior, before Salem sent a 2-0 pitch to terrace in right to stake UA to the 3-0 lead. The homer in the first was the Crimson Tide’s fourth homer in the first inning across the last four contests.
The Crimson Tide struck for two more in the second, using a two-out rally to move the lead to 5-0. Chance Vincent, who reached on a strikeout-wild pitch, was on second when Holcombe was hit by the second pitch in his at-bat to give UA a pair of baserunners. With two on and two down, Vance delivered a single up the middle to plate Vincent and a throwing error by the Samford center fielder moved Holcombe to third on the play. Salem singled to right in the very next at-bat to bring in the inning’s second run and add to the Tide’s cushion.
Samford answered with two runs in the third, leading off with a home run before a pair of two-out doubles brought in the frame’s second run, moving the deficit to 5-2. The two teams would go scoreless until the bottom of the eighth.
Will Haynie led off the bottom of the eighth with a single and advanced to second on a wild pitch and then third on a passed ball. Cody Henry brought the leadoff man in with a single to left, forcing a Samford pitching change. With one on, pinch-hitter Gene Wood was hit by a pitch before Daniel Cucjen singled to load the bases. One out later, Vance recorded his second and third RBI of the day with a single to center, making it an 8-2 game.
The Bulldogs recorded a two-out single in the ninth, but nothing would come of it as Duarte got a groundout to second to end the game in the Crimson Tide’s favor.
“We’ve got some guys heating up and swinging the bat extremely well lately,” Gaspard added. “It’s fun to come to the park right now. We’ve got a lot of good things happening. I think the team is really getting better and playing well at the right time of the year.”
Alabama will welcome 10th-ranked South Carolina to Sewell-Thomas Stadium this Thursday through Saturday for a three-game series. The two teams are set for a 7 p.m. CT first pitch on Thursday and Friday evening, with a 2 p.m. CT start scheduled for Saturday’s regular-season finale.