Crimson Tide Offense Powers Alabama Baseball to 13-1 Victory over Nicholls State
The Crimson Tide collected 20 hits and 13 runs in Alabama’s 13-1 win over Nicholls State on Wednesday evening at Sewell-Thomas Stadium. The offense was led by Chandler Taylor’s 5-for-5 night with six other Tide hitters recording multi-hit efforts.
Taylor finished a perfect 5-for-5 on the night with the team’s first triple, two RBI and three runs scored. Taylor’s five hits matched the Alabama record for hits in a game while his three runs scored led the team. Six other players finished with multi-hit games, including Georgie Salem who went 2-for-4 with a pair of doubles, two runs scored and team-high three RBI.
“Our message to the team was to keep the same focus and kind of take the momentum from the weekend into our first midweek contest,” said Alabama head coach Mitch Gaspard. “I thought we played extremely well tonight on all ends.”
Senior Ray Castillo made his first start since 2014, working 3.0 scoreless innings of two-hit baseball with two strikeouts. Castillo was followed by Mike Oczypok (1-0) who tossed 3.0 innings and recorded four strikeouts to notch his first win since June 1, 2013, after sitting out the past two seasons due to injury. Sophomore Tyler Adams struck out the side in the seventh and teamed up with freshmen Brock Love and Sam Finnerty to close the night. The trio worked three scoreless innings to secure the victory for the Tide.
Alabama jumped out front early, scoring a pair in the first and second innings on the power of seven hits. Keith Holcombe led off the game with a single, his first hit as a member of the Tide baseball team, and one out later Taylor lined a single to put runners on the corners. A Cody Henry sac fly scored one to give UA the lead. A single and a walk loaded the bases for Salem, who walked to move Alabama ahead 2-0 after one.
The second inning rally started with Holcombe recording a one-out single and then stole second. Taylor notched his second single of the day with Holcombe in scoring position to give UA a 3-0 lead and end the Nicholls State starter’s day. Henry greeted the new pitcher with a single and Cobie Vance followed suit with a single of his own, bringing Taylor across and giving the Tide a 4-0 lead through two.
Innings four and five featured another pair of two-run innings for the Crimson Tide. Holcombe led off the fourth with a base on balls and crossed in the next at-bat when Chandler Avant doubled to left in the next at-bat. After a Colonel pitching change. Taylor singled to right to notch another RBI and move the lead to 6-0.
The fifth started with a solo shot to left-center by Connor Short, his first homer of the season, and then a double and a walk put two on for Chance Vincent. An infield groundout by the Tide first baseman crossed the inning’s second run and put Alabama in front, 8-0, through five full frames.
Nicholls State plated its lone run of the game in the top of the sixth, but Alabama would answer with a five-hit, five-run eighth inning. Taylor led off the inning with a triple and came home immediately after on a Gene Wood single to right. A walk and a single put two on for Salem, who doubled to right for a pair of RBI. One out later, Vincent grounded to short to bring across one run and was followed by Ryan Blanchard who singled to center to plate Salem and close out the Tide scoring.
“It really starts on the mound with Ray (Castillo), and then Mike (Oczypok), and then all the other guys that came in were pretty sharp and pounded the strike zone,” Gaspard added. “We played really good defense throughout. It was really just a good team effort all the way around tonight.”
Alabama will next welcome North Dakota to Tuscaloosa for a three-game series from Friday, Feb. 26 until Sunday, Feb. 28. The first game of the weekend is set for a 6:30 p.m. CT start, with Saturday’s matchup scheduled to begin at 2 p.m. and Sunday’s first pitch set for 1 p.m.